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Cory6188
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:29 am

Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:03 pm

For airport employees (not flight crews), I've always thought about the additional headaches that must come with the day-in, day-out of working at an airport and the associated commute compared to a more conventional retail, office, etc. job. Especially for huge airports, I'd imagine that it could easily take another 20+ mins to get from an employee parking lot just into the terminal, let alone down a long concourse to whatever restaurant/gate/etc. where you actually might be working for the day.

As an example, for anyone who's flown through Terminal 4 at JFK, I was thinking that just to get to the gates/associated businesses in the high 30s/40s, that'd be a crazy walk just to get to your job for the day. Also, these generally aren't the highest wage positions - so especially if you're not working for an airline where you get flight benefits, I'd imagine that it's a fairly significant detriment to trying to recruit employees to deal with the weird shift times and commuting hassle associated with those types of jobs, relative to a similar wage for a job that would have much less commuting hassle in a non-airport location.

Any thoughts on this one for people who've actually worked in an airport? I've always been curious as to how this one pans out with recruting and motivation to work at the airport vs. elsewhere.
 
alasizon
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:15 pm

Most employees accept it as part of the job and offset by some of the benefits of the job. Personally, we have no problems recruiting employees to work on the ramp, in catering or as CSAs specifically due to parking/commute issues. Now scheduling does help some, most shifts begin before rush hour heading in is really a problem and while they end closer to PM rush hour (depending on the shift), most employees accept that rush hour has nothing to do with working at the airport. The biggest benefit for employees is the very liberal shift trading policy that most companies have that basically allows them to build their own schedule how they want once off probation and as such they can create a schedule that works better for them. Likewise, most entrypoints have designated employee lanes or portals which makes it much faster for employees to get into work.

Now all of this applies to actual airline/ground handler/caterer careers. Jobs at concessionaires and associated other airport businesses are not as glamorous or flexible and come with less benefits and as such have routine high turnover of people who get an identical job just not at the airport.
Airport (noun) - A construction site which airplanes tend to frequent
 
CALMSP
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 3:18 am

Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:16 pm

pretty simple, you simply leave at the time it will take to get you to your position required for clock-in. No different than people who commute in cities like Chicago or NYC who were taking very lengthy train rides to be at their job at the assigned time.
 
Airontario
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:46 pm

It can be an issue for sure. Here at YYZ we have had staffing shortages with ramp crews in the past. Split shifts were a major cause of them leaving. If you're working a regular shift, the extra 15-20 minutes it takes to park in the employee lot and take the train over isn't a huge deal. However when you have 3-4 hours unpaid in the middle of your work day, the added time to get to your car, go home, come back and park and take the train back to the terminal means you're just hanging around the terminal for hours. That was too much for many and they left almost as quickly as they joined. I'm not going to argue that it's a major issue that companies are fretting over, but it does happen.
 
USAir707
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:58 pm

Cory6188 wrote:
For airport employees (not flight crews), I've always thought about the additional headaches that must come with the day-in, day-out of working at an airport and the associated commute compared to a more conventional retail, office, etc. job. Especially for huge airports, I'd imagine that it could easily take another 20+ mins to get from an employee parking lot just into the terminal, let alone down a long concourse to whatever restaurant/gate/etc. where you actually might be working for the day.

As an example, for anyone who's flown through Terminal 4 at JFK, I was thinking that just to get to the gates/associated businesses in the high 30s/40s, that'd be a crazy walk just to get to your job for the day. Also, these generally aren't the highest wage positions - so especially if you're not working for an airline where you get flight benefits, I'd imagine that it's a fairly significant detriment to trying to recruit employees to deal with the weird shift times and commuting hassle associated with those types of jobs, relative to a similar wage for a job that would have much less commuting hassle in a non-airport location.

Any thoughts on this one for people who've actually worked in an airport? I've always been curious as to how this one pans out with recruting and motivation to work at the airport vs. elsewhere.


You are absolutely right about this. When I worked a career in banking, I parked right in the parking lot, and 5-10 seconds later i was at my desk. When I worked for 2 different airlines at our airport (PIT) it was a nightmare, for very little pay. But that is the thing with taking an "airline job", it is not just about the pay. It is about an intrigue or love of aviation/travel/flying. Back then, why would you work your tail off for just above minimum wage, when you can get a cushy do nothing job for more money elsewhere? The answer is, the love or intrigue of aviation. It just draws some people in...

I absolutely hated the whole "going to/from" work aspect at the airport sometimes. 40 minute drive to the airport. 10-20 minutes finding a spot. Then a 5-10 minute walk to the building. Then a 10 minute walk to the landside entrance. From there, you had two possible options. Wait in line for TSA security (this can add 15-30 minutes more time) to get airside, or, if you are lucky, swipe your SIDA badge to enter the "bag room" and hop on a company truck or baggage cart if someone is heading over to airside.

So, from the door of my house, until i was physically clocking into my job was about 90 minutes....
 
nine4nine
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:12 pm

When I worked for WN at LAX I had a period where my car was in the shop for a few weeks. I lived walking distance to BUR. For that time and a few other random times during my career there I would walk to BUR catch a flight to LAS or OAK then fly down to LAX for my shift then repeat for the way home. I had a mid day shift so it worked really easy. Only had to Interline a few times on HP if there was a delay or cancelation of WN metal. Great experience getting to/from work tho.
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FGITD
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:24 pm

Where I work, most staff park at a garage owned and operated by our dear airport authority, and take employee shuttle buses. Fun catch to that is the garage is on the opposite side of a lift bridge that tanker ships pass under. More than a few delays have occurred because staff are stuck on the bus for 45 minutes while a tanker comes in.

But it gets incrementally better as you move up. Supervisors and managers would get parking in one of the main garages. Still usually a 10 minute walk to the terminals, but seperated, covered, and you could leave your car there and go on vacation.

The big bosses (station managers, airport authorities, etc) park in surface lots closest to the terminal they work in.

Seems the only airline people with good parking work in cargo. And at that, they're usually in the worst corners of the airport and next to or across from loading docks. Also from my experience, terrible food options at cargo.

Worth noting that the airline/vendor pays the airport for all of these options. Some of them just give their employees a bus pass and no one parks.

As far as recruitment and retaining...not easy. Guys on the ramp routinely quit to work lower paying jobs with less hassle. They'd have to commute in, find a spot, wait for the bus, take it almost the entire route depending on terminal, then walk through the enployee screening areas, through sida doors and finally to their breakroom to punch in. You could live a 15 minute drive away and still take well over an hour to get into work. And do the reverse after a long hot/cold rainy/snowy/sunny day.
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:57 pm

In ATL, you will see airport employees, who mostly work concessions, arriving on the earliest train on the weekends (which arrive way too late at 645a) and making a mad dash through security. They even have a way to clock in right in the security area so they can check in before they get to their concourse. In the evenings, you will see them run up the escalator to the train, as it runs only every 20 minutes. I would say that's a rushed commute, but there aren't many other good alternatives if you don't have a car and need to be there on time.
 
jetmatt777
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:04 pm

I work at DEN and need to be in the shuttle parking lot no later than 30 minutes before my shift starts. For example, if I am pulling through the lot gates at 1145 for a 1215 shift I will be cutting it close. By the time I drive through the lot, find a spot, and walk to the bus building, it will have taken 5-7 minutes. Add in a random security check at the bus building, and that can be another 2-3 minutes. The buses leave every 5 minutes so that needs to be accounted for. Let’s assume I pulled in right at 1145.

1145 badge in to lot
1152 arrive at bus building
(Next bus leaves at 1155)
Stopped for a random security check.
1155 bus departs but I missed it by a second because of the check. Next bus 1200
1200 bus leaves. It is about a 10 minute ride to my concourse (if there is no taxiway traffic blocking the bus route)
1210ish arrive at a time clock.

Not much time to spare. If it is snowy or foggy, the buses will take the long way (avoids the deice pads) which adds another 10 minutes of travel time. On snowy and foggy days I plan to be in the parking lot 45 minutes to an hour before my shift starts - and that still cuts it close.

DEN is a crap airport to work at because of the city’s planning, but that’s a different rant.
 
CanadianNorth
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:41 pm

Never seen it a problem in maintenance. In some ways it's better than a office job in town because our work schedules avoid most of the traffic rushes and result in more days off over the course of the year than a standard 8-5 monday to friday would.

Day shifts usually start before the morning rush and finish either just before or just after the evening rush, and evening shifts usually start between the lunch rush and evening rush and finish sometime during the night. Most full time airline mechanics I know are on some kind of 4 on 3 off, 4 on 4 off, 8 on 6 off, 7 on 7 off, or something like that, plus you have vacation days to use up and shift trades you can do on top of that.

Once at the airport we usually clock in and out at the hangar or equivalent which at any airport I've worked at is quick enough to get to if you know the way. Once there you get or make your to do list for the day and doing line maintenance you're often all over the airfield but at that point you're in a company truck getting paid by the hour so it's fine.
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vfw614
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:10 pm

Given the exorbitant costs to park a car for passengers at airports. how does it work for employees? Are employee parking lots generally free or do they attract hefty costs for employees? Is there are general rule or does it depend on the type of employer and aspects such as availability of public transport?
 
jetmatt777
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:28 pm

vfw614 wrote:
Given the exorbitant costs to park a car for passengers at airports. how does it work for employees? Are employee parking lots generally free or do they attract hefty costs for employees? Is there are general rule or does it depend on the type of employer and aspects such as availability of public transport?


It is billed directly to the airline on a monthly rate. Nowhere near what passengers cost. I believe DEN is around $50/mo per employee. I have never paid for airport employee parking.
 
bigb
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:34 pm

vfw614 wrote:
Given the exorbitant costs to park a car for passengers at airports. how does it work for employees? Are employee parking lots generally free or do they attract hefty costs for employees? Is there are general rule or does it depend on the type of employer and aspects such as availability of public transport?


Every airport is different. When I worked HOU back in 2003. I would park in the daily garage when the weather was crap. But on normal days, employee parking was in front of the old Cargo building and you had to walk up the vehicle exit ramp to the terminal.

At my local airport, ORF, Pre-COVID. Even though I live 15 mins from the airport, I had to plan to leave the house 30-45 mins prior to my report time to time employee shuttle that never ran that their advertised times. Some drivers were on time, some drivers left too early (forced me to wait additional 20-25 mins), to left late.

During COVID, ORF did away with the employee shuttle shuttle and forced all the employees to park in the long term garage and this will be permanent once the new garage opens. That was a well received by flight crews who had issues with vans not running on time and made them late for report times or added unnecessary time to folks commutes. Now I can reliably plan 20 mins from door to gate instead of guessing what time to leave the house.
 
yvr2018
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:08 pm

My last airport job before being laid off last year, employee parking for my company was $35 per month for the employee share, the company only covered a % of the parking cost, not sure what the full rate per employee was.

Parking lot to our breakroom airside was about a 20 minute walk, my shift started at 4am, so I needed to arrive in the parking lot about 3:35am and would get to the time clock just before 4am.



jetmatt777 wrote:
vfw614 wrote:
Given the exorbitant costs to park a car for passengers at airports. how does it work for employees? Are employee parking lots generally free or do they attract hefty costs for employees? Is there are general rule or does it depend on the type of employer and aspects such as availability of public transport?


It is billed directly to the airline on a monthly rate. Nowhere near what passengers cost. I believe DEN is around $50/mo per employee. I have never paid for airport employee parking.
 
shamrock137
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am

FGITD wrote:
Where I work, most staff park at a garage owned and operated by our dear airport authority, and take employee shuttle buses. Fun catch to that is the garage is on the opposite side of a lift bridge that tanker ships pass under. More than a few delays have occurred because staff are stuck on the bus for 45 minutes while a tanker comes in.

......

Seems the only airline people with good parking work in cargo. And at that, they're usually in the worst corners of the airport and next to or across from loading docks. Also from my experience, terrible food options at cargo. .


Hahaha I think I know where this is, its infamous! Cargo usually has good spots, as well as maintenance! Most hangars have their own lots, nice and close to the hangar entrance.
Time to spare? Go by air!
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:13 am

vfw614 wrote:
Given the exorbitant costs to park a car for passengers at airports. how does it work for employees? Are employee parking lots generally free or do they attract hefty costs for employees? Is there are general rule or does it depend on the type of employer and aspects such as availability of public transport?


It depends. Some companies offer discounted or free parking.

Then again, where I live almost everyone uses public transport. Airport employees get discounted fares on public buses and trains to/from the airport, and there are free various shuttle buses.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
e38
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:15 am

vfw614 wrote:
Are employee parking lots generally free or do they attract hefty costs for employees? Is there are general rule?


vfw614, I think this has already been addressed satisfactorily, but in the United States, it is generally up to the airport authority, or whatever entity manages airport operations. I don't think there is a "general rule." At the airport at which I am currently based, parking in employee lots is free to all airport employees, including flight crews. However, I have previously been based at other airports where employees were charged a nominal rate for parking--much less, or course, than the amount charged to the general public (for example, $30 per month). Depending upon the employer, this amount may or may not be reimbursed.

For Cory6188 (topic author), your observation regarding "Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees" is very perceptive. Certainly the issues are valid and potential employees must weigh the pros and cons of working at the airport, as well as the availability of other jobs.

e38
 
FGITD
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:06 am

shamrock137 wrote:
FGITD wrote:
Where I work, most staff park at a garage owned and operated by our dear airport authority, and take employee shuttle buses. Fun catch to that is the garage is on the opposite side of a lift bridge that tanker ships pass under. More than a few delays have occurred because staff are stuck on the bus for 45 minutes while a tanker comes in.

......

Seems the only airline people with good parking work in cargo. And at that, they're usually in the worst corners of the airport and next to or across from loading docks. Also from my experience, terrible food options at cargo. .


Hahaha I think I know where this is, its infamous! Cargo usually has good spots, as well as maintenance! Most hangars have their own lots, nice and close to the hangar entrance.


Based on your username, I would say you definitely got it!

Maintenance is a good one. But same deal, terrible food options by the hangars! Does it even count as working at an airport if there aren’t 4 Hudson News locations within a 4 minute walk?
 
Woodreau
Posts: 2054
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:26 pm

vfw614 wrote:
Given the exorbitant costs to park a car for passengers at airports. how does it work for employees? Are employee parking lots generally free or do they attract hefty costs for employees? Is there are general rule or does it depend on the type of employer and aspects such as availability of public transport?


Depends on the airport authority.
Here are some examples

DFW - $47/month per employee or $564/year - paid by the employer - the employer decides whether to charge the employee for the Employee Transportation Charge it has to pay the airport. (page 45 of the document F. Employee Transportation Charge)
https://dwuconsulting.com/images/Ratebo ... 20Book.pdf

JFK - $70/month per employee
https://www.panynj.gov/content/dam/airp ... es-jfk.pdf

EWR - $70/month per employee
https://www.panynj.gov/content/dam/airp ... es-ewr.pdf

you can try to google "schedule of charges" for the specific airport youre looking for.

Even though Im not based in ORD (now), my airline registered my Ventra account with the Chicago CTA to waive the $5 Ohare surcharge to use the O'Hare L-train stop on the Blue Line. so I still need to pay to use the Blue Line, but when I use the O-Hare stop at the airport, I don't get charged the O'Hare Fee.

At DFW, when I was not based in DFW (based in ORD back then), my employer (American Eagle/Envoy) didn't issue me an employee parking pass for DFW even though my airline had a station and crew domicile at DFW. so if I wanted to park at DFW and utilize the employee parking lot, I had to get my own DFW airline employee parking pass and fill out the "non-based airline employee form" pay the annual $564 parking fee to get my own pass at the airport parking office.
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CrimsonNL
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:22 pm

vfw614 wrote:
Given the exorbitant costs to park a car for passengers at airports. how does it work for employees? Are employee parking lots generally free or do they attract hefty costs for employees? Is there are general rule or does it depend on the type of employer and aspects such as availability of public transport?


At AMS it depends on the company. A lot of the cheapskate handling agents won't pay for their employees. At my previous job it cost me about 50eu per month to park a reasonable distance from my workplace. There are cheaper parking options that go for about 30eu monthly, but those involve riding an employee bus for anywhere between 5-10 minutes. If you work on some airside location away from the main terminal, it can take quite long to get there from your car. Easily 25 minutes.
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
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NWAESC
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:05 pm

Employee lot at my airport is a 4 minute walk to the terminal. 1st parking pass is free, 2nd is $5/year.
"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
 
QF93
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:25 pm

nine4nine wrote:
When I worked for WN at LAX I had a period where my car was in the shop for a few weeks. I lived walking distance to BUR. For that time and a few other random times during my career there I would walk to BUR catch a flight to LAS or OAK then fly down to LAX for my shift then repeat for the way home. I had a mid day shift so it worked really easy. Only had to Interline a few times on HP if there was a delay or cancelation of WN metal. Great experience getting to/from work tho.


brilliant! That daily commute route (even if only temporary) has made my day. Makes the daily commute on London’s Jubilee Line or NY’s 7 subway line feel very mundane by comparison.
 
Dalmd88
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Re: Commuting Logistics for Airport Employees

Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:48 pm

When I worked BOS Line MTC we had three options when I started. Free commuter bus service run by the airport authority from the public paid park and ride lots in the suburbs. The airline paid for the monthly parking pass and bus vouchers. Option B was drive to the airport and park in a company lot. Option C was park at the hangar.

Now for the negatives of each option. A, the bus for some lots ran every hour, others it was every 30 min. For many the park and ride lots were about half way from home to the airport. Option B, the lot was on the other side of the Chelsea River. Going home in the AM the tanker ship would usually arrive about when it was time to cross the river on the company bus to the lot. Then you still had to drive all the way home through Boston traffic. Option C, you still had to drive all the was like option B, but you risked getting a ticket since we only had a limited number of parking passes for the tiny lot. Once we moved over to the old united hangar the lot was big enough for the whole crew so the drivers all parked there instead of the Chelsea lot.

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