Trying to break into the cabin crew industry is no easy task, and today competition is fierce for the best jobs. One option open to would-be cabin crew, is to gain some experience working as ground staff.
While you won’t get to fly, these positions can be just as rewarding, fascinating and challenging, as well as getting you closer to your dream job in the sky. When it comes to that all-important cabin crew interview, it will look impressive to your future employers that you already know the industry, that you know how the airport works and functions. So a ground staff position could be a fantastic head start.
So what ground staff positions are available? Well how about becoming a passenger services agent? Passenger service agents, also known as passenger handling agents, are responsible for looking after passengers from when they book in, to when they board an aircraft. They also deal with passenger enquiries and help to resolve problems, which may involve finding alternative travel arrangements.
Passenger service agents work for ground services companies or for airlines. At the check-in desks they take on a range of responsibilities including checking passengers’ ID and tickets, allocating seats, weighing luggage and issuing boarding cards. At the boarding gate service agents check with the aircraft preparation team to confirm when the aircraft is ready, call passengers to board and check their boarding cards. They also have to deal with passengers who are late, or who may have been taken ill.
There may be additional work to help people with specific needs such as the elderly or wheelchair users who may need assistance to get to the aircraft and they may also look after children who are about to travel unaccompanied by an adult.Passenger service agents report to a passenger services supervisor.
They also work closely with service agents, airport staff, security staff, flight dispatchers and airline operating staff such as cabin crew. They use computers in their work, and telephones and radios to communicate with colleagues. They will also use some mechanical equipment, as they usually check in luggage using a conveyor belt with a weighing scale.
The salary for a passenger service agent can range from £15,000 per annum for new recruits, up to around £20,000 per annum for experienced service agents.
There are of course other positions such as airport information assistants and terminal duty officers – so just because you haven’t landed your dream cabin crew job yet, there could be many other rewarding opportunities just around the corner.
Browse our ground staff