Airport Ramp Agent: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Jan 16, 2020

In this lesson, you'll learn about the hiring qualifications, job duties, and salary for airport ramp technicians. Find out more about the physical requirements and specialized equipment used by airport ramp technicians here.

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Essential Information

Airport ramp agents also known as baggage handlers, baggage clerks, or fleet service agents load and unload luggage and cargo from aircraft and transportation hubs. Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent (such as a GED) and a valid driver's license. Candidates may also have to pass background checks and drug tests and have the ability to lift heavy objects (as much as 70 pounds). Some airlines may prefer candidates with previous experience in baggage handling. They may also offer on-the-job training which can last as little as one week.

Required Education High school diploma or GED
Other Requirements On-the-job training; valid driver's license; background check; drug test; and/or ability to lift heavy objects may be required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 162% for all baggage porters and bellhops
Average Salary (May 2019)** $44,219 for baggage handlers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Job Duties

During the course of their work day, airport ramp agents pick up luggage and cargo from conveyor belts in designated areas. Agents then transfer these loads onto container carts, to be transported from the main hub to the aircraft. At the designated aircraft, airport ramp agents may manually transfer luggage and cargo from the container carts to the aircraft or use a belt conveyor. A belt conveyor is a specialized loading vehicle that uses pulleys and a conveyor belt to raise cargo so that it can be easily dropped into storage spaces overhead.

Airport ramp agents may also use specialized vehicles called pushback tugs to assist the airplane pilot in pushing back from the terminal. Ramp agents may also use hand instruments to direct the pilot. Additionally, agents may use pushback tugs to guide the plane into the terminal after landing. Other duties include operating deicer units, washing airplane windows, and servicing aircraft lavatories.


According to in November 2019, airport ramp agents or airline baggage handlers earned an average wage of $13.62 per hour. Based on this information, airport ramp agents who work 40 hours a week could earn $44,219 a year. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2018, aircraft cargo handling supervisors earned a mean annual wage of $48,610.

Airport ramp agents (or baggage handlers) need a high school diploma or its equivalent and a valid driver's license to qualify for a job in the airline industry. In November 2019, airport ramp agents earned an average wage of $44,219 a year.

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