Careers in the Travel Industry: Airports & Airlines

Curtis Carlson Nelson has experience in nearly all areas of the travel industry.

When many people think of travel, they often think of airports and airlines. Within these large aspects of the travel industry, there is a wide variety of job opportunities and career paths one can follow.

There are many types of employment opportunities available at airports. Some of these, such as pilot or flight attendant, you will know very well either from watching movies or from travelling yourself. Others may not be so familiar to you, such as airport traffic controller and other behind the scenes roles. However, you can rest assured that no matter what your personality or set of skills, you can find a position that’s right for you among an airline’s employees if you feel your calling is in the travel industry.

Below, expert Curtis Carlson Nelson explains some of these job roles and opportunities found within the travel industry:

curtis carlson nelson travel careers

        Flight attendants are the airline employees to whom the general public has the most exposure when travelling. These people are employed to ensure the comfort and safety of the passengers about an aircraft. They will have some duties related to safety, such as educating passengers on the proper way to use the aircraft’s safety equipment, directing guests to follow the rules of the airplane, chaperoning underage passengers flying alone, and helping passengers get to safety in case of emergency. With regards to ensuring a pleasant voyage for everyone aboard, they provide ticket-holders with libations, get people comfort appurtenances such as pillows and blankets, and mediate issues between passengers. People who intend to go into this profession should feel comfortable working with people under stressful situations and be able to cope with long flights.

        On the ground, customer service employees at the airport are clerks who must also deal with the public. They assist people with their tickets, deal with questions, and make sure that baggage complies with airline restrictions in terms of weight or girth measurements. These people must also be comfortable dealing with the public under stressful situations, as travel often amounts to an intense and uncomfortable whirlwind of activity for passengers involved, which can lead to tension among the people. Throughout his professional career, Curtis Carlson Nelson has noticed that for flight attendants as well as customer service agents, experience in positions which require extensive public contact and strong communicative abilities are usually the most important factors to the hiring airline.

        One class of employee who does not need to deal with passengers for much more than brief stretches is the pilot. Pilots are hired to fly the plane. Other than that, they will usually be charged with informing passengers about the status of the flight and the place of departure and landing as well as placating nervous people in the case of inclement weather or emergencies on board. Pilots require specialized training in their field and so this career path requires more forethought and planning than airport customer service positions for those wishing to serve in this capacity.

        There are several other career paths at airports and airlines for those who are interested. Some require even less contact with the public than pilot, such as air traffic controller. Others are completely behind the scenes, such as people working to move baggage around or airplane mechanics. Flight attendant, customer service agent, and pilot are the three that come to mind most frequently when people typically think about jobs in an airline, but the field is by no means limited to these.

To learn more about the travel industry and career opportunities, check out Curtis Carlson Nelson on Quora.