TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRO: Introduction to Airport Ground Crew
CHAPTER 1: The Aviation Industry
CHAPTER 2: Airline Operations
CHAPTER 3: Aviation Codes
CHAPTER 4: Airline Geography
CHAPTER 5: Time Zones
CHAPTER 6: Ticketing & Airline Documentation
CHAPTER 7: Passports & Visas
CHAPTER 8: Baggage
CHAPTER 9: Ground Staff – Roles & Job Information
CHAPTER 10: Passenger Handling Skills
CHAPTER 11: Listening Skills
CHAPTER 12: Airport Security
CHAPTER 13: Shift Work
CHAPTER 14: Personal Presentation & Uniforms
CHAPTER 15: Career Preparation
Welcome! If you enjoy air travel but want a job that will allow you to keep your feet on the ground, a career as a passenger service agent (PSA) may be for you. The job is also known by other names, including airline customer service agent, check-in agent, boarding agent, or ground handling crew.
These roles are airport based and are a popular career choice as airports and airlines continue to expand to meet the needs of the air travelling public.
People working in these roles enjoy a bustling and interesting working environment, where no two days are the same! Airports are busy places often operating 24/7, and airline and airport staff work in shift patterns to ensure that flights depart and arrive on time, and that passengers are welcomed, looked after, and safely seen on their way.
Passenger Service Agents work for airlines, for flight handling agencies, or for the airport directly. The role involves helping passengers to check-in for flights, either using self-service terminals or through check-in desks. Passengers look to the check-in staff for help in seat assignments, assisting with the needs of children or people with disabilities and anything else that is needed to ensure a smooth transition to the aircraft gate.
Airlines and airports around the world employ hundreds of thousands of people and look for new staff that are calm under pressure, have a friendly and approachable style with people, attention to detail, and a willingness to work the often unsociable hours that airport jobs entail.
You can start your new airline career by completing this online training. Engaging in pre-training shows that you are serious about this new career and ensures that you are well prepared for interviews.
This Ground Crew online course provides background on the airline and airport industries, together with training on the ground crew role. You will also learn aviation geography, airport codes and terminology, and the overall programme will provide you with a leading edge in your application for a position with an airline, airport or handling agency.
There are currently 3000+ airlines flying around the world, carrying passengers and cargo 365 days of the year. Despite a downturn in the global economy, air travel continues to be a large and growing industry.
Due to tough economic times some airlines have reduced their fleet of aircraft, or consolidated their operations to make them more efficient. New ‘no frills’ airlines have popped up in the past decade offering low price tickets to previously expensive places. Scheduled airlines carry more than 2 billion passengers each year and the availability of larger and larger aircraft make it more convenient and affordable for people to travel further to new, exciting destinations.
This chapter provides you with information on the types of airlines that exist, and highlights key features and differences of airline types.
On completion of this chapter you will be able to:
- Identify the key characteristics of types of airlines: charter, scheduled and private/corporate
- Identify the ‘flag carrier’ airline of specific countries
- Identify examples of charter and scheduled airlines.
- Describe principle differences between charter and scheduled airlines
A scheduled airline is one which provides air transport services for passengers and/or freight. These airlines own or lease their aircraft to provide air services, and they sometimes from partnerships with other airlines for mutual benefit.
A scheduled airline may operate domestically (within one country) and international (to other countries).
Scheduled airlines run their services to a schedule, or a published timetable. Timetables are made available in print or online, and include full information of a planned journey form the departure point to final destination. Intending passengers can look up the planned departure time,w hat type of aircraft is planned for that flight, details of meal types available, information on stopovers during the journey, and the time of arrival at the destination.
Scheduled airlines also publish the ticket price for each flight, and in general terms tickets with scheduled airlines are cheaper if you book your trip well in advance, and become more expensive closer to departure.
Scheduled airlines offer a range of additional features to passengers that include: Choice of seating – two or three classes of service: economy, business and/or first class. The class of service purchased will specify the overall size of the aircraft seat, the amount of legroom and the type and style of food service. The more you pay, the better it gets! Airport airline lounges – private lounges offering food, drink, Internet access. Loyalty programmes – passengers who fly often can collect ‘air miles’ or points for each journey undertaken, and these can be traded for gifts or discounts on future travel with that or an affiliated airline. Schedules airlines fall into two main categories: Full service and no frills airlines.
Full service airlines
Scheduled airlines have traditionally been ‘full-service’ airlines – offering passengers not only a flight seat, but a baggage allowance and a range of food and drinks included within the ticket price.
More recently some scheduled airlines have introduced cheaper flight ticket options which exclude baggage and meals, allowing them to compete more easily with charter airlines.
Air New Zealand is a typical full-service scheduled airline, but also offers cheaper flight tickets that exclude all or some of the features that would normally be included with your ticket price. Checkout the extract opposite from the Air New Zealand website and read about their ‘Seats to Suit’ product:
These are also known as ‘low-cost’ or ‘budget’ airlines. These airlines offer lower fares than traditional scheduled airlines, and offer fewer inclusions and comfort.
For example, a no-frills airline may provide a seat on a flight at a low ticket price, and passengers can purchase the ‘extras’, such as baggage allowance, food and drinks.
These airlines also offer priority boarding and pre-arranged seating as extras that have to be paid for if a passenger requests them.
The world is seeing a significant increase in these airlines with more than 100 new no-frills airlines launched in the past few years.
Example: Virgin Australia is a scheduled airline operating from Australia and New Zealand. They offer a range of fares from their ’Saver Fare’ (their no-frills product) through to Premium Economy, which is their high-end fare often known as ‘Business Class’. A high-end fare features higher baggage allowances, more comfortable seating, and improved catering choices.
In the Virgin Australia example opposite the Saver Fare features no baggage allowance, but passengers can pre-purchase an allowance for $12. Note that passengers are encouraged to buy this allowance online rather than at the airport on departure, as this is a time consuming process and helps the airline plan its aircraft ‘loadings’ better. (A loading is the estimated weight of the aircraft, including passengers and luggage.)
Ryanair is one of the world’s most successful no-frills low-cost airlines, based in Ireland. They operate over 260 aircraft on more than 1,100 routes across Europe and North Africa, from 44 airports.
Ryanair is now the largest airline in the world in terms of international passenger numbers, carrying 72 million passengers per annum. Their ability to reduce costs by trimming out the ‘frills’ has revolutionized the industry, whilst provoking much commentary in the airline world.
Read through this extract from Wikipedia describing the Ryanair No-Frills product:
New Ryanair aircraft have been delivered with non-reclining synthetic leather seats, no seat-back pockets, safety cards stuck on the back of the seats, and life jackets stowed overhead rather than under the seat. This allows the airline to save on aircraft costs and enables faster cleaning and safety checks during the short turnaround times.
It was reported in various media that Ryanair wanted to order their aircraft without window shades; however, the new aircraft do have them as it is required by the aviation authority regulations Other proposed measures to reduce frills further have included eliminating two toilets to add six more seats, redesigning the aircraft to allow standing passengers, charging extra for overweight passengers, and asking passengers to carry their checked-in luggage to the plane.
In common with other no-frills airlines, Ryanair is a strictly point-to-point carrier and does not offer connecting flights.
Passengers who purchase an onward flight from their destination, intending to make a connection, are held responsible for making it to the airport on time for each flight.
Ryanair does not compensate passengers who miss their flights because they arrive too late at the airport, nor does it provide replacement tickets free of charge.
If a passenger misses their flight, then it is the passenger’s responsibility to buy a new ticket at their own expense. This rule applies regardless of the passenger’s chosen method of transport to the airport (including another Ryanair flight)
Check out the Ryanair website here.
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