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Airport baggage handler

Alternative titles for this job include Airline baggage handler, cargo handler, ramp agent

Airport baggage handlers load and unload luggage and cargo from aircraft.

Average salary (a year)

£21,000 Starter


£28,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 45 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Airport baggage handler

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge that could help you get into this job. 

Courses include:

  • aviation
  • exploring the aviation industry

Colleges offering these courses are usually located in towns and cities near to major airports.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements for this route but it may help you to get in if you have:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths

More Information


You could apply for a place on an apprenticeship. These include:

  • Aviation Ground Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Aviation Ground Handler Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Aviation Ground Specialist Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship

These can take between 1 and 2 years to complete. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time at a college or training provider.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

There are no specific entry requirements but some employers may prefer you to have some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), particularly in maths and English.

Experience of warehouse work, forklift training or a large good vehicle (LGV) licence could be useful when applying directly for jobs.

More Information

Career tips

Seasonal work may be available, with large increases in the number of travellers during busy holiday periods.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

You may need your own transport to get to and from the airport, as public transport may not cover all of your shift times. Many jobs ask for a full UK driving licence.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a baggage handler, you would:

  • transfer luggage from check-in points to departure areas
  • make sure luggage is scanned and put onto the correct plane
  • move luggage to and from aircraft holds using trucks, cargo trailers and conveyor systems
  • store freight cargo in warehouses
  • load inbound luggage onto carousels in the arrivals hall
  • report baggage that's damaged or suspicious

Working environment

You could work on an aircraft, at an airport or in a warehouse.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could work as a 'lead ramp hand', lining up planes ready for the next flight. You could also train staff on equipment and procedures.

You could move into:

  • supervising and management
  • passenger handling operations
  • airport ground crew services

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

RAF Mover - Full Time Career with Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £21,091 a year Annually
  • Location: Waterwells Drive, Gloucester, Gloucestershire

RAF Mover - Full Time Career with Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £21,091 a year Annually
  • Location: Albrighton, Wolverhampton

Courses In England

Aviation Environment Diploma 2

  • Provider: The Manchester College
  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Manchester

Diploma in Aviation Environment

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: NUNEATON

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