Airport Service Workers


Exploring this Job

One way to learn more about these careers is to visit an airport and watch these workers as they do their jobs. You might also ask your school counselor or teacher to set up an information interview with a worker in the field. You can also try to get a part-time or summer job at an airport as a food service worker, shop clerk, janitor, information specialist, or other service worker.

The Job

Airport service workers perform a variety of duties that are integral to the proper functioning of an airport. The following paragraphs detail some of the major airport service careers.

Airport parking attendants sell parking tickets, collect payments, and direct cars into the proper parking spaces. Many airports offer transportation from remote parking lots to the terminals. Airport drivers operate trolley cars, trams, buses, vans, and trains and give general assistance to passengers. Some airport drivers operate airfield vehicles such as food trucks, employee buses, fuel trucks, and other equipment.

Skycaps, also known as baggage porters, help customers with luggage at airports. They are either employed by airlines or by ground services companies. Skycaps stand at curbside airline entrances and help travelers load and unload baggage, answer questions about flight schedules, and often check in luggage.

Airport concession workers are employed at gift shops, bookstores, car rental agencies, newsstands, and any other place goods or services are sold. Besides making and completing cash and credit card sales, attendants are responsible for stocking and pricing items, helping customers with their purchases, and answering any questions regarding the merchandise or services. Attendants also make sure displays are clean and orderly.

Airport food concession attendants sell snacks and beverages to travelers at small airport kiosks. Attendants are trained on the proper way to prepare and serve their snacks and make cash and credit card transactions as well.

Airport food service workers are employed in eating establishments at airports. Waiters and waitresses take customers' orders, serve food and beverages, calculate bills, and sometimes collect money. Between serving customers, waiters may clear and clean tables and counters, replenish supplies, and set up table service for future customers. Cooks and chefs are employed in the preparation and cooking of food in restaurants and other eating establishments. Fast food workers take food and drink orders from customers. During quiet periods, they may be responsible for such chores as making coffee, cooking french fries, or cleaning tables. Bartenders mix and dispense alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks in airport restaurants and bars.

Restaurant and food service managers are responsible for the overall operation of airport businesses that serve food. Food service work includes the purchasing of a variety of food, selection of the menu, preparation of the food, and, most importantly, maintenance of health and sanitation levels. It is the responsibility of managers to oversee staffing for each task in addition to performing the business and accounting functions of restaurant operations.

Some airport food service workers are employed by the airlines or private contractors to prepare and cook food that is consumed during flights. They work in airport flight kitchens. Other food service employees in airports include bar backs, buspersons, dishwashers, and kitchen assistants.

Airport janitors or cleaners clean and maintain all areas of the airport, including terminals, washrooms, security areas, shops, restaurants, bars, waiting areas, and offices. In addition to daily cleaning duties, they may perform light repair work when needed and make sure heating and cooling systems are in proper working order. Larger airports employ separate tradesworkers, such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and building engineers, to repair and maintain airport facilities.

Groundsmanagers and groundskeepers oversee the maintenance of land and vegetation at airports and their surrounding facilities.

Airport information specialists assist passengers in airport terminals. They answer general questions and help disabled passengers. Some airport information specialists work as translators, helping foreign travelers in their native language.