Ramp job with the Airlines


Well-Known Member
I have a buddy that is need of a job. I gave him the idea of working the ramp at Ontario, CA. He could have some fun, get travel benefits, etc. If they don't have positions posted online, what is the best way to get in? Should he just head to the airport and bring a resume? Thanks for the help.

Ramp Romeo

Well-Known Member
Ramp Romeo's guide to becoming a Ramper.

Step one; determine what airlines work out of that airport.
Use Wikipedia and google if you're not sure..

  • Aeroméxico
  • Alaska Airlines
    • Horizon Air
  • Continental Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
    • Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines
  • Great Lakes Airlines
  • United Airlines
    • United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines
    • Ted operated by United Airlines

  • American Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • US Airways
    • US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines
There might be more, but this is a start.

Step two; locate each company's website individually, and check their current openings, (Look for tabs such as "Careers", "About Us", "Work with us", "Join our team", and of course, "Current Openings" etc.)and even if they are not currently hiring, continue with the application process. Many times, if nothing's available now, they'll have you in line for an invitation for an information session. Keep in mind that Skywest and Mesa are their own independent companies. So you'll have to apply for them, as well as their Mainline carrier (Delta, United and US Airways) (That's 5 separate companies, but only three banners, got it?)

Keep in mind there are several names for the same position.

Ramp Agent.
Line Service Technician. (LST's)
Fleet Services Technician.
Customer Service Representative (CSR'S) (Usually that's for gate, but some companies use the term interchangeably)
Baggage Handler
Ground Operations Tech/Rep/personnel
Cross Utilized agent
And there are many more....

Step Three; Wait.

The airline industry the way it is, is not in a hiring boom right now.
Even if they are not actively laying people off, many of them are simply relying on attrition (people leaving the company), and not replacing them; as a cost saving measure.

Also, keep in mind, there are more people applying for the job. Just because we put out an ad doesn't mean we're desperate. If you're not selected, try another carrier. If they ALL refuse you, you should be asking YOURSELF why they didn't hire you.... not asking them (wasting their time).

Step Four; acknowledge that there is only One Ramp Romeo. :nana2:

You'll have better luck getting in the door with a regional, but they'll overwork you, you'll be underpaid, and generally, it'll just be a job, not a career. If you're looking for more long term, Southwest is great, but they hire sparingly and are very selective. If you just like planes, don't forget FBO's and the like. Also Delivery companies such as FexEx, UPS, etc...You just won't have flight bennies.

Speaking of which, if your main concern is the flight benefits, ask plenty of questions. Each company has different agreements, even amongst positions. For example.... (Mesa)

Ramper in PHX gets unlimited US Air, and One free ticket Jetblue and Southwest per month (With advanced request).

Ramp Supervisor, gets the Same, but also free American Airlines.

Paper Pusher in corporate gets free unlimited US Air & free unlimited United, but Southwest and Jetblue now have $25ow/50rt service charge, but now, there's no one per month limit.

Paper Pusher in corporate working for the Pass Bureau gets Free Unlimited US Air, United & Delta. Southwest & JetBlue has the $25/50 Service charge.
(Naturally, there are ZED fares and set service charges for other carriers, but these are the frequent ones)

Ramping is a fantastic job, but it's not for everyone. Pay sucks, and sometimes the hours can be erratic. It can be a challenge to work and go to school many times. Sure, flight benefits are great, but if you get a 5 day schedule, there's not much you can do in 2 days. Flying on or near any major holiday is pretty much impossible. Rain, sleet, snow, and the worst one, HEAT, you still have to work! Out here in PHX, when temps hit 115 ambient air, the real temp down on the ramp can easily be in the 120-125 range (With APU's and belt loaders running, standing in a hot luggage bin, or just good old jetblast) Buy a genuine Camelback, and more importantly, USE IT!!!!!!!!

And as for the job itself, sure, marshaling and pushing back aircraft is awesome. But sometimes you spend all day loading and unloading bags. Sometimes just running bags all day.Some days, simply stocking sodas and pretzels. If the heavens favor you not, you'll be the designated "Lavatory Technician". (Poop patrol). To top it off, in outstations (Such as ONT), many times they'll "Cross-Utilize" their agents, meaning you have the honor of spending all day dealing with people at the gate, explaining why they sold 180 tickets for a plane that holds 130. Or why the two drunk people can't fly. You'll learn to love the words "Lemme speak to your supervisor". And of course dealing with the infamous "YOU lost my Luggage".

So, yeah, that's pretty much it. There's not much really they can help you with at the actual airport. Most likely than not , they'll refer you back to the carrier's website. I can't speak for all airlines, but in Mesa's case, you can walk right into the Human Resources department at their corporate headquarters, and they can't help you without going through the online application process. Long story short, the process helps prevent EOE violations.

And that's pretty much all I have to say about that!

Almost forgot....

Mesa Pride! :rawk:


New Member
When you say pay sucks....just how bad is it? I work line service for 10 an hour, and that can be considered pretty bad, but I do remember reading an ad for baggage handlers at LGA that paid 7.75/hr.


4 out of 5 great lakes prefer Michigan.
As for pay...I make just over 10 an hour here at US Mainline in PHX...but that's with my 1 yr seniority...plus some more cheese for Team leading (I run a particular gate on a given day)

I made something like 6.75 an hour when I worked for Mesa here in PHX (sorry Romeo...I know your pain.....)

It's a fun job that I enjoy, but I only do it part time for the health / travel benefits / love of airplanes. Some days it sucks, sometimes it's cool.

Keep an eye out for "information sessions" that'll clue your friend in that an airline needs peeps.


New Member
You could go to the airline and ask to speak with the station manager, but keep checking online for openings.

I'd opt for working at an FBO because they typically offer better pay and is more relaxed work. Downside is that there are no flight benefits.


Well-Known Member
I was a ramper for Pinnacle a few years ago. I made like $6.88 per hour, but it was an easy job and I had a good time.


Well-Known Member
Try any of the FBOs at the airport or nearby airports. Chances are you will start out with better pay and better benifits. I worked the ramp on the FBO side for 9 years before instructing. In the last couple of years I was making about $14-$15 per hour.


I'm here to help...
I just applied last night to a "Cross-Utilized Agent" aka do it all guy here in ICT (Wichita, KS) for ASA. Any former/current employees have an email address or know if I should just show up at the airport to follow up?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, I could really use the supplemental pay (its a part time position) to help with my extremely poor CFI pay.


New Member
Current ramper here. I got my job through word of mouth and showed up to an interview/open house. pays descent. When we've hired new people they usually just show up at the airport with a resume' in hand. We don't even do applications. I work for a company that contracts out ramp service for the airlines. I would recomend showing up about and hour or two early before a flight comes in or just after it departs is when we're the slowest if you want to talk to a manager.

We service VA, Direct Air and Allegiate. Still working on the CFI :( takes to part time gigs to make it now the way the economy is.

good luck.


Well-Known Member
Like romeo said it can be very rewarding, yet it can be demanding at times. The pay is pretty bad but try and work as much as you can and you wont have time to spend it LOL :bandit: But I work for a pretty good company to boot.




Well-Known Member
i worked the ramp at Express Jet last summer in OKC. I just went to the airport and handed out resume's to all the airlines. They called me to the back had an interview with the station manager and was flying to Houston for training in a week. Job was great minus the crazy hours and going to school at the same time. Also we got really short handed since it was announced the station was closing in Aug. Besides that i really enjoyed the job. Hard work, but it was hard work i didn't mind.