Airport baggage handlers load and unload luggage and freight from aircraft between flights.

What does an airport baggage handler do?

This role's main duties would be to:

  • collect, sort and check luggage against flight lists, making sure that items go on to the right aircraft
  • transfer luggage from the check-in areas to the departure areas
  • move luggage to and from aircraft holds using trucks, cargo loaders and loading conveyor systems
  • store cargo (goods) in warehouses ready for distribution
  • load inbound luggage onto conveyors in the arrivals hall
  • help clean and de-ice aircraft
  • help keep the runways clear of debris and snow in winter

As an experienced handler, this role may lead to work as a 'lead ramp hand', lining up aircraft ready for the next flight. This may also involve training staff on new equipment and procedures.

What do I need to do to become an airport baggage handler?

You need to be over 18 to work as a baggage handler. You would have strict security checks before starting a job, and you'll need to pass a medical check.

You would normally need your own transport to get to and from the airport, as public transport may not cover all of your shift times. Some jobs insist on a full UK driving licence.

Although not essential, experience of warehouse work and an LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) or forklift truck licence could be useful when applying for work.

You may be able to start this work through an apprenticeship scheme. You will need to check which schemes are available in your area.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Physical fitness
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You would work inside airport terminal buildings and cargo warehouses, and outdoors in all weathers. You could also sometimes work in small spaces, such as an aircraft hold.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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