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 Airline Employment


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The Latest Airline and HR Technology Job Listing 


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Who are Airline Employees?

Related Airline Employment News: Alitalia lays off thousands of employees. They will be offered outsourced jobs. Read more...

ATG's Knowledge Share: Did you know? That there are 23,240 air traffic controllers working to make your flights safe? Now you know!

Airline employees: Any one who works in an airline. They consist of the front line (the ones working at the counter), the ramp staff (the ones loading the baggage to the aircraft, the cleaners, the mechanics). Ramp employees also guide the airplanes to the gates so that the pilots can safely "park" them. They "taxi" the aircraft to the runway. Because the work underneath and below the wings of the aircraft, some airlines call them "below the wings" staff. The aircraft and aviation equipment mechanics, and those that build the aircraft, are also classified by the Department of Labor as airline employees. Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians held more than 150,000 jobs.


Aviation maintenance departments comprise of several different specialists, including airframe mechanics, power plant technicians, instrument repairmen, and avionics technicians. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers held about 102,930 jobs. Of those, about 75,810 worked as airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers. The rest were commercial pilots, who may work as flight instructors or as corporate, charter, test, or agricultural pilots. Flight attendants held about 96,760 jobs. Most of them were with commercial airlines. Flight attendants assist passengers and ensure their safety throughout the flight. There were about 23,240 air traffic controllers. Nearly all of them were employed by the FAA—part of the Federal Government. Air traffic controllers work at airports, Air Route Traffic Control Centers, or Flight Service Stations. These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For more information, see Occupational Statistics

Advantages of being an Airline Employee

Flight and gate airline employees. Picture owned b ww.airlinetravelersguide.com

Being employed in an airline has many advantages. But for some, just like any other career, it also has disadvantages. In my city, airline employment has been the career of choice when our local airline started a mass hiring as a result of its progress. So, in late '70s, thousands of the city's high school graduates became our local airline's employees. Good for them. Most of them enjoyed decades of employment, with the corresponding benefits and perks. The most obvious benefits are the flight benefits (they can travel around the world for little money), which are extended to immediate family members and friends "buddies".  The flight benefits for friends are called "buddy pass".

These employees were trained to become airline ticket agents, airline reservation agents, gate agents (tticket and gate agents' title is usually "Customer Service Agent"), control tower agents, luggage handlers ( part of the ramp customer service), maintenance engineers, clerks, etc.


Airline Employment: a Tough Job!



I have very high regards for airline employees (I was once - and I did that for 13 years with a major airline). During this time, I have experienced conditions that I have never experienced in any workplace. I have seen my co-workers cried, had a stress attack (so many paramedics called, especially during the last year I was there when the merger with my company and another airline was happening). I have worked in a lot of industry and I can say that the airline employees are the most abused of all of them, especially during the days when there are weather problems.

Airline employees have suffered so much also because of the effects of September 11, and the economic ups and downs. A lot of my co-workers have been part of an airline that was merged, or abolished, or that went bankrupt. In the end, I was part of those who volunteered to leave the airline so that the company can operate with their new plans after emergency from bankruptcy and going on with the merger. I do hope that the people still left with the company are enjoying the benefits that the merger usually brings (or so they all say): better employees benefits, better company, better perks.

Various Career Positions in an Airline

There are various positions in an airline. One can work in the following areas:

  1. Management (also called Performance Leaders, Team Leads, etc.)
  2. Supervisors
  3. Pilots
  4. Flight attendants
  5. Trainers
  6. Interpreters (on board and on the ground)
  7. Customer Service Agents
  8. Ticket Agents
  9. Reservation Agents
  10. Luggage Handlers
  11. Aircraft Cleaners
  12. Ramp Workers
  13. Control Tower
  14. Administration
  15. Clerical
  16. Transportation attendants

Benefits and Perks of Working in an Airline

There are great benefits and perks for working in an airline. Please find below the basic and other benefits that they enjoy.

airline employees during training at a hotel. Picture taken by www.airlinetravelersguide.com
  1. Competitive Salary. Airline employees receive competitive salary. What it means it is usually in the same general compensation as the other workers in the same field in a different industry. However, since most airline were part of a Union (Delta Airline Ground - or "below the wings" workers received a slightly higher hourly compensation, as agreed upon by the airline and the employees' union. As with other employers, there is a starting pay, and raises are given usually after the initial probation period, and annually after that. Raises are also affected by the annual performance evaluations. The compensation of pay for each position varies.
  2. Health and Medical Insurance.
  3. 401K
  4. Performance Bonuses
  5. Retirement Plans
  6. Flight Benefits

Great Flight Benefits: The Best Perk for Airline Employees.


Why do people work for the airline in spite of its instability? The reasons are varied. Airline work is very flexible, i.e., you can work any shift in a 24-hour day. The very top reason why people like airline employment is the flight benefit that it brings. Most airlines provide a unlimited flight benefit - even when the employee retires. I could not think of any other industry that provides that. Most provide flying for free - or almost free -  anywhere in the world. Even the smaller airlines that only fly domestic enjoy the reciprocating benefits with larger airlines. For example, I can fly to London not on my employer airline, but, for example with British Airlines. All I have to do is buy what we call ZED fare.

What are ZED Fares?

Zonal Employee Discounts of ZED fares, uses mileage to determine the fares for non-revenue space-available travel versus a percentage of a published fare. This method is less complicated and provides consistency and accuracy in pricing.  ZED fares (interline fares where the fees are based on "zones"). The longer you fly, the higher the fare. But you are only paying the percentage of the full fare ticket. For example, if I flew to Manila from Hongkong non-stop, I could take Philippine Airline or Cathay Pacific Airlines (my airline does not fly non-stop - about 1-1/2 hour flight on this route). To avoid going to Tokyo (a 4 hour flight, then another 4 hour flight from Tokyo to Manila, I can save about 6 hours by flying on a different airline, Cathay Pacific, or whatever the major airline of whatever part of the world you are flying out from). The cost for this flight, for me, is about $45.00. Not bad. If my airline flies this route, I will only be paying the airport taxes. For example, from the United States (Minneapolis, for example), to Manila, Philippines, I will be paying only $75.00 - for taxes and fees. The regular fare for Business Class is usually $6,000.00 round-trip. I compared it to Business Class fare because that is what the employees usually get when they fly the over-the-water flights. The reason for this is: the employees plan their trip and they can choose the right date and time of travel. They grow smarter with every flight that they know not to fly when the flights are full, especially during the busy times like Summer and holidays. Although some employees can get a seat on these times, there is a likelihood of being "bumped" from the flight, even after a seat (or a boarding pass) has already been given. This happened to me only once during the length of my employment with the airline.

Do all airlines use a ZED calculation?


As of March, 2011, not all airlines use the ZED fare calculations. Less than 175 airlines do, but during the last few years, airlines have been changing from percentage calculation (called ID 30- for 30% fare; ID 90 for paying 90% of the fare, etc.), to ZED fare.

Benefits Shared with Members of Family

For Immediate Family Members

  • Parents and other Members of the Family

The greatest benefit of free or almost free flights are shared with family members of the airline employees. Usually, the spouse, domestic partner, and children, has exactly the same benefits as with that of the employee.

For Parents and other Members of the Family

The other members of the employee's family: parents, sisters, cousins can also benefit. The parents enjoy unlimited flights (for some airlines)using their parents benefit (a percentage of the fare).

For Distant Relatives and Friends (also called "Buddy Passes")

The cousins and sisters can enjoy them as well if they are designated "buddies" of the employees. They pay a slightly higher percentage of the fare than the parents.

Send your Children Around the World


The flight benefits are great,  especially if the employee has lots of children. Imagine sending all your children to different parts of the world (when they can travel on their own, of course!). They will be highly educated about the world and cultures compared to their friends.

It is projected that in 2018,  there will be 166,205 transportation attendants (except flight attendants and baggage handlers), a 10.1 percentage increase from year 2008.

After September 11, 2001, a severe job cuts was suffered by those employed in the airline industry. In the present year, several airline employees are permanently "laid off", or reduced due to attrition and voluntary lay-offs. The local and federal governments have set-aside money for unemployment benefits for these employees.  One hard-hit group in the airline industry were the Northwest Airlines and Delta Airlines employees when the two airlines merged. Several of the jobs and office and managerial positions were moved to Atlanta. Several of the pre-merger Northwest airlines employees still have not found any jobs and are relying on unemployment compensation either from the State (for the newly laid-off ones) - or with Federal grants for those who have reached more than one year of being unemployed.

In spite of its instability, long hours, 24 hours operations, weather and mechanical problems, most airline employees stay with their employer until they retire. In spite of all the troubles in the airline industry, you will (I did!) find airline employees whose loyalty to their company is unsurpassed.  I always felt sad for employees who are terminated from airline employment, and I am always hoping that they would find another airline to work for.
I have been away from my airline employment job, and I miss it. I miss the camaraderie at the airport (people seem to bond better and together when they are faced with the same problems and situations. That is what one can observe with airline employees).
Please visit this page often. We will have updates for you, and thank you for visiting "Airline Employees and Airline Employment" page of Airline Travelers Guide.

Considering Airline Employment?


Considering airline employment? Here are some links for your reference. Please feel free to use, and if you have other questions about airline employees, airline employment and similar issues, please feel free to send me a note using the form provided at the end of this page.  Thank you, and happy airline job hunting! Also refer to our Job Listings at the start of this page.

Specific Airlines Job Sites

  1. Alaska Airlines Jobs
  2. American Airlines Careers
  3. Delta Airline Career Site
  4. Endeavor Air Jobs (see Pinnacle below)
  5. Jet Blue Careers
  6. Pinnacle Airlines Jobs
  7. Southwest Careers
  8. United Airlines Jobs
  9. Virgin America Careers

Airline Employment

Do you have any comments or questions about airline employment? Do you have any job open in your company? Please feel free to post the job openings and your comments here for free.

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