Popular jobs at airline companies

Last updated: April 23, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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Popular jobs at airline companies
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There is a range of career paths available in the aviation industry. If you’re interested in travel, customer service, or maintenance, a position at an airline company could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

In a connected world, airline jobs have good prospects.

For example, if your goal is to be a commercial pilot, the job outlook is positive. Job growth is rising faster than average, and by 2030 it's expected to hit 13%.

Whether you want to fly above the clouds or keep your feet firmly on the ground, there’s an airline job for you.

What are the most popular positions? Let’s take a look.

What is an airline job?

There are different types of airline jobs, and you can work for a commercial or private company.

Regional, domestic, and international airlines rely on teams including pilots, cabin crew, baggage handlers, and maintenance crew.

You can get a job working on the ground at an airport, maintenance facility, or travel agency. Alternatively, you can travel across the skies as part of the flight crew team.

Some of the largest airlines include American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.

The job you choose will depend on your skills, education, experience, and interests.

What do you need to work at an airline?

If you want to work for an airline, you’ll need strong interpersonal skills. You should be a good team player and be confident in communicating with people from all over the world.

A passion for travel is an advantage, especially if your role involves flying domestically or internationally. Flight crew members need strong leadership skills and patience and should be cool and calm in an emergency.

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It can be a fast-paced work environment, and many of the roles include long hours spent working on your feet.

Some roles have a minimum age requirement. Flight attendants usually have to be at least 18 years old. However, some airlines only hire flight attendants who are over 20 or 21.

There can also be height requirements for flight attendants.

Additionally, if you have a role dealing with customers, you’ll need to be well-dressed and neatly groomed.

Most airline workers need to pass a background check and take a drug test.

What are the top airline jobs?

Want to learn more about the top airline jobs? Here are twelve roles to consider:

1. Pilot

Pilots fly planes, submit flight plans, and make sure the aircraft is safe. They need to check the weather and keep an eye on fuel levels.

Pilots work in the cockpit of the plane and use a range of instruments. They use a radio to speak to air traffic controllers throughout the flight.

Most pilots have a bachelor’s degree and special training. Pilots need to be certified and have good leadership and technical skills.

How much does a pilot make?

The average annual salary for pilots is $134,630 per year. For commercial airline pilots, the average is $99,640 per year.

Top earning airline pilots make up to $202,180 per year.

Where to find a job

Look for pilot roles on our job board.

2. Flight attendant

Flight attendants are part of the air travel cabin crew on private or commercial flights. They explain emergency equipment, help passengers find their seats, and serve food and drinks.

A positive customer experience is a priority, and they make sure passengers are comfortable. There can be long hours of flight time, so you’ll need to be patient and physically fit.

You’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a flight attendant. Training is provided, and you’ll need to be certified before you can work.

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How much does a flight attendant make?

The average annual salary for a flight attendant is $61,640 per year.

Where to find a job

Browse flight attendant jobs on our job board.

3. Air traffic controller

Air traffic controllers direct planes and tell pilots when it’s safe to take off and land.

They communicate with pilots and let them know if there are any safety concerns. For example, bad weather may be approaching, or the plane may have to be redirected to another runway.

Air traffic controllers often have to manage ground traffic and multiple aircraft at the same time.

There are different ways to become an air traffic controller. You can get the job through work experience or by completing a degree.

How much does an air traffic controller make?

Those who work in air traffic control roles make an average of $129,750 per year.

Where to find a job

Browse air traffic controller jobs on our job board.

4. Baggage handler

Baggage handlers load and unload airline cargo onto planes. They often operate equipment such as forklifts and carts on a daily basis.

Baggage handlers need to handle and sort luggage carefully. The role can involve heavy lifting, so they need to be physically fit.

You’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a baggage handler. You’ll need to be over 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. On-the-job training is provided.

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How much does a baggage handler make?

The average salary for a baggage handler is $30,320 per year.

Where to find a job

Look for baggage handler jobs on our job board.

5. Avionics technician

Avionics technicians are responsible for safe flights. They test different equipment and instruments and make sure the plane is well maintained.

Avionics technicians use a range of tools and diagnose and repair any problems. They keep accurate records of any work done and understand complex aircraft software.

To do this role, you can attend an aviation maintenance technician school or get work experience. A certification is usually required.

Workers need to have technical knowledge and manual dexterity.

How much does an avionics technician make?

The median salary for an avionics technician is $65,550 per year.

Where to find a job

Search for avionics technician jobs on our job board.

6. Aircraft dispatcher

Flight dispatchers plan routes for efficiency and safety. They look at upcoming weather conditions, cabin crew, and locations.

Aircraft dispatchers plan everything from maximum weight to flight altitudes. Every aspect of the flight is researched, and they create a clear outline for the whole team to follow.

To work as a flight dispatcher, you’ll need to enroll in dispatcher training. You’ll also need a certification. Essential skills include good communication, organization, and attention to detail.

How much does an aircraft dispatcher make?

The median salary for an aircraft dispatcher is $84,770 per year.

Where to find a job

Browse flight dispatcher jobs on our job board.

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7. Reservation agent

Reservation agents help travelers plan their journey. They book plane tickets for local and international routes and arrange accommodations.

They create package deals with extras, including car rental, tours, and activities. Reservation agents give customers the right information on required passports, visas, travel insurance, and vaccinations.

The minimum requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent. If you have experience in the travel or customer service industries, it’ll be an advantage. Reservation agents need to be organized and have good communication skills.

How much does a reservation agent make?

The average salary for a reservation agent is $43,810 per year.

Where to find a job

Browse our job board for reservation agent positions. You can also look for travel agent positions.

8. Security guard

Security guards work in airports. They look out for suspicious behavior and keep travelers safe.

Security guards screen passengers. They use x-ray machines and other devices to scan people and their luggage to make sure there are no illegal or dangerous items.

They're trained to spot unusual behavior and use good communication skills to diffuse difficult situations.

For most positions, there are no formal education requirements. Training is done on the job. You’ll need to be physically fit, calm, and confident to work in this role.

How much does a security guard make?

The average salary for a security guard is $31,470 per year.

Where to find a job

Browse security guard positions on our job board.

9. Aircraft mechanic

Aircraft mechanics maintain and repair planes. The role includes repairing wings, brakes, and engines and replacing components before they wear out.

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Aircraft mechanics use a range of tools and equipment. They’ll check the safety of the plane and diagnose problems with regular maintenance. And, if there’s an issue, they’ll be called in to make the repair.

These workers are highly trained through an aviation school or on the job. They need to be certified before getting hired.

Aircraft mechanics need good manual dexterity, technical skills, and great attention to detail. They often work with avionics technicians.

How much does an aircraft mechanic make?

The average salary for an aircraft mechanic is $65,550 per year. Annual salaries can vary depending on the size of the plane.

Where to find a job

You can browse aircraft mechanic roles on our job board.

10. Food services worker

Airline food services workers prepare meals for passengers. They usually work in an airport kitchen, in a busy team environment.

These workers follow a set menu and need to make modifications for food allergies and intolerances. Each meal is packaged into individual servings, ready for the flight.

There are entry-level positions available, with training available on the job. However, a high school diploma is usually required. For senior roles, culinary experience will be an advantage.

The role involves long hours working on your feet, so you’ll need to be physically fit.

How much does a food services worker make?

The salary varies depending on the job title. For example, the average salary for all workers is $45,760 per year. For management positions, the average is $102,450 per year.

Where to find a job

Look for airline food services jobs on our job board.

11. Aircraft cleaner

Aircraft cleaners make sure planes are clean and restocked. Once the passengers have left, they board the plane and get ready to work.

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They empty trash and clean floors, windows, and seats. Aircraft cleaners check overhead compartments and make sure no personal items have been left behind. The entire length of the plane, including the restroom, needs to be thoroughly cleaned before the next flight.

These workers often have to restock items.

There are usually no minimum education requirements to be an aircraft cleaner. You’ll need to be physically fit, with great attention to detail.

How much does an aircraft cleaner make?

The average salary for an aircraft cleaner is $29,760 per year.

Where to find a job

You can browse aircraft cleaner roles on our job board.

12. Aviation manager

Aviation managers oversee daily operations. They make sure legal requirements are met and make safety and security a priority. They hire staff, set schedules, and manage budgets.

Aviation managers check flight plans and make sure teams are working well together. If there’s an emergency or incident, the aviation manager will be in charge of the response.

It’s a busy job, and aviation managers can expect to work long hours. Managers usually have a bachelor’s degree in aviation management.

To be successful, you’ll need excellent communication skills, computer skills, and conflict management skills.

How much does an aviation manager make?

The median wage for an aviation manager is $95,000 per year.

Where to find a job

Look for aviation manager positions on our job board.

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Working for an airline

If you’re looking for a new career, consider the airline industry. There is a range of jobs available, and there’s an option for everyone.

Pilots and flight attendants are part of the cabin crew and spend their shifts in flight. Avionics technicians, aircraft mechanics, and aircraft cleaners make sure the planes are clean, maintained, and ready to fly.

Aviation managers oversee operations, and air traffic controllers and dispatchers help plan and manage flights. Security guards, baggage handlers, and food service workers work on the ground.

Ready to start your job search? Companies are hiring near you. Start by visiting our job board.

Before you go, make sure you check out our resource center for more articles like this one.

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Crystal Warren
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I’m interested

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Mabeth Buergo
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I'm here in the Philippines

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Mabeth Buergo
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Yes

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Lawrencia Edet
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Interested

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Tapfumaneyi Mutepfa
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Im interested

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Nima Nima
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Mimmy Noble
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Delightful

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Trammell Wilson
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Lead Data Analyst at Wells Fargo

Yup

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Darrick Dulin
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Interested

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Bilal Mahmood
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Senior Operation Specialist at Air Service Tourism Oman

Interested How to apply

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