WRXRCR
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:33 pm

Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:43 pm

I've been fascinated by aviation and the airline industry for as long as I can remember and it only recently occurred to me that perhaps getting a job on the ramp at an airline might be something I'd like to do. I live on the south side of Chicago and at MDW it's almost entirely Southwest. Would it be worth the drive to ORD if the jobs with those airlines are better? How are the pay and benefits for the ramp workers at MDW? Are there any on here who could shed some insight? Are you more or less happy with your job? What's the best way to apply for ramp jobs? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!!
 
wnflyguy
Posts: 839
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:58 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:01 pm

I started on the Ramp at WN it's a great job. But you learn quick on how much ones body can take.
Once you do one year at WN your chances of moving into different departments are endless.
I myself did Ramp to OPS to In flight. My suggestion is Get your foot in the door then Go in flight.
If I would have stayed on the ground I would have gone into Provo.
Good Luck..wnfg 
my post are my opinion only and not those of southwest airlines and or airtran airlines.
 
fghtngsiouxatc
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:33 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:59 pm

I worked at Signature Flight Support at MDW for almost a year. From what I've heard, it's almost impossible to get a job with WN at MDW unless you know someone. I worked with a lot of former TZ ramp guys who lost their job when TZ went under. They still keep in contact with their former coworkers who are now with WN. Apparently, if WN can't fill a position just through word of mouth, they post a general opening on their website for about an hour and then shut it down. They say they sometimes get hundreds of of applications just in that time frame.

I'd say your only bet is if you know someone who currently works for WN. OTOH, working for Signature was a decent gig. Good guys over there.

Good luck!
 
Maverick623
Posts: 4632
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:10 pm

Quoting fghtngsiouxatc (Reply 2):
From what I've heard, it's almost impossible to get a job with WN at MDW unless you know someone.

Same thing for just about any position in the entire company in the entire system. Unless you know someone, chances are slim to none to be able to get a job with WN... they are in very high demand as you could imagine.

However, working the ramp for another company, the biggest thing is you HAVE to be able to handle the physical requirements of the job. Lots of heavy lifting in tight spaces. Expect to have an OJI within your first 5 years. I've had three, and only one was me being stupid... the others were freak accidents that could not have been prevented.

That being said, it is probably the best job you could have. You get paid to exercise, and most of the people I work with are great guys and girls, and very diverse. We have everyone from college kids working part time to CEOs of medium-sized businesses, and even a bona-fide English-trained butler. I've seen people start on the ramp, and go to every department in the company. Lots of opportunities and rewards.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
wnflyguy
Posts: 839
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:58 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:13 pm

Rotator Cup and lower back did me in. wnfg 
my post are my opinion only and not those of southwest airlines and or airtran airlines.
 
jetmatt777
Crew
Posts: 2809
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:16 pm

The ramp is a very fun and rewarding job. I don't work for Southwest, but I do work the ramp for another major airline.

It is not a cakewalk however. If you want to do it to just watch airplanes, you won't last long.

Your body will take a beating. It's hard on the back stacking bags in the bin of an airplane all day. The stress can build up pretty quick. You may get tired of waking up at 2 and 3am for work, or staying up until 2-3am on nights. I find myself liking airplanes less and less each day, my enthusiasm for aviation has significantly declined after the newness wore off of my job. When I see one overhead, I just think to myself how great it is that I am not at the airport that day.

With that said, you'll run into some of the nicest souls on the planet in the airline industry. My job is fun because of the people I work with. They'll be the ones to help pull you through when you are working your 18th day in a row, and you have a major cold, and it is snowing outside.  
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
usairways787
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:42 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:03 pm

Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 5):
Your body will take a beating. It's hard on the back stacking bags in the bin of an airplane all day. The stress can build up pretty quick. You may get tired of waking up at 2 and 3am for work, or staying up until 2-3am on nights. I find myself liking airplanes less and less each day, my enthusiasm for aviation has significantly declined after the newness wore off of my job. When I see one overhead, I just think to myself how great it is that I am not at the airport that day.

With that said, you'll run into some of the nicest souls on the planet in the airline industry. My job is fun because of the people I work with. They'll be the ones to help pull you through when you are working your 18th day in a row, and you have a major cold, and it is snowing outside.

Never have I seen such truer words spoken.

To add with what some of these other guys have said, here's my two cents. At one point it was a career, however not anymore. I've only done it since 2009, but I must admit, my body has taken a beating, and I must look to other ways. While I do not work for Southwest, most airlines benefits, are near, or in line with each other...In the small amount of time I've done it, I've met some wonderful people that have ultimately changed my life. I've touched, and worked airplanes that only I could dream of as a child. I've seen amazing sunrises, and sunsets. I've been qualified, and trained with equipment that will help me in my new career.

At the end of the day, my ramp time has come to a close, it stopped being something I enjoyed, like jetmatt said, the enthusiasm wears off, and your body can only take so much. Do I think it's a great job? Yes, and No. "No" The way things have repeated in the industry the pay, and benefits will continue to decline. Airlines must adapt to the ever changing atmosphere. "Yes" You travel the world, you meet wonderful people from near, and afar.

In the end I wouldn't change a thing. If not for the ramp, and the airlines I was apart of, I couldn't put things down on paper I could 5 years ago.

US787
"Pre departure walk around complete, all doors closed, ready for pushback"
 
swa4life
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:20 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:09 am

I've been with Southwest as a ramp agent for 13 years. I'm evidently one of those rare souls who have managed to have some longevity in the ramp arena. In actuality though it's not all that rare. There are far older and more senior guys than me who are career rampers. Many 20+ year guys, and in the older Texas Southwest stations there are even some 30+ year ones who came in when the company opened their doors. I'll work the ramp for as long as I can because I genuinely love it. I imagine at some point I'll end up indoors somewhere but it'll be either because I've suffered some type of catastrophic injury and my body just gets old. But there's no sign of slowing down for the foreseeable future.

But to answer the original poster's question, yes Southwest ramp is a very good job. The pay is great, the benefits are even better, at Southwest the job security is very good, and hour flexibility and vacation time are ample. You'll start off making 11 an hour but eventually hit about 26, which is where I'm at now. And with the way overtime pay works I'm able to turn that into on average a 75-80k per year gross. I've made a very comfortable life for myself as a professional ramp agent. I often get a kick out of other people who hear what I do for a living and think I don't have a very good job. "You're a baggage handler?". I just smile and say "yep". Little do they know I probably do a bit better than they do, and I spend my weekends in warm climates :P
 
Geezer
Posts: 1413
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:37 am

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:03 am

Quoting WRXRCR (Thread starter):
ow are the pay and benefits for the ramp workers at MDW?

It has nothing to do with MDW: it has to do with the company you work for. And I'd hate like hell to have to drive from the Midway area, clear out to ORD to go back and forth to work! That would be a killer !

Quoting wnflyguy (Reply 1):
Once you do one year at WN your chances of moving into different departments are endless.

Truer words were never spoken!

Quoting fghtngsiouxatc (Reply 2):
I'd say your only bet is if you know someone who currently works for WN.

It would probably help, but it's not an absolute must.

Quoting swa4life (Reply 7):
I've been with Southwest as a ramp agent for 13 years

Looks like another career WN employee; if you're seriously interested in getting a good job, with great job security, there's only ONE place to look; (and it isn't at ORD) Anyone have any idea why it's so hard to get on with WN ? I'll tell you why it is; for every job opening WN has, there's about 2,000 people trying to get it; and many of them are working for other carriers and want to quit, so they can get on with WN. Ever see any real good jobs that had trouble finding help ? You never will; The more opportunity any job presents, the more people want it.

Guess where most of WN's top management came from; many of them started on the ramp, loading and unloading bags, pushing planes back, and fueling them. Here's a good example; I have a very close friend who started with WN at MDW about 6 months after 9-11 caused Frontier to go down the tube. He started throwing bags, then pushed planes back, after a few years, transferred out (to a much bigger job); right now, he's on his THIRD gig as Station Mgr. at one of WN's biggest stations, and he's going to be leaving there for a bigger one soon. VERY sharp guy; I can tell you this much; "knowing someone" had nothing what-so-ever to do with his rapid advancement; he's sharp, and he busted his ass, all the way! That's how you get ahead at WN.
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
SXDFC
Posts: 1657
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 6:07 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:23 am

Is Southwest Ramp a good job? Well consider the following:

PROS-

- Free Travel on Southwest and airTran..

- Guest Passes for Southwest and airTran.

- Once you served your 6 months on the Ramp, you can move onto other stations or other jobs throughout the WN system.

- From what I've heard WN Ramp Agents make more than any other airline.

CONS-

- Will start off on the bottom of Seniority List.

- Will miss birthdays, holidays, and other special events.

- Will work in the elements ( and in Chicago the winter isn't all that friendly ).

- Will work in an environment that your body will face a lot of endurance.

IF you want to work for Southwest, then go for it weather you know someone or not. MDW is a very large station, and will most likely grow even more once the Wright Amendment goes away and once the FL deal is complete. If you're a hard worker, and willing to take the pros and cons, then I'd say submit an application and see what happens. I have been with WN for 2.5 years and I enjoy it, but its like any other job in which there are good days and bad days, its all what you make of it. I've made many friends both on and off the Ramp with my job. Finally If you want to work for WN, you better have a good set of people skills, because for the most part, personality goes A LONG way with WN.

Here are some shots I often take while at work..

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc368/737-8H4/24E6C105-4B24-4214-AAC3-202422BDE1F1-8785-0000069FD6620BF7_zpsb7629a5e.jpg

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc368/737-8H4/29C79912-6F0D-4E7B-9E59-D4CC58238F0E-501-0000002601F08A5B_zpsb390fadf.jpg

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc368/737-8H4/A5933F1B-0027-4090-9CE5-A1671D9CE195-8785-0000069FCBCA0F94_zps4935a46c.jpg

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc368/737-8H4/72a1f4b3.jpg
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
WRXRCR
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:33 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:23 pm

Oh here it is. I thought this got deleted but I guess it was moved here. Lots of good replies. I did not realize how sought after a job Southwest ramp is. Nor did I know it paid that much. Maybe I would have my work cut out for me trying to get a job there. How about signature flight support? Is it difficult to get a job there? Does it pay as much? How about the airline you work at jetmatt? Are you not wanting to disclose which airline it is you work for?
 
fghtngsiouxatc
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:33 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:10 pm

Quoting WRXRCR (Reply 10):
How about signature flight support? Is it difficult to get a job there? Does it pay as much? How about the airline you work at jetmatt?

Signature is an OK job and an OK company. Unfortunately the MDW location is run by a guy with absolutely no managerial experience, so the employees sometimes suffer. It isn't all that bad, though. If you enjoy being around airplanes, you'll enjoy working at Signature. You start out at $10/hour and get a 50 cent raise every 6 months. Some locations are unionized (MDW is) so expect to pay dues. What really helps is tips. I made anywhere from $100-400 a week alone in tips. There are 3 shifts. If you're lucky you'll end up on second, but you might get stuck on 3rd. Don't expect 1st shift.

Signature is hiring right now at MDW. I encourage you to apply!
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2820
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:31 pm

Ramp work is tough on the body and definitely a young man/woman's game. There are lots of dangers involved and you have to keep your head on a swivel.

That being said, if you enjoy airplanes, don't mind weather and don't mind a little sweat equity working the ramp is great. With a larger company like southwest, the options for advancement are endless if you have the education and reputation to move up. They have good pay, good benefits and a dedicated workforce. Head over to ORD and you'll see a different story. Many people that have been given decades of to an airline only to be repaid through paycuts and CEO who stuffed his pocket for a golden parachute. If it looks like something you would enjoy, go for it.
DMI
 
jetmatt777
Crew
Posts: 2809
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:20 pm

Quoting WRXRCR (Reply 10):
How about the airline you work at jetmatt? Are you not wanting to disclose which airline it is you work for?

It is one of the major legacy airlines. Pay and benefits on the ramp (and the job itself) are similar across the board with some slight variations. Southwest pays a little bit more than my company, but not by a lot.
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
Geezer
Posts: 1413
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:37 am

RE: Is Southwest Ramp A Good Job?

Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:53 am

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 9):
Here are some shots I often take while at work..

Hey, SXDFC............with shots like that, looks like you'll be in the "Photography Department" in Dallas before too long !

I LOVE that shot in the snow with the tail and the winglet ! Very nice !

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein

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