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Aloha717200
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Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:31 am

I've been pondering something and I'd like to ask the wider forum.

It seems that, one of our favourite things to do is complain about our line of work no matter what line of work that might be. When it comes to aviation I'm sure it's no different.

But I'm going into college very soon, and I'm trying to decide just what, exactly, amongst my interests I wish to major in. And one of the things that's been on my mind is whether to really consider an aviation related field, or just keep it as a hobby and major in one of my other interests. Based on all the woes of the industry of late, I'd pretty much decided against an aviation career, but I'm starting to have second thoughts about that decision, simply because my passion still remains for all things aviation.

So I want to ask you. for all the complaining, the security, and the drama that goes on in the aviation industry...do you like your job? Would you trade it for another career?

What do you do that's aviation related? It doesnt matter how closely or loosely connected...whether you're a gate agent or a graphic artist for Landor, I want to hear from you. I want to know what you think about the career you've chosen related to this industry and whether it's something you really enjoy. Is the drama this industry brings too much? Is it worth the sometimes low wages and long hours in some positions?

If you feel comfortable, I'd love to hear what you do and what a day on the job is like for you. The highs and lows, the good and bad, what you look forward to and what you can't stand, and if you had a chance, would you do it all over again? Or choose something else? (just be careful in case your boss is reading!).

Thanks in advance
 
swa4life
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:56 am

I'm a senior ramp agent for Southwest Airlines and I absolutely love it. I would literally never want to do anything else. The pay is good, the benefits are outstanding, and the work is exciting and at times even fun. I love being able to make my own schedules, and the flexibility I have with being able to drop and pick up shifts. I also enjoy essentially 7 weeks of paid vacation a year that I can use 1 day at a time at my own discretion. The company I work for stresses positive employee moral which makes it a fun and friendly work environment.

The volatility of the airline industry only makes things more interesting. I know that from where I stand, I have very little chance of ever finding myself in a position of wage cuts or possible unemployment. I suppose this is a bigger concern if you're not an employee of Southwest or maybe Delta. But, as an employee of Southwest, when people talk about the turbulence in the airline industry I feel like I'm outside of the window looking in. Ironically enough, one of the biggest perks I enjoy is my job security. I'm a member of a union and on a fixed pay scale with generous top out pay. From the day I started, I knew exactly what types of wages I could count on if I simply decided to stick around, and that's always been a comfortable thing to have.

I don't make 6 figures (high 2 figures though), but I have an outstanding quality of life. My ramp job at Southwest affords me a $285,000 house in the south suburbs of Chicago, 2 nice cars, plenty of toys such as my motorcycle, boat, and 2 jet skis. I make enough to pay the bills comfortably and put some in savings. Best of all, I travel a LOT, and mostly entirely for free.

I did not achieve a college degree and am extremely fortunate for the upper middle class lifestyle that I enjoy. It's not all gloom and doom in the airline industry, you just have to hitch your wagon to the right airline.
 
AA737-823
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:03 am

I'll keep my reply short and simple... or at least try to.

After graduating with a degree in aeronautical science, I was unable to find a job doing anything aeronautical-sciency. That didn't bother me too much- if there's anything I learned at University, it's that engineering stuff bores me to death.
Fortunately, I earned an A&P license along with my degree. In 2006, I got a job as a line mechanic for a terrible company.
Got laid off there, and moved on to another employer, this time doing all sorts of maintenance.

I love my job. I loved the last one too, terrible company notwithstanding.

I suspect that, someday, I'll have to find another career; aviation is simply a tricky business. Between the tree huggers that swear airline travel is killing the pygmy field mice in Botswana, expensive fuel, and the ever reliable trade unions, this is a very ugly business to be in.

All of that said, I love my job. In fact, today is my first of three days off, and I sat here this morning wondering what I'd do until work starts up again!

As far as your decision goes, the only advice I'm willing to offer is that you should do whatever you WANT MOST to do. You should educate yourself thoroughly as far as the consequences of your decision, though. For example, if you want to be a pilot, you'd better be prepared to fork over a lot of cash/loans, and then starve/eat top ramen for the next decade.
BUT- if it's what you want to do, I think you'll find it to be worth your suffering.
And, if you don't do it, you'll have to live with it for the rest of your life. You'll live like most people do for several decades, telling yourself that you made the right decision and couldn't be happier. But then, when you retire, you'll admit that you wonder what would have happened if you'd done what you really wanted to.

So. That's all I've got. So much for short and simple!
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:19 am

Both wonderful replies so far and thank you. My university actually does offer an Aircraft Maintenance degree (With A&P). but I've never been exactly the "mechanic" type so I wasnt sure if having a passion for airplanes alone would be enough to make a mechanic type of job something I'd enjoy or not. If not, then I'd switch to another university once I get my generals out of the way and go for something a bit more interesting. But i certainly am curious as to what its REALLY like for an A&P. Is it like being an auto mechanic except your autos have wings? Or is it entirely different?

Aeronautical Science was one that I was thinking of as well and i appreciate your input on that.

And Swa4life, I'm glad to hear that the employee-first culture still exists at WN. I remember being fascinated with that airline when i was younger and even wrote a letter to WN asking them how I could start my own airline. Big grin They sent me a package full of info on Southwest and its history and wished me luck when i grew up! I've heard that working the ramp is hard work for low pay and no respect so your response was definitely enlightening.

I'd love to hear more from everyone!
 
Maverick623
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:37 am



Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
whether to really consider an aviation related field, or just keep it as a hobby and major in one of my other interests.

Try to major in something that you can use outside of aviation. Aeronautical science degrees aren't worth anything outside of aviation, so there's no backup.

Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
do you like your job?

Love it. I'm a ramp lead for US Airways, been there over 3 years now. I work with a lot of great people, and get a huge amount of satisfaction knowing that myself and my friends are really the people who make an airport go. Whether it's bringing a stroller up the jetway, pushing a plane out, connecting 120 bags in 35 minutes, or making sure someone else connects them, its thrilling to see it all come together, not to mention being a part of it.

Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
Would you trade it for another career?

I don't see myself, nor do I particularly desire, staying in my current position forever (at least as a full-time job). What I do enjoy right now is the flexibility; I literally set my own schedule. For a career of equal or slightly greater pay, I wouldn't go for it at this time.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
WesternA318
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:49 am

Well, after 13 years at various airlines, I've finally left them and decided to start my own travel agency, closely tied to one of my former employers, and equipped by my most recent employer. Opening date for my venture is 2/15/10.

In my 13 years at the airlines though, I wouldnt trade a single day for something else. I loved it all so much, from being a ramp rat (at TWA), to working my way up at various airlines on both ends of the service spectrum (America West, Frontier, EOS, Hooters Air), to my final stints at my favorite surviving airline, Continental. It was all such a blast!

As I said, it's time for me to move on, being the single dad of an 8 yr old hurricane, I decided I needed something that would require MUCH less travel than what I was doing at my last position. So, I got in touch with the only Tour Operator I ever worked at (Homeric Tours of NYC), they agreed to let me co-brand my agency (Vintage Travel) with them, and off I went. Now I have office space only 2 blocks from my daughter's school, and she just walks over there from class every day instead of taking a bus the few miles to our house.
 
crjfixer
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:44 am

Aircraft Mechanic for a large regional airline. I love my job
 
saab2000
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:04 pm

Pilot for a so-called 'regional' airline. I like most aspects of my job but not all. Days are long and can be very stressful. But it can be very rewarding too, especially when I feel I can help folks get to where they are going and answer questions, etc. Landing a full plane of happy folks on time is nice. Bringing people hours late to their connections which they have missed due to factors outside of my control is very, very frustrating.

Anwyay...

Most US pilots work multi-day trips. The work days can be anywhere from 6 to 16 hours long and the evenings are in hotels near the airports we work from. A typical trip is four days long and will have between 2 and 6 legs, with up to 7 though that's rare.

I never planned on getting into this business and sort of fell into it when I answered an ad in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper in Switzerland for a "Traffic Agent" for a ground handling company. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was flying for LX and now am captain on the mighty  Wow!  Big grin CRJ in the US.

My educational background is completely non-aviation related, proving that you don't need to study aviation to get into this job. In fact, the most fun folks I fly with are those who have a varied and different background. The ones who went to an aviation program in school tend to be good pilots and all, but are boring as heck to work with.

I think the best companies to work for are the ones that are very proactive with their operations and the vision of where they are going as a company. In the US these would include Southwest, UPS and FedEx. They are also the most competitive jobs to get.

If you are looking for a career in aviation there are a million different paths to the job. Depends a bit on what you wish to do. But some of the companies are huge bureaucratic machines where it's hard to make a difference. It can be frustrating work but it can also be rewarding. I don't think it's for everyone as the lifestyle, even for non-crew members is not for everyone. Odd hours, holidays, etc. are the norm, even for some management level folks.

Hope this was somewhat informational and helpful. Bottom line is that you don't need to study aviation-related stuff to get into this industry and be successful. But you do have to have a love of, or at least an understanding of, what we do, which is transporting people and/or cargo safely and efficiently. Some folks lose sight of that and that is why some companies are better than others to work for.
smrtrthnu
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:15 pm

I'm a flight test director. I design test flights by assembling the various test conditions the analysis engineers cook up, plan the flight and associated logistics, do the pre- and post-flight briefings, sit between the pilot and copilot during the flight as the "mission controller" of sorts, and generate the post-flight report. Flight crews' job is to fly the plane and keep everyone safe; my job is to make sure we get the data we came to get. I absolutely love it. Most of the drama/security issues/volatility of the airlines themselves doesn't impact me too much, and I get to fly a lot, in the best seat in the house, without any of the hassles normally associated with aviation. And we get to do stuff with the airplane that no commercial carrier can ever (legally) do. I absolutely love it. The only way it could be better is if I were a test pilot.

I had another career before aviation; I took a ~25% pay cut and a drop in living standards (cost of living factors) to come to aviation and I would do the same thing again in a heartbeat.

I'm well paid (not outrageous, but absolutely fair), excellent benefits, and relatively good job stability. I'm with a big enough company that, if this job falls through, there are other places I can go.

A couple of comments on other replies:

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 2):
As far as your decision goes, the only advice I'm willing to offer is that you should do whatever you WANT MOST to do.

I can't agree on this enough. I've been interested in aviation my whole life, I got a dual bachelors in mechanical & aerospace engineering, and I don't think I would have been happy with my original career choice (oilfield engineer). It was important in that it helped get me where I am today, but no amount of lifestyle can make up for a job that you aren't excited about doing, or knowing that there's a career out there that you really want and don't have.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
Aeronautical science degrees aren't worth anything outside of aviation, so there's no backup.

This may be true of aeronautical science, but if you go aeronautical engineering you'll always be able to fall back to many other general engineering jobs. That's what happened to me.

Tom.
 
duckredbeard
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:22 pm

AMT (Avionics) since 1989. Love my job, dislike the conditions, detest the way the economy has impacted the industry. Abhor the way the industry has resorted to outsourcing to other countries.
 
saab2000
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:28 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 8):
And we get to do stuff with the airplane that no commercial carrier can ever (legally) do.


As a commercial airline pilot I am fascinated by the testing process. I don't think I could ever do what the test pilots do. Not ballsy enough.....

I would love to hear stories about the testing of commercial airliners though. That is crazy stuff.
smrtrthnu
 
pilotboi
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:39 pm

I've always loved aviation. From the early years when my dad took me flying in his private airplane to the years when I realized I could be a pilot when I "grew up". Straight out of high school I went to college for Aeronautical Science (professional pilot). After three years I realized, while flying was fun and exciting, it wasn't going to be the career I would want to live out. I left college after those three years. After two years of being out of college, I still haven't figured out what I will go back to major in. But in the meantime I've worked in a few different aviation jobs, the latest at which I'm happy with for now.

I'm a ticket agent for Virgin Atlantic at Orlando, FL. That may sound a little bland, but at Virgin it works a little different then other airlines. Most of the agents are just check-in and gate agents. But there's only a few of us that know ticketing, meaning deal with ticket sales, ticket changes, bookings, all financial transactions, and most reservation changes. I've advanced to this position quite quickly, so I am proud of myself for that.

And yet there is more chances for moving up. I have been invited to start training as an agent in the FMU (Flight Management Unit). These agents are in the back office controlling most aspects of the flight from 6-7 hours before departure until push back. I am excited to start training for this position, as it is considered the highest position for Virgin at an airport, other then being a supervisor or manager.

Why do I love the industry so much? Well the airplanes play a big part. What's more spectacular then several hundred pounds of metal floating in mid air, defying the invisible force we call gravity.

The more important question: What keeps me in the industry? The people. Yes, I know, there are a lot of rude, impatient, ignorant, and for lack of a better word, stupid, passengers that can sometimes cause a headache. But it's easily counter-balanced and exceeded by the appreciative, understanding, enjoyable, and kind passengers. On top of all of that, it always makes you feel good when you can help someone out. This stretches to everything from simply answering a question to getting people rebooked so they don't miss their connection, to running through security to make sure pax don't miss their flight. The scenarios are endless.

So that sums up my aviation career so far. Based on my current job, and my past few jobs (which were all ramp jobs), I know I will remain in the aviation industry forever (unless of course the industry collapses altogether). There can't be another industry that packs as much fun, excitement, and satisfaction into one.
 
deltabobo
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:55 pm

Me? Well, after jumping on the typical ramp rat bandwagon right after high school, I started working full time for DL ramp (DGS), but had to leave because my demands of college and the inability for them (DL) to let me work PT forced me to make a decision: College or ramp rat. I chose college. A few years later, I found myself working for NW (this time as a station run by 9E), I moved up the ladder there, holding all kinds of certifications (ramp, gate, counter, de-ice, push, brake-riding, APU, etc.) for mainline NW and regional 9E aircraft. While at NW, I had a DL ticket agent tell me about dispatching. I'd never heard of it. So I looked into it and made a financial commitment and got my license.

Fast forward to 2010: I'm now employed at RD as a dispatcher (just passed my two year anniversary). I currently hold ETOPS certification for dispatching aircraft. I've literally dispatched flights to the most desolate places on earth. The benefits outweigh the pay (It's decent, but wish it were more). The best perk of the job: jumpseating. If you're up for a challenge, and like it where no day is the same, then I whole heartedly recommend dispatch.
Dispatchers...saving pilots from themselves and their egos since 1938!
 
manfredj
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:40 pm



Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
Based on all the woes of the industry of late, I'd pretty much decided against an aviation career, but I'm starting to have second thoughts about that decision, simply because my passion still remains for all things aviation.

You will learn very quickly that every industry has its politics. Since you have chosen to be part of an aviation forum, you see the dirty side of things with little effort on our part to talk about the more pleasant things we take for granted.

I grew up in an airline family, my father a captain for Continental, my mother a flight attendant for USAir. But there is much more to it than that. My father began his career at Braniff, a now defunct airline. He then went to PeopleExpress which was later bought out by Continental. There were many times where his job was on the line. It was only in the LATER part of his career things started to pick up and Continental became the airline it is now.

As for my mother, she took an early retirement from USAir in her early 50's when things were particularly bad for the struggling airline.

Throughout my life, I had to hear about the politics. I saw the changes that occurred from the early 70's until present. I saw the disappearance of great service, the continued effort to cut costs and the cutthroat competition that airlines like Southwest brought to the industry.

However, for all the things that have changed, just as many have stayed the same. Pilots and crew still enjoy flying around the world. They still enjoy the passion of flight and the mystique or air travel. Crew lounges are still rampant with rumors of impending doom and the unions still have the power to protect their employees.

I attended Embry Riddle University where I got my pilot's license and a degree in air traffic control and ergonomics. However, that didn't seal my fate. It did, however, give me the maturity and passion I needed to follow ANY of my dreams.

I have been in the automobile industry for 7 years. Cars are my life just as much as airplanes. I have worked for several German manufacturers and I never get tired of my job partly because I still have a strong passion for what I do. I have traveled all over the states, driven the fastest and best cars, met some of the best race drivers in the world and chatted with the upper echelons of my industry.

However, the politics are still here. Who will survive? Where is our industry going? How will we survive the "green movement" and what changes will have to be made? As much as the auto industry has changed in the past 30 years, it has still remained exactly the same. Sell cars, come out with new product and entice our customers to remain loyal to the product.

Follow your passions, disregard the politics, do your job to the best of your ability and you will NEVER fail. It doesn't matter what industry you embark, those words apply to all.

Good luck!
757: The last of the best
 
FX1816
Posts: 482
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:47 pm

ATC now. I used to be a Ramp Supervisor for DHL, a Team Leader on the Ramp for FedEx and before that I worked for a ground handling company called Ontario Aircraft Service while I was in college. We handled pretty much everything you could imagine as far as aircraft coming in to ONT.

FX1816
 
N104UA
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:54 pm

Okay I am still in College but will graduate soon (I hope) I am double majoring in German Language and Technical Theatre
German- If I go this way I would go work for the State Dept. with this I would try to work in an embassy overseas, which includes flying back and forth across the pond plus flying anywhere I am needed

Theatre- This is less aviation related but if you are on the road you fly between cities
"Learn the rules, so you know how to break them properly." -H.H. The Dalai Lama
 
FlyBoy747
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:08 pm

I'm in the same boat as you Aloha717200. As a current college student and almost done with my generals, Its almost time to decide what I want to do in life. Growing up with my grandpa who was one of the first 747 captains for NW I would always ask questions about flying and his experiences. We would go to MSP and watch all sorts of aircraft and he'd explain everything about that particular plane.
Since then I've always wanted to be a commercial pilot, but then with the huge downfall in the aviation industy, I had a hard time justifying paying thousands of dollars for a career that I might not even get to be in. With that in mind I decided to go for marketing and advertising degree then hopefully get a job within a part of the aviation industry, either with an airline or manufacture. It's been tough for me because flying is something that I've always wanted to do. I watch all sorts of airplanes fly over my house because we are right on the approach to MSP and I get so down because I know that I'm good at marketing and ad design but it's not what I really want.
My question to all you pilots out there is this. If you knew the industry would turn out to be like this now, would you still have gone for it or would you have chosen another path? Also for everyone that knows about it but what's the marketing side of this amazing industry like?

On a sidenote, after viewing this site for years and being blown away by the topics, information and photographs taken, I thought it was time to show my support, thus concluding my first post.

Thanks everyone!
MSP is my home...no matter where I fly!
 
LFutia
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:11 pm

I work at Chicago O'Hare and I push and dispatch my wheelchairs for American Airlines. I also do various positions other than wheelchairs at ORD. You've probably seen us from time to time when you've flown through Chicago.

Leo/ORD
Leo/ORD
 
JRadier
Posts: 3964
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:36 pm

RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:06 pm

I think the big question is, do you want/need an aviation degree to get into aviation, and the answer is no! Pick what you like to do!

I am currently in the final stages of getting my BSc in Business Logistics, with a graduation profile (as they call it, it's the last 25%) in Aviation Management. I grew up with Aviation, did my 5 month internship with Denim Air, a small ACMI airline in the Netherlands on spare parts logistics. Absolutely loved my time there, and learned that maintenance isn't my thing.

Currently I am doing my final thesis/internship with Dutch charter airline on network development, one week in out of 5 months. I grew up around the majors (well, KLM), but I now know/learn that I love the smaller companies better, with more responsibility, shorter lines and more diverse tasks to do.

I think that it is best to do as everyone basically said, follow your heart! I never really thought about careerpaths etc as I do what I think is best at a certain moment, and I don't have any regrets doing it. True, I've had 3 years with production logistics as my major, which doesn't have much to do with my current assignment (it's something more suitable for a company economist), but it has given me some good background and I learned valueable things. Do what you love to do, and the rest will follow!
 
G4LASRamper
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:18 pm

Having had careers in airline ops (ramper, pilot, maintenance planner), stage/movie/TV production (stage electrician, camera op, video engineer, technical director, studio projectionist), education (teacher aide, industrial trainer, college instructor), and aerospace (spacecraft ops, software engineering), I'll echo the comments above about finding something that you truly LOVE TO DO. I've been very lucky over the years in that I've always found my way into jobs that I really loved doing.

Without some driving passion, a job is just a chore, and in the worst cases a frustrating exercise in daily irritation for nothing more than a paycheck. Loving what you do really helps when coping with the downsides of working in any job in any field.

Find something that you would do even if you didn't get paid for it. Then the money becomes a nice extra! ^_^
"A pig that doesn't fly is just a pig." - Porco Rosso
 
planesailing
Posts: 564
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:18 pm



Quoting Swa4life (Reply 1):
I'm a senior ramp agent for Southwest Airlines and I absolutely love it.



Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 2):
I love my job. I loved the last one too, terrible company notwithstanding.



Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
Love it. I'm a ramp lead for US Airways, been there over 3 years now.



Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 5):
I loved it all so much



Quoting Crjfixer (Reply 6):
Aircraft Mechanic for a large regional airline. I love my job



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 8):
I absolutely love it.



Quoting DuckRedbeard (Reply 9):
Love my job

Thanks for that! I want to get into the aviation industry here in the UK and everytime I am always told that I do not have the relevant experience, both applying before and during the recession. It is soul destroying as it is what I want to do and I hate my present job, it isn't what I want to be in life.

I am now doing an Open University Business Studies degree and hope to pick up some aviation related courses also and hope that someone deems me as "experienced" so I can get a job in the industry.
 
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RJAF
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:39 pm

Hi Aloha717200...

Since i was a kid..I would run out to the balcony to see the plane that passed overhead..I used to make my fictitious airlines and come up with routes, liveries, fleets etc...My honeymoon was in the UK, where my wife enjoyed Oxford street and Mamamia while i enjoyed RIAT and Duxford.

I now work as an aviation insurance consultant (insuring such aircraft as 737s, A-320s and many of my beloved L-1011s). Of course, I always wanted to become a pilot but my parents were against it for some reason or another. I don't get much close to aircraft with my job but i tell you I enjoy every minute of it as you get to talk with your clients and learn from them. Clients also think that I'm special because I'm passionate about my job.

To put it simply..if you are an aviation enthusiast like me, do get a job in aviation because you'll tend to excel in what you do. I remember i once had a nice offer to work in textiles for triple what I used to make but could not imagine myself watching the textile rolls in front of me 10 hours a day! HOW FRIGIN BORING! With a labor of love, you will no doubt shine...Good luck Aloha717200 and remember, life is short..you might as well earn your bread and butter in something you enjoy.
Chance favors the prepared mind
 
flyinryan99
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 6:54 am

RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:47 pm

If I had to do it all over again, I would major in something like Business with an Aviation minor or maybe the other way around. Like a few others said above, I came out of college without a fall back and got stuck doing a dead end job until I got my break. I had worked the ramp for 5 years but it wasn't for me as a career. I'm currently in aviation insurance and enjoy it a lot. It is a desk job but I get to travel by flying myself and the airlines, both of which I love to do. I don't travel as much as I want to but as I am able to move up the ranks, I should be able to do more! Just make sure you have a Plan B.
 
shamrock321
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:05 pm

I work in baggage tracing at DUB, love going to the airport everyday and my colleagues say Im great at my job, altough I think it might be time for me to move on soon. If all goes to plan Ill stay in aviation forever!
 
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yellowtail
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:06 pm

If you love what you do, you will never get bored. and if you do get meager pay, at least you are enjoying your day anyway.

There are a couple of pilots on this board....some very senior ones....also mechanics, rampers etc...and most seem to love it.

Don't forger that there a fields /careers that deal with aviation everyday. For example, I am sure Min of Tourism for Jamaica (Ed Bartlett) has all the airline folks on speed dial....
When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:07 pm



Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
do you like your job?

I've spent the past 18 years with Alaska Airlines, and I can honestly say that to this day - even though there are sometimes VERY challenging days in my job - I absolutely LOVE it.

Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
Would you trade it for another career?

Not a chance! I'm very happy to be a part of the great Leadership team at one of the best carriers in the world.

I've always said there are two types of people in this world - airline people, and everyone else. And being part of the "everyone else" group just isn't acceptable once you get the industry in your blood.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
veeseeten
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:12 pm

I'm a graduate trainee at a major global carrier. I have a bachelors' in history and I joined with no previous full-time work experience. All I can say is, enthusiasm, perseverance and hard work pay off. If something really does fascinate you, pursuing it as a career is a no-brainer.
 
YVRLTN
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:51 am

I am a freight forwarder and have been with the same company since I left school at 15. For most of my career, I have actually handled ocean freight and this is what I specialize in, but as aviation is my hobby I am always willing to help out the air freight guys and they often come to me wanting to know who flies somewhere and for airport codes.

Most of the air cargo we move is just a carton or skid or two, but we also charter whole aircraft - the AN124 several times, through the 747F, Hercules, 737F right down to a Learjet - or even a Beaver to fly something up the coast! Now, that is fun, but very stressful - if your truck bursts a tire en route to the airport and you have an AN124 en route, that is not a good situation!!

I got lucky getting into my job and the industry and it would never happen today. I wont bore the board with all the details (you can PM me if you want to hear more) but basically I left school at 15, so I have all my GCSE's but no A Levels and did on the job training where I obtained "NVOCC's" in freight forwarding. The training scheme named Freight Train places trainees with a company in the freight industry. I had not heard of a freight forwarder at 15, but to cut a long story short I am still with that same company they placed me with and have now transferred half way across the world from London UK to YVR. Today, our company only hires graduate trainees, so this lack of education would make it impossible to get the same job 12.5 years later. Now I am established & known, I dont think this is a problem and I should have no problems should I wish to work elsewhere in the industry, as my experience stands by itself, but I am pretty much locked into this industry if I want to enjoy similar pay etc. As a result, I have no intentions of doing anything else and to be honest, though I have thought about it (see below) I really wouldnt want to do anything else.

A forwarder is stressful. Essentially we are middle men - a travel agent for freight - so our clients can do everything we do directly (like you no longer need a travel agent to search for the best deal for your vacation), so essentially we are providing a service and we take the stress and time factors out of the equation for international traders, so they can concentrate on their industry, rather than having to learn the intricasies of an ancillary industry. However, we are always moving interesting cargo and communicating with many nationalities and cultures and there are very few countries in the world where I have not shipped something, so while we have our routine bread & butter stuff, there is always something interesting and out of the ordinary going on. We try to be hands on as much as possible - you can easily move freight with a computer & phone without ever seeing a kg of it month in month out - but I try to supervise unusual or sensitive loads whenever possible and I have also got to travel supervising projects, which has provided me with lots of interesting free trips to corners of the globe many havent even heard of - safari in Africa & visiting Freddie Mercury's birth place in Zanzibar are two unforgetable experiences. Unfortunately today I mostly get to go to YYZ, YEG & YYC - in winter...

I have often thought about changing and getting more into aviation - I would just love to work for an airline magazine and get paid to go and do articles on exotic airports and stuff, but I realize there are probably several thousand applications for such a job so have never bothered. I am however working on getting material together for a YVR and eventually B.C. aviation webpage, along with DVD's on some of the rarer birds we have here, hopefully I can kick it off with unusual vistors for the Winter Olympics next month. However, for me I think I should leave aviation as a hobby and while I come across air cargo each day as I assist my staff, I will always be an ocean freight guy, which is certainly fascinating in its own right. just that you dont go and spot container ships on a Saturday afternoon  Wink
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PresRDC
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:59 am

I'm a lawyer for a major aerospace company. I provide support for any legal issues arising from our airline customers in the Asia Pacific region and, at times, the Middle East. This includes drafting and negotiating sales contracts, resolving disputes with customers, supporting joint ventures and compliance training for our Asia Pacific operations. I travel a lot and have conducted direct negotiations with most leading airlines in the region. For example, I will be in China next week, then home for a week before going to Japan for at least another week. I may also be dispatched to the Middle East at some point soon. Thankfully, we travel in business class.

In addition to a good salary and benefits, I earn enough miles each year for my wife and I to travel anywhere we want in First Class and maintain status with three airlines (top tier with one) and one hotel chain (also top tier). Also, asking the cabin crew to pass my business card to the flight crew has gotten me some neat flight deck experiences.

I got the job by working for a law firm after school (7 years of post high school education, in total) that eventually loaned me out to my current employer and I never went back. Without a doubt, the knowledge of the industry I gained from being a life-long enthusiast helped me get the job and gives me an edge dealing with customers.
 
HermansCVR580
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:44 am

I was an operations manager for one of the fueling companies. I loved what I did, and loved being around the airplanes. The hours were long and it became harder once my daughter was born. The industry went into the toliet and I started to burn out, and since I had reached the top and could go no higher unless I moved to a larger station I went back to school for computers. I like what I do now but, but I miss where I had come from and what I had done. One thing I found is that when working around airplanes day in and day out it became a job and I started to not like being around airplanes. Now I can once again enjoy the limited time that I get to spend around them and enjoy going to airliners.net.
The right decision at the wrong time, is still a wrong decision. "Hal Carr"
 
lhr380
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:12 am

Senior Customer Service and Res agent for a major LHR airline.
My job ranges from dealing with Passengers on the main Ticket desk, to working on the reservation desks in the Lounges and airside customer service desks, and working in both international and domestic flight flight connections.

Really love my job, though it has been hard to love with all the white stuff we have had before and after christmas. Although I say that, I could not see myself working anywhere else. I love working in the airport.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:09 am

I work in Maintenance.....70% of the time in Line Maintenance & 30% of the time in Major Maintenance.
Currently I work on B737/757 Freighters & work 4-5 nights a week.

I Enjoy my job & the best thing is they pay me for enjoying myself.
Its been a long 21 years in this field & I still enjoy every moment.

Personally I feel i can do nothing else...... Smile

regds
MEL.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:49 am



Quoting HermansCVR580 (Reply 29):
I was an operations manager for one of the fueling companies. I loved what I did, and loved being around the airplanes. The hours were long and it became harder once my daughter was born. The industry went into the toliet and I started to burn out, and since I had reached the top and could go no higher unless I moved to a larger station I went back to school for computers. I like what I do now but, but I miss where I had come from and what I had done. One thing I found is that when working around airplanes day in and day out it became a job and I started to not like being around airplanes. Now I can once again enjoy the limited time that I get to spend around them and enjoy going to airliners.net.

Is the pay decent for that kind of work? One of the jobs I did an internship in was lineman work and I absolutely loved it, but our fuel trucks were owned by the FBO. Mind if I ask how much business your airfield had? Major airport I'm assuming!

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 31):
I work in Maintenance.....70% of the time in Line Maintenance & 30% of the time in Major Maintenance.
Currently I work on B737/757 Freighters & work 4-5 nights a week.

I Enjoy my job & the best thing is they pay me for enjoying myself.
Its been a long 21 years in this field & I still enjoy every moment.

That's one of the things I'm considering. My school offers an aircraft maintenance degree but I'm not 100% sure if it would be for me or not. I've never been into mechanics but I'm definitely into airplanes and I wonder if that alone would make me love mechanic work. Maybe I'll post a separate topic about this.


thanks everyon for your wonderful replies, very good reading and sorry for the late reply!
 
mt787
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:27 am

I've posted this in another forum like this, but thought you might find it useful...

Being that I've always been fascinated by aviation, i went to school and got a BS and MS in aerospace engineering. I really wanted to become a pilot, but an uncle of mine, who worked for Air France, suggested I go get an engineering degree first... so i did, but never crossed over into piloting. I interned at Air Senegal, in their maintenance dept, for a few months, and then got a job at Boeing (after an internship there). Started out doing some composites structures work, but a year into my time there i got to do what i always wanted; aerodynamic design on the 787 (worked on the -9/-3/-10, the latter 2 of which will prob not be built). After 4.5 years I left Boeing for the FAA; mostly because i wanted to move back to DC to be closer to family... at this point i'm not sure if that was a wise move. What I do is interesting, but mostly space related. I really want to get back into the world of airplanes... given the current economy, I don't know if i want to go back to industry.
My dream job, though, would be to buy and sell / lease airplanes for businesses, airlines, individuals, etc...
anyway... that's my 6.5 year old career in a nutshell...

My advice is follow your dreams, if you have your heart set on doing something, go after it as long as it makes sense financially; for you. Just have to find the right balance!
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:27 am



Quoting Mt787 (Reply 33):
What I do is interesting, but mostly space related.

Space related? Space is another interest of mine, what aspects of spaceflight do you deal with?
 
acabgd
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:41 am

I used to work for a rent-a-car company at Zurich Airport. Although not directly aviation related, I still got to work at the airport every day, have a lunch break at the then-Swissair employee restaurant (with wonderful views of the apron) and got to meet and greet the people just as they landed in Switzerland for their holidays. I absolutely loved it!

My career then took a diferrent path and I'm now a sports editor. I travel a lot to some places I would probably never go to (ALA, FOR, SDJ, KRK to name a few...) and spent a total of 3.5 months away from home last year.

However, I'm still very much drawn to the aviation industry and I'm now beginning to set up a small travel agency specialized in "sports travel", ie. taking rich customers to some high profile sports events and some smaller games/competitions taking place in exotic settings.
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JBAirwaysFan
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:49 pm

If you like aviation, go for it! I've had a few career crises during my high school years and even in the past year. For the longest time, I wanted to be a pilot for a major airline. Over time, my airline passion began to evolve to more of a Route Planning interest. I am still interested in that, but not without questioning myself about doing other things such as meteorology, law (grandfather and father were both lawyers), and medicine. Every time, I found myself back in the airline industry and more passionate than the last time.

The airline industry is a fragile business. If you are just going to college now, there is a chance that the industry will be recovering or will have recovered already four years from now. Don't lose your passion and don't let it get away from you. My father became a lawyer because his father was and he thought he was supposed to do it too. He HATED ever day of it despite bringing home a six-figure income.
In Loving Memory of Casey Edward Falconer; May 16, 1992-May 9, 2012
 
LX138
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:08 pm

Like others have said, research all the possible career paths including government/regulation and other non obvious job paths. A business major with aviation would be a pretty good choice, as you have the transferable skills of the business side to use for a variety of career paths.

I would think once you've graduated/finished uni level study the worst of the economic problems will be over so I wouldn't rule out being a pilot. Importantly, do what you think you'll enjoy!

Quoting Planesailing (Reply 20):
Thanks for that! I want to get into the aviation industry here in the UK and everytime I am always told that I do not have the relevant experience, both applying before and during the recession. It is soul destroying as it is what I want to do and I hate my present job, it isn't what I want to be in life.

It can be hard, I actually started with a very short placement at a ground handler during uni, then got offered a part time role which I took, and stayed there throughout my studies, after that most airlines were interested in my skills. I could never do it as my full time job though, because the career prospects are not good, and neither is the pay. (UK specific).
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planesailing
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RE: Aviation Related Careers: Your Job?

Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:01 am



Quoting LX138 (Reply 37):
It can be hard, I actually started with a very short placement at a ground handler during uni, then got offered a part time role which I took, and stayed there throughout my studies, after that most airlines were interested in my skills. I could never do it as my full time job though, because the career prospects are not good, and neither is the pay. (UK specific).

I cannot even be a baggage handler because I am colourblind. Apparently it is because the bags are colour coded? The only colour coding I have ever seen on my bag is a green stripe to indicate that it is a bag going to the EU. I don't know if there are any colours used behind the scenes, but they are being extremely discriminative if there is. It's not that I don't know colours, or cannot learn routines/patterns.

I am currently doing a Open University degree to help strengthen my employability and hoping that with the recovery from the recession I can pick up work in the industry whilst I am doing all this learning! Fingers crossed.

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