Become Ground Crew at an Airport

Working on ground crew at an airport is a really cool gig! There are lots of positions to choose from, but the most common ones are baggage/cargo handlers, ramp agents, maintenance crew, station attendants, and cabin service. If you like working outside and behind the scenes, cargo handling or working the ramps might appeal to you. If you prefer a less physically demanding job and enjoy interacting with passengers, a customer service position, like gate attendant or cabin service, could be the right fit.



  1. Be at least 18 years of age to apply for a ground crew position. Eligibility requirements for ground crew may vary depending on your country, the airline you're applying for, and the position you’re pursuing. However, being at least 18 years of age is a pretty standard requirement no matter what.[1]
    • Some airlines or countries may have a maximum age for some of the most labor-intensive positions. For example, in India, you have to be between the ages of 18 and 27 to be on the ground crew.[2]
  2. Graduate from high school or get a General Education Degree (GED). Most entry-level ground crew jobs don’t require any kind of college experience or formal training.[3] However, you do need to have to high school diploma (or a GED) to apply for these jobs.[4]
    • If you’re 18 years old but you haven’t graduated yet, you probably won’t get hired until you get your diploma.
  3. Pass a drug screening and background check to be hired on. When you apply for your position, the airline will perform a drug screening and take copies of your fingerprints so they can perform a thorough background check.[5] If you can’t pass a drug screening, you aren’t eligible for ground crew.[6]
    • If you don’t pass this background check, you can't get the airport security clearance badge required to work on ground crew.
    • You could be randomly drug tested after you're hired on for a position, but it depends on where you work.

Position Requirements

  1. Be willing to submit to random physical inspections on the job. Most airline employees, including ground crew members, are subjected to random physical searches for unauthorized or prohibited items. You have to be ready and willing to be searched at any time.[7]
    • If your supervisor finds anything on you during a physical inspection, you could be disciplined, fired, and even charged with a criminal offense (depending on what was found).
    • This probably sounds a little scary, but it’s really important for airports and air travel to be safe for everyone.
  2. Be able to lift at least 70 pounds with ease and stand for long periods. Ground crew jobs can be physically demanding, especially if you’re applying to be a baggage/cargo handler, ramp agent, or ground maintenance crew. You need to be able to lift up to 70 pounds repeatedly, as needed, during long shifts.[8]
    • The ground crew moves around a lot and it's a very active job. There won't be a lot of opportunities to sit down.
  3. Have great communication skills if you want a customer service job. Some ground crew positions, like gate agents and station attendants, are responsible for greeting passengers and taking care of a variety of customer service tasks. It’s important that you have great communication skills for these positions and are able to remain calm during tense situations.[9]
    • For example, you may need to respond to passenger questions or assist disabled passengers on or off the plane.
    • If you're fluent in more than one language, it may give you an edge over other applicants for this position.[10]
  4. Expect to work long hours, night shifts, and during holidays. Airports never close and planes fly at all hours of the day and night, so your schedule may be unpredictable. It's not unusual for ground crew to be asked to work through the night, over the weekend, or during the holidays.[11]
    • An unusual schedule doesn't have to be a bad thing, especially if you're a night owl or you love to work. If working odd hours doesn't appeal, ground crew may not be an ideal job for you.
  5. Be able to work outdoors in extreme weather conditions. Outdoor crew members, like cargo handlers and station attendants, may have to work on hot summer days, frigid winter nights, and during downpours. It’s important that you're physically well and strong enough to withstand whatever weather conditions you end up working in.[12]
  6. Look for ground crew positions on airline websites for specific details. Details for specific positions can vary a lot. Most ground crew positions are through airlines, so head to the website of the airline you’re interested in and look for the “Careers” tab. Search for a variety of ground staff jobs, like baggage/cargo handler, station attendant, ramp agent, cabin service, or ground maintenance crew.[13]
    • Then, check that you’re eligible and follow the directions to apply for the job.