Airlines employ a variety of staff to fly and maintain their planes, serve their customers, manage their staff, and ensure that flight services are safe, compliant, and on time. Airline jobs include pilots and flight attendants to ground crews as well as office-based and managerial roles. There are also marketing, advertising, and PR positions available. Flight and ground crew roles require extensive training and licensing.
Most Common Job Titles and Descriptions
Here are the most common airline jobs in the United States:
Airline pilots and copilots fly planes between national and international airports. They typically have a bachelor’s degree and a commercial pilot's license from the FAA.
Average salary for copilots: $20,000 - $50,000
Average salary for pilots: $98,000
Flight attendants help passengers board and disembark, convey and implement safety procedures, serve food and beverages, and ensure that passengers have a safe and comfortable flight.
Average salary: $37,000
Flight engineers make sure that every part of a plane is working properly. They perform pre and post flight checks, and monitor the plane while airborne to check for irregularities. They also control electrical systems, engine power and airflow.
Average salary: $60,000
Customer service agents work in a variety of roles within the airport, ensuring that passengers board their plane safely and on time.
Average salary: $13-14 per hour
Mechanics help maintain and repair aircraft, working on structural, electronic, and mechanical systems to make sure each aircraft is fit to fly. They use a wide range of diagnostic devices and have an in-depth knowledge of aircraft components and systems.
Average salary: $53,000
Senior developers work within airlines to solve complex business problems, develop products, and analyze business requirements. They work with software development teams to produce software products use within the airline.
Average salary: $90,000
Salary Statistics and Growth
Salaries vary from airline to airline, but many jobs are well paid. Airlines also offer their employees additional travel perks, including discounted flights.
Job Field Growth or Decline
The United States is the largest single market for domestic air passengers, and well established existing networks and infrastructure means that it is only likely to grow about 2.2% by 2017. This is slower than for most industries.
Best Metropolitan Areas for Airline Jobs
- Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN
- Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division
- Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO
- San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
- Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
- Memphis, TN-MS-AR
- Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA
- Bellingham, WA
- Edison-New Brunswick, NJ Metropolitan Division
Job Certifications, Training, Education Requirements
While airlines offer a wide range of entry-level jobs in customer service and office based roles, flight and ground crews require extensive education and training. Many roles require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, plus applicable licensing certifications.
Where Can I Go From Here?
Commercial airlines operate across the US and the rest of the world, offering wide ranging opportunities to qualified and experienced staff. There are also numerous opportunities for advancement. For example, commercial pilots generally start off in co-pilot roles.
Top 10 US Employers in This Field
- Southwest Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Delta Airlines
- Virgin America
- United Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- SkyWest Airlines
By Staff Writer, SimplyJobs