Airline Baggage Handler

Last Updated:
January 20, 2024

Job Description Overview

An Airline Baggage Handler job description involves working in the transportation industry by loading and unloading baggage on and off airplanes. As an essential part of airport operations, airline baggage handlers are responsible for ensuring that all luggage is safely and accurately transported to its destination. 

A typical day for an airline baggage handler includes sorting and organizing luggage, ensuring that bags are properly tagged and labeled, and loading the luggage onto the correct aircraft. Baggage handlers also play an important role in ensuring that passengers have a positive travel experience, as they are often the last point of contact before passengers board their planes. 

Baggage handlers should have the ability to work well under pressure, as the job requires handling tight deadlines and working in fast-paced environments. They should also be physically fit, capable of lifting heavy bags, and able to work in all types of weather conditions. Overall, those interested in an airline baggage handler job description should be organized, efficient, and have excellent attention to detail.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Load and unload passenger luggage and cargo onto aircrafts.
  • Ensure proper handling and storage of luggage and cargo to prevent damage.
  • Operate baggage carts, tugs, and conveyor systems safely and efficiently.
  • Verify luggage tags and match them with appropriate flight and destination.
  • Communicate with ground support personnel and flight crew about loading and offloading procedures.
  • Maintain a clean and orderly work area to ensure safety for all personnel.
  • Follow safety protocols and guidelines to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Adhere to FAA regulations and airline policies regarding weight limits, hazardous materials, and security procedures.
  • Provide excellent customer service by assisting passengers with their luggage and answering questions.
  • Participate in training and operational meetings to maintain knowledge and skills.

Experience and Education Requirements

To get a job as an Airline Baggage Handler, you'll need a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification, like a GED. Most employers will also require you to have prior experience working in the transportation industry or a similar environment, such as in a warehouse or at a dockyard. As an airline baggage handler, you'll be responsible for loading and unloading luggage from aircraft and transporting it to baggage areas or conveyor belts. You'll need physical strength and stamina to perform this job, as well as good communication skills and the ability to work well as part of a team. A positive attitude and a willingness to learn are also highly valued.

Salary Range

Airline baggage handlers are responsible for loading and unloading luggage, freight, and cargo onto and off of aircraft. According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary for an airline baggage handler in the United States is around $28,000-$32,000 per year. However, wages can vary depending on the location, company, and level of experience. For example, in New York City, the average salary for an airline baggage handler is $41,000 per year, while in Miami, it's around $36,000 per year.

Outside of the US, airline baggage handler salaries also vary. In Canada, the average annual salary for this position is around CAD 32,000. In the UK, the average salary is around £19,000 per year.


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  • Payscale:
  • Indeed:

Career Outlook

An Airline Baggage Handler is an essential part of the transportation industry, and their job is to load and unload luggage and cargo from aircraft. The career outlook for this profession is expected to remain stable over the next 5 years, with a projected employment growth rate of 2% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the demand for this job may vary depending on the airline's capacity for air travel and the overall economic conditions. Baggage handlers must be physically fit, work well under pressure, and adhere to safety regulations. As air travel increases, the role of Baggage Handlers becomes even more critical, and this career can be a stepping stone to other roles in the aviation industry. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is an airline baggage handler?

A: An airline baggage handler loads and unloads luggage onto planes, moves bags between terminals and planes, and helps ensure passengers' belongings are safely transported to their final destination.

Q: What are the qualifications and training required for this job?

A: Generally, a high school diploma or GED is required, and on-the-job training is provided. Physical fitness and the ability to lift heavy bags are important.

Q: What are the working conditions like?

A: Airline baggage handlers work outdoors in all weather conditions, and must operate large machinery such as baggage carts and conveyor belts. They often work irregular hours as airports never close, and may need to work nights, weekends, and holidays.

Q: What are some of the challenges of the job?

A: Meeting tight deadlines and loading planes quickly and accurately can be challenging, especially when working with large groups of passengers or during peak travel times. Baggage handlers must also handle bags with care to avoid damage, and follow strict safety protocols to prevent injuries.

Q: How much do airline baggage handlers get paid?

A: The average hourly wage for an airline baggage handler is between $10 and $15 per hour, though this can vary depending on location and airline. Benefits, such as health insurance or retirement plans, may be available to full-time employees.

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