Ramp Agent Jobs
Approximately 173,700 baggage handlers are employed in U.S. airports by airlines and fixed base operators (FBO’s). If you’ve ever wondered how to get a job at an airport, a ramp agents job may be the way in. Considered to be an entry level position, on the job training may be available for this position. Ramp agents may also be called line service technicians,fleet service agents or an equipment service employee.
Here’s how airline, SkyWest Airlines describes the position:
Ramp Agents are part of the SkyWest customer service team. Their responsibilities include: marshaling aircraft, loading/unloading and sorting freight and baggage, servicing the aircraft, assisting with pushback and towing, deicing and other duties as assigned.
While airlines go to the public airline terminals, private aircraft go to fixed base operations (FBO’s) like Million Air or Signature Flight Support. Both airlines and FBO’s hire people to work in the Airport Operations Area (AOA). Typical duties are to load and unload baggage, marshal aircraft to parking, service the lav and refuel and operate the tug to move aircraft into and out of hangars and onto the ramp. It is an outdoor job so it can be hot in the summer and very cold in the winter depending on the location of your base.
You can expect to be outside a large part of the time while you are at work. This may be in inclement weather conditions that can be uncomfortable. If you work at Houston’s IAH airport much of the year you will be subjected to intense heat and high humidity while workers at Toronto Pearson face the harsh realities of performing their tasks in the snow and ice during winter months in Canada.
The airlines operate on stringent schedules so ramp agent jobs can be stressful. You must be able to work under pressure and complete your tasks quickly and efficiently. Safety is always a consideration due to the fact that your job will keep you in close contact with all sorts of heavy equipment, including aircraft. Spinning propellers and jet engines can be hazardous to the unattentive.
Ramp agent jobs are physical and you need to be in reasonably good shape due to requirements to lift bags of up to 70 lbs or more. Smaller commercial airliners and private turboprop or jet aircraft have limited baggage areas and ramp agents frequently load and unload baggage in cramped, uncomfortable spaces. Manually lifting baggage is considered the main risk factor for work related injuries and disorders in the baggage screeners and handlers community.
Sound challenging? It is but it can also be very rewarding! Many people have started a long aviation career as a line service tech or “Rampie” as they are affectionately called. Life on the ramp can be fast paced and requires you to be mentally and physically fit and requires your constant attention. If you are looking for a job that is out of doors and physically active and that keeps you up close and personal with airplanes of all sorts then this could be a great job for you!
So how do you go about finding a job on the ramp?
Where to Find Ramp Agent Jobs
Major airlines with union representation are among the best paying jobs but require union fees and participation. Most airlines have a Human resources department that post their job openings and perform the recruiting and interviewing process in conjunction with the departmental hiring manager. Many times a visit to their website will identify their contact information.
On the private side of the industry the larger FBO’s will also have HR personnel but many of the smaller fixed base operators will rely on the Line Service Manager to perform those tasks. You may have to physically drive out to the airport and walk in and ask to speak with the Line Service Manager. Pay and benefits packages may not be the same as the airlines so be sure to get the low down and know that you are comfortable with the remuneration package. Even if its low this might be a great place to build your knowledge, skills and experience so that later you’re able to step up to the better paying league.