Last summer (2006) I interned at Frontier Airlines in their Scheduling and Planning Department for three months. Overall, it was a great learning experience, and I really enjoyed it. Some of my duties: I created several reports that focused on profitability of specific routes, worked on new North American and Mexico routes, learned how to quote charters, and also did SWAT and other analyses of different competitors, among other projects as assigned (luckily, this did not include fetching anyone's coffee). I even worked on some early Lynx stuff, including the RFP that was sent to different communities for incentives. In the months after I left it was really neat to see new routes announced that I had worked on, or the schedules changed based on my recommendations, and even to track charter flights that I had quoted.
The internship was available through my Career Services office at ERAU. I did a phone interview in early March, and a week later they flew me to Denver for the day to do a face-to-face interview. (Yes, a daytrip from Orlando to Denver...lots of flying that day).
One thing that I really enjoyed was where I was. Beyond the work that I did, I used my weekends and free time to explore the Rockies and the areas around Denver, and even did three nonrevs to Omaha, San Jose CA
, and Salt Lake City. I looked at the internship as an opportunity to experience a place that I had never been to, which was one reason I looked for an intership.
My advice is to start applying early, or at least contact the companies that you are interested in early. Also, look at the all-around experience of the internship, that is, beyond just the job description. I used the opportunity to see a place that I otherwise wouldn't be able to go. You also don't want to spend a semester or an entire summer living somwhere miserable. Once you get there, be professional and go above and beyond. Once those I worked with realized that I was dedicated and reliable, I was entrusted to work on some projects that otherwise would probably never have been mentioned in front of an intern. There are some things that I worked on that I still will not share with anyone.
I was slated to interview with PHX
, but was offered the Frontier internship before the interview, so I had to cancel. I do know someone else who worked with them though. Many airlines have internships (Delta, American, Southwest, Comair, and Continental has many graduate level ones). Also, there are many airports, including general aviation airports, that offer internships. From what I have seen, these tend to focus heavily on operations and some administration. I know someone right now that is out in Casper, WY
working for an airport, and also know someone who interned at MCO
last summer. That MCO
internship turned into a full time position for him that fall.
Internships are an excellent way to be introduced to the professional side of the industry, and I highly recommend doing one if you are interested. You may find exactly what you want to do, or may find that it is not what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. No matter what, it is an experience and great resume and network builder. Good luck!