Baggage handler

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Nick is a baggage handler at Liverpool John Lennon airport. He is part of a team that loads and unloads baggage, mail, freight and cargo on and off planes.

What are a baggage handlers responsibilities?

When we are loading, we use buggies to drive out to the plane with all the baggage on trolleys.We then load it using a special conveyor belt which takes the luggage up into the plane's hold. We load the plane in a certain way so that all the weight is spread evenly in the hold. Also, the urgent luggage is loaded last so that it can be unloaded first at the other end. When we unload, we drop off the luggage at the bay and other staff load it onto the carousel for passengers to reclaim. There is also some office work to be done. After I've loaded each plane I fill in a form detailing how many baggages were included and other relevant information.

What hours does a baggage handler work?

How many hours does a baggage handler work? I do a 12-hour shift, four days on and four days off. The two shifts start at 6.00am and 6.00pm.

Where does a airport baggage handler work?

Most of the time is spent working outside, travelling to and from the aircraft. We work in all weathers, even when the aircraft is grounded in icy conditions.

Who does a baggage handler work with?

I work in a team of about four or five, which includes a supervisor. I also work with a dispatcher who checks everything we load or unload.

What special skills or qualities do you need to be a baggage handler?

You need to be fit to do this job. It helps to hold a driving licence so you can drive the vehicles, which makes the job more interesting. You must be able to work quickly and as part of a team, and always be aware of the dangers of working near planes.

Why did you decide to work as a baggage handler?

I started working part time loading the mail during the night shift. I then did some overtime during the days, and was taken on full time.

What training do you need to be a baggage handler?

I've been trained in how to lift heavy items and I've been on a course teaching me how to drive on the air field, which has a written test at the end. I hope to get my fork-lift driving licence next, so I can help load and unload freight.

Does a baggage handler use any tools or equipment?

Buggies and conveyor belts are the main machinery I use.We wear special trousers with knee pads, high visibility vests, ear protectors and wet weather clothing.

What do you like/dislike about your job as a baggage handler?

The shifts are very long and get very tiring, and working nights makes it hard to plan a social life. But it is fun working as part of a team and means that you get four days off at a time. How do you see your future? With more experience I can take on more responsibility and, hopefully, become a team leader.

How to become a Baggage handler

  • GCSEs at college after leaving school
  • Worked as a games tester for an electronics company.
  • GNVQ Levels 1 and 2 in Business Studies.
  • Started work at the airport.

How do you become a Baggage handler tips

  • You have to be prepared to work hard to get noticed.
  • Lifting luggage can be hard work and you must be fit.

Baggage handler related jobs

  • Driver's mate
  • Lift truck operator
  • Removals operative
  • Stores assistant
  • Van driver
  • Warehouse worker/manager

What is the salary of a Baggage handler?

  • How much does a baggage handler earn. Baggage handlers start on about £12,000 and can make upto £14,000 with experience.
  • Team (gang) leaders can earn £15,000 or more.

What do you need to become a Baggage handler?

  • There are no academic requirements needed to work as a baggage handler, although most airports prefer applicants to be 18 years old or over.
  • A driving licence and the ability to lift heavy objects are important
  • All new employees at an airport go through a series of security checks.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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