Ramp Agents


New Member
Every time I am at the airport I wonder what the ramp agent qualifications are? I have noticed that a few of the members are actually ramp agents. I do not want to be one but I think that it would be cool to know that kind of stuff. I know one thing though, you guys work pretty hard!
I would love to get on as a ramper right now in Austin, with Southwest, AA, DL, or anyone. Anyone have any advice on how to get these jobs? My only problem is that I'm in school right now and can't work full time till summer, but I'd be more than willing to work nights and weekends right now if they'd let me. I'm starting to send out applications but I have a feeling I won't get anywhere due to my lack of experience and the fact that I don't really have any inside connections.
Check the website of your favorite carrier. Sometimes these people fall under "Customer Service Agents" and do duel jobs of checking in the airplane and loading baggage (although on different days).
I'm sure either 737_Dude or Zombie would be more than qualified to answer questions for you guys...
I think SWA's going to be your only bet for quite some time. They're not hiring ground operations folks in AUS right now (that I'm aware of). I don't think any of the other majors are going to hire anytime soon.
How I got where I am with AA......

Last Feb I was having a horrible day at work, I almost quit on the spot. My Mom was feeling bad for me so she brought me this ad for a 45 day temporary job at AA. So that next week I went to the job fair at this hotel in downtown Baltimore. It started out with about 15 people in the room, by the time the recruiter was done talking there was only 3 of us left. How about them qualifications?
After the interview we went to another room for a medical and finger printing. About two weeks later I got the call to come in for training. The first day of training the instructor told us that we were filling in spots on the line while they got the TWA mess worked out, but we would probably stay on past 45 days. Training was two weeks, first week was all classroom, second week was hands on. After the first month I was ready to quit, I was stuck cleaning every night on night shift
Not to long after that I got on a half way decent shift, working terminating flights. Iv been on that shift since then with the exception of a month or two.

In Dec I got a really great shift, late night tow crew. I went to couple days of classes and got checked out to ride brakes on the 737 and 757. Its really a fun job, every night I sit up in the cockpit turn everything on, talk on the radios, and play with all the switches.

If you want to get on with an airline, the most important thing is to get with the company at the BEGINNING of there hiring period!!! Seniority is EVERYTHING!! People who were hired two weeks before me have weekends off and good job assignments. People hired two weeks after me have got the shaft. Im right in between.

That's all I can think of for the moment. Ill answer any questions though.
Does anyone know If any airlines (major or regional) would hire a college kid to work full time during the summers?
To be a Ramp Agent- you do not need to have prior experince for most airlines. You just need to be physically fit and pass the drug test and the background checks. Even though most airlines are not hiring ramp agents right now, you may want to inquire about contract ground handling services. For example Delta is handled by a contract company here in SJC.For the last year or so, we have been hiring ramp agents and Ops agents as the turn over ratio is high. Therefore, if you are looking for a job in AUS, i would look for an airline that has a contract service and see if they are hiring. It is an OK job but do not stick with it for more than a year- i have met people who have been working for 20-25 years. I don't know how their body still functions
. It is an OK job but do not stick with it for more than a year- i have met people who have been working for 20-25 years. I don't know how their body still functions

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Amen to that......have any of you guys seen those USAir rampers with 20+ years of seniority....they always look like death warmed over

For Ramp....nobody really hiring that I know of in AUS. I'll keep my ears open though. I haven't really done the ramp thing(hey I live in the NE!)although I'm fully trained for it. Most guys (and girls,really really hot girls!) like the job. I enjoy being around the airplanes and being around my friends down there. I do not enjoy being in the bucket (Zombie knows what I'm talking about!) or being blasted by jet exhaust but hey every job has it up's and down.

Again I'll keep my eyes and ears open and let you know if I hear about anything!
All right! I really appreciate everyone's help who's offered it. I'm also trying to get on with some FBO's, working the line, sweeping the hangars, whatever I can find if no airliners will take me on. I just want to figure out some way to work at the airport.
"or being blasted by jet exhaust but hey every job has it up's and down. "

What? You dont go "jet blast surfing." Thats one of the things that I enjoy doing, jumping behind a 737 while its at idle. Fun stuff

By the time you retire as a ramper you are going to be in bad shape. We have guys with 10 yr old back problems, bad knees, you name it theyve got it. The first week of training I was told to expect to have back pains and hearing loss within a few years.
By the time you retire as a ramper you are going to be in bad shape.

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Either that or dead! Zombie, did they ever tell you about the ATR accident at O'hare? The way I heard it, a ramp supervisor was running around trying to get the flight out on time,he had his ear protecters on and didn't hear the crew start the number 2 engine and tried to take a shortcut by ducking under the wing. Sadly he didn't make it. There was a videotape of the accident running though all the breakrooms in the system,however I could'nt watch it. Between the Eagle and CoEx ATRs, I heard about at least 10 deaths because of them.

The Embrears Jungle Jets aren't all that safe either....I heard about a CoEx ramper who lost a eye from the vortillions. The America West "Ariziona One" 757 is called the "Ramper Stamper" by the HP employees. I heard that things has run over at least 6 rampers. Also one of there mechs got cut in half by the thrust reverser doors (don't ask me how it happened!)

The ramp is a dangerous place but it's fun as hell out there and I would'nt trade my experience out there for anything!
I know all about the ERJs. Ive almost walked into the wing tips a few times. Ive had two close calls with people walking into running engines. The first was a 757 taxing to the gate. It was the wing walkers first day on the job, she started walking right into the engine!!! The sad part was she didnt know why I was yelling at her after it happened, it was realllll close
The second was during a airstart on a 757. We had both engines running at the gate and I was going out to disconnect the airstart hoses. One of the guys on my crew didnt realize the engines were running and started to walk over to help me out. I saw him right before he got in front of the engine and waved him out of the way.
... why didn't he see the strobe lights blinking.. or the lineman ... the hell...

What do they teach these people... geeez !!
Being a ramper at an FBO is pretty fun. Never had to worry much about intakes but did always have to be aware of props on the K/A, PC-12 and based Bonanzas, 172, etc and always had to be aware of the taxiing student pilots and such. While I didn't really make any airline connections I talked to plenty of corporate and frac. pilots and met lots of famous people and actually got to interact with them! If you get the chance to be a line boy at your local FBO...be one!
I was told to expect to have back pains and hearing loss within a few years.

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If thats true that might not be the best thing for wannabe future airline pilots because of the medical exams.

I dont think you can get on with SWA if your going to school. I mean its possible but its going to take a lot of work. I almost got hired by SWA. I went for a provisioning agent position. I finished all the interviews and they were doing my backgound check, when I called them to let them know to withdraw my application. The reason is of the scheduling. The senior people get the shifts that they want and the people on the bottom just have to work whatevers left over. So you cant really schedule it around your classes. As far as qualification go, I dont think it takes too much. I never had any prior airline experience, just a lot of customer service experience. Its a lot of manual labor. So if you can lift and stuff you should be fine. Good luck

Yeah you're probably right, I'd almost certainly have to wait till summer when I could work full time. Also the hearing loss issue could be a problem for someone who's gonna need to pass a lot of 1st class medicals down the road.

Then again I probably damaged my ears listening to music in my car when I was a teenager more than I could on the ramp while wearing hearing protection........
The schedules can be really flexable is you really want it to be. You can usually always find someone who needs to pick up a shift or drop one,you could buddy bid (awesome perk....nothing like having 4+ days off). You just gotta know how to work the system.

The rumor that the senior people get the best shifts is a false. Take for example at SWA at BDL...the evening shift was absoutly the worst in terms of ontime performance,passenger loads,and manning...but it went senior because most of the senior rampers,ops,and customer service agents were people in their early/mid 20s who liked to party at night...ergo working a 5am start was not possible for us.

The only thing is hiring has pretty much slowed for SWA right now,so your most likely to be at the bottom of the seniority list for awhile....and take it from someone who was the last man on the totem pole for 6 mos....it ain't fun. Plus AUS is a really,really senior station....alot of those people at AUS have been there since that station opened in the 70s. Not trying to discourage you,but just want to let you know what you're getting into!

Blee, where were you gonna do Provo at? Provo is such a sweet gig,very little heavy lifting and all the peanuts you can eat!
It was gonna be at SJC. I live in so cali. I was gonna transfer to San Jose state and major in avaiton operations, So i applied with SWA there. But I had my interview at LAX.
I wish i could do it now, just to be around planes. But I know it would have been tough to juggle my school and SWA's work schedule.