Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:45 am

Getting Your Foot In The Door With The Airlines

Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:22 pm

Alright, this is my first topic since I've joined, so I'm hoping not to get harassed about having posted something that was talked about before. I did do a search, but didn't really find anything relevant.

I was just wondering, since there seems to be a wide assortment of airline employees on here, how best to go about getting a job with an airline. I'm not so much talking about being a pilot, or an FA, but jobs like gate or ramp agents and whatnot. I was hoping to pursue something like this as a part-time job in college/uni to get my foot in the door, and was looking for any tips or pointers.

Is there any required education, or courses? What is the most likely position to get hired into part-time? How should I go about searching for these jobs? (ie. Just hand in resumés, call offices, wait for posted openings) What is the pay like for part-time? Any benefits or frills?

I'm sure many of you on this board have worked part time in a position such as these, and I was hoping to get some feedback from you and your experiences! Did you enjoy the job? Would you do it again? General tips/pointers or info?

I Hate to sound rather selfish, by starting a new thread just to get some 'job advice' but I'm sure that any feedback would be useful to other members who are considering, or may consider a job such as this in the future.

Thanks in Advance - Skytrain. (YYZ)
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RE: Getting Your Foot In The Door With The Airlines

Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:37 pm

Whatever you do. Don't send a application to the Airlines headquarters. You will never here anything from them. When I got hired back in 1993. I applied in 1992. It was a down time in the airline industry. They wern't hiring too many people back them. I filled out a application and brought it to the Airport. I asked to speak to the station manager. I did this to about five airlines at that time. I went back every couple of weeks to talk to the managers. It took eight months of doing this to finally get hired on. A couple years ago, you could get hired on in about two weeks.

It all depends on what airline you want to work for. I was looking to get hired on at one of the big five. If you are looking to relocate, then it will be easier. I lived in LA at the time. If they offered a job at LGA. I would probably told them no thanks.

Most airline jobs start at a low wage and part time. With some airlines, you won't see fulltime ever. The Airlines rather have all part timers working for them. Its cheaper. I know my airline, I work for is going in that direction.

I feel the airline industry is nothing like it was 10 years ago, I say its nothing like it was 5 years ago. If you are looking for a longterm career. I would stay far away from the airlines.

Hope this helps a little.
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RE: Getting Your Foot In The Door With The Airlines

Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:45 pm

I am not an airline employee, but I have been involved in & around aviation for many years. I have also been involved in Human Resources (staffing & employment) for a long time, and have met many employment executives with airlines.

This will be a challenging time to find a real career with airlines. Most of them have furloughed MANY employees since 9/11 . . . and some of those employees are already queuing up to get their jobs back when hiring starts again.

This will sound like a no-brainer, but I'll offer it anyway:

1. Prepare the best resume and cover-letter that the world has ever seen.

2. Do careful research on for each airline you are interested in, and send your resume and cover letter to the highest ranking HR person shown in the profile.

3. You will receive many acknowledgements, and you will often be advised to check their websites for available positioins. Many of these may state that they are not hiring, but will retain your information in their files.

4. If the airline's website (employment/career area) allows you to register and submit your resume online, you should do this also - but not INSTEAD of mailing the hard copy. You should do them both.

I hope this helps!

[Edited 2004-01-10 07:46:42]

No info
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RE: Getting Your Foot In The Door With The Airlines

Sun Jan 11, 2004 6:36 am

Thanks for your suggestions guys, they are much appreciated. I'm not really looking for a lengthy career out of this, just part-time for college or Uni!

Any other advice is certainly welcome!

Cheers - Skytrain.
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RE: Getting Your Foot In The Door With The Airlines

Sun Jan 11, 2004 7:57 am

Skytrain, welcome to! This is a great topic that should be of interest to many people. When I started university, a long, long, long time ago, I too wanted a part-time job with an airline just like you. Unfortunately, I didn't tackle it well enough. I walked into an aviation store in the Toronto area, asked the owner if he knew of any airline hiring students on a part-time basis, and he said he'd hire me at the store if I was looking for work. I figured this would be a decent job for a few months, until I found what I was really looking for. Well ... I still work at that store!!!

In any case, getting a job at the airport itself is not that difficult. Ground handlers are always being sought after. Companies like Globe are constantly hiring people. Requirements are that you have a driver's license, and I believe they want you to be 18 years of age as well. They pay something like $10 an hour to start, and it's unionized too. If you want more information, I know a few people who work in various jobs at the airport, and I can find out more on contacts, compensation, etc. Just be prepared to do physical work out in all weather for this type of job.

If you want to work for an airline itself, I would recommend either the charter airlines, or Westjet. They hire people for gate agents, and the such. The disadvantage of Westjet is that you have to be available for 3 weeks training in Calgary. They pay for it, so as long as it is timed in a way that it doesn't interfere with your school, then it might be worth it. Working at Westjet, you'll get great benefits, and I recommend it.

I am currently once again trying to get hired by a specific company, and am following the recommendations I get from most people. Even so, it is very difficult, and frustrating at times. I wish you a lot of luck!

One other suggestion. If you have some time left in high school, and could take co-op, try getting hired by one of the airlines that way. I know of people who in the past got jobs at Air Canada, among others, through co-op. Needless to say, they had great experiences.


"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
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RE: Getting Your Foot In The Door With The Airlines

Sun Jan 11, 2004 11:00 am

Keep an eye out in the newspapers, Jetblue and various other carriers often advertise there every Sunday. Also, as someone said earlier, dont just mail your resume in to the airline headquarters, you will never hear a thing from them.

The majority of the airlines however, rarely advertise in the newspaper, however they do promote employment via their websites. On, under the airline link section, there are links to just about every airline in the world, and most of them will post openings on the websites rather then via a newspaper etc, so thats your next option.

Lastly, alot of people get into the airlines via handling companies, Swissport, Globeground etc. The pay isnt that great, but once you get into the airport, you find out about jobs from other airlines much easier than if you werent in the industry, plus it looks great on your resume. Good Luck.
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RE: Getting Your Foot In The Door With The Airlines

Sun Jan 11, 2004 11:04 am

Another good way is to know somebody who works for the airlines. THey can usually bump a few words for you.

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