Baggage handlers and other baggage personnel form the backbone of the airline industry. Largely unappreciated for their efforts, baggage handlers ensure that millions of pieces of luggage make it safely to their final destination over a years time. As well, baggage handlers often have to contend with special packages, pet carriers, and other unusual baggage that needs to be handled with care. The baggage handler does a noble job without much applause from the consumer or other airline professionals.
However, baggage handlers with some experience can have their pick of a number of airline jobs available throughout the UK and Europe. Baggage handling can lead to facilities management positions and other behind the scenes jobs at the airport. Many baggage handlers choose to continue working in handling because they get regular pay increases from union negotiations and can build up a significant pension. As well, many baggage workers enjoy the hard work that goes into their daily lives.
Younger professionals who want to break into these rugged but rewarding baggage handling jobs need to consider their options before leaping into a new position. The major airlines may be the most recognized employer of baggage handlers but there are smaller airlines that have baggage handling professionals that get paid a similar wage. At regional airports and charter flight companies, baggage handlers often act as customer service representatives, maintenance professionals, and other roles that are normally specialized at major airports. In this way, a small airport offers baggage handlers the opportunity to see the entire industry and gain a perspective on their job.
Major airline handling jobs are available to young professionals, though typically through temporary work or apprenticeships. While the public may think that baggage handling simply requires brute force, they dont understand that every bag needs to be handled with some care and an eye for the hundreds of flights leaving everyday. Indeed, a baggage handler needs to rely on their wits as much as their strength in order to succeed in their field. These skills can only be learned from hands-on experience, as gained through the aforementioned temporary position.
Baggage handling jobs are surprisingly difficult to attain, due to the high standards and importance of the position. However, the two points of entry mentioned above can be great ways of either gaining experience for a better position down the road or getting a foot in the door for a career-long position. In either case, baggage handlers need to think carefully about each career move before leaving their current job.