Airport baggage handler

Alternative job titles
luggage handler
airline porter
airport operative
ramp agent
ramp hand

Role info

You would load people's luggage on and off planes between flights and move it around the airport.

You'd be responsible for making sure that all the suitcases and cargoes are quickly and carefully delivered for so that people can collect them or they are transferred on to the next flight.

You'd make sure that that nothing is lost or broken and that the passengers and planes are safe and secure.

You would:

  • Collect, sort and check luggage against flight lists, making sure that the right items go on to the right aircraft
  • Transfer luggage from the check-in areas to the departure areas
  • Use trucks, cargo loaders and conveyor belts to move luggage to and from the aircraft
  • Load luggage on to conveyors in the arrivals hall
  • Store freight cargoes in warehouses ready for distribution
  • Move freight and load it on and off the aircraft
  • Clean and de-ice aircraft
  • Keep the runways clear of debris and snow in winter

As an experienced handler, you could work as a 'lead ramp hand', lining up aircraft ready for the next flight. You might also train staff on new equipment and procedures.

You'd need some basic mechanical knowledge to work with conveyors and lifting equipment.

Personal Qualities

  • Honesty and reliability

Working conditions


You are likely to work on a shift system, covering a basic 39-hour week. Shifts could last up to 12 hours and include evenings, weekends and public holidays. Work may be seasonal, depending on the needs of the airport


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

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF Level 4/5. 

You will also need
  • A driving licence
  • To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland
  • To be over 18 years of age

You may need to pass a medical check.

People doing this kind of job in the UK have these types of qualifications

Overview of similar roles

The information below relates to several job roles. These jobs are at the same level, and the tasks you’ll do and the skills and qualifications you’ll need are similar.

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