List of airlines to work for (With benefits and skills)

Updated 7 August 2023

If you're interested in a career in aviation, there are multiple options and airlines you can pursue. Whether you want to help passengers, fly aircraft, maintain plane engines or design aircraft blueprints – you can find a role that aligns with your professional goals and skills. Knowing what different airlines do to make themselves attractive as employers and the skills you're likely to require can help you make choices and improve your chances of success. In this article, we provide a list of airlines to work for and describe seven skills that individuals working in the aviation industry commonly use.


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5 airlines to work for

Researching various airlines to work for can help you to decide where you want to work as an aviation specialist. Each airline may provide differing employee benefits, have certain training standards or requirements and have different expectations of its employees. Airlines you can consider investigating to find work in the field include:

1. British Airways

British Airways (BA) is a major airline that benefits from longevity and stability in the aviation industry, with airline customers placing trust in its brand name. It's one of the oldest commercial airlines in the world, having been in operation for over 100 years. Professional roles available include those as cabin crew, ground agents and pilots.

Crew benefits for BA staff include subsidised training, substantial remuneration packages and monthly bonuses. British Airways flies to hundreds of destinations from busy airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick, so many roles involve extensive travel. As a BA employee, you can benefit from extensive holiday time and structured career progression.

Related: How to become an airline pilot (With salary and skills)

2. Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is another airline that benefits from stability in the industry that operates out of a variety of UK airports. Roles available include aviation engineers, travel advisors and operations managers. Virgin Atlantic employees undergo extensive training in areas such as customer service, project management and health and safety.

As a Virgin employee, you can benefit from significant employee discounts across the company's services. Other benefits for employees include healthcare plans, pensions and access to staff lounges. Virgin Atlantic employees can also transfer from the aviation industry to other roles, as the Virgin company has professional branches in rail, boating, media, philanthropy and management. This can offer more chances for career progression and variation over time.

3. Emirates

Emirates is an airline that offers prestige and luxury, having won a variety of awards for excellence in the aviation industry. Emirates staff specialise in offering a unique customer experience. This can involve developing your skills for many years to ensure customers receive a high level of service. The Emirates ethos also includes offering this high level of service within their internal affairs.

Emirates values treating employees with dignity and respect. Individuals can benefit from structured training programmes, free housing at Dubai headquarters and subsidised travel between hundreds of destinations. Roles available include training managers, airport service supervisors and cabin crew. Employees can also benefit from having a superior professional status while working for one of the world's largest airlines.

Related: How much does an airline pilot make? (And how to earn more)

4. Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways, which has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, also offers prestige and luxury to its customers. It is undergoing swift development, having grown passenger numbers rapidly since it started. This airline operates thousands of flights per week with more than 100 aircraft on routes serving Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Potential roles include network operators, ramp agents and training compliance managers. Other roles include cabin crew, sales representatives and cargo operators. Past Etihad employees have praised the company culture, citing supportive managers and good team relationships. The airline offers open days for prospective employees, giving you the chance to speak with representatives from the company and offer your CV. This may be an effective way to enter the aviation industry without any prior experience.

5. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is another airline that may be exciting to work for, offering benefits such as tax-free salaries, layover allowances, annual leave and paid training days. Its headquarters are in Doha, an area that is celebrated for its cultural diversity. This means the airline benefits from an international workforce, with employees coming from all around the world. Requirements to work for Qatar Airways can include a minimum of a secondary education and a good standard of health and fitness. Possible roles include flight operators, mechanical technicians and equipment managers.

Professional aviation skills

When working in the aviation industry, there are various professional skills and proficiencies that can improve your performance. You may gain skills through workplace training, previous educational experience or both. Including relevant skills in your CV can increase your chances of gaining a position and help you develop your career. If you're interested in pursuing work in the aviation industry, you may wish to work on the following skills:


Hospitality is a useful skill for aviation employees, as many roles in the industry involve serving airline passengers and customers. Ensuring passengers are comfortable, relaxed and well cared for is a key responsibility for airline employees, especially cabin crew. Being hospitable, courteous and friendly can ensure passengers feel at ease and get a good impression of the airline. Good hospitality skills also ensure customers feel comfortable approaching you with questions or alerting you to their needs.

Related: 40 cabin crew interview questions (With sample answers)


Self-assurance and confidence are traits that can help you control situations and remain composed when dealing with the challenges that may arise while working in the aviation industry. Self-assurance can help you to ensure passengers adhere to health and safety regulations and airline standards of conduct. Using these skills appropriately can help passengers feel safe when using airline services, allowing you to show leadership and confidence regarding the well-being of airline customers.


Developing your communication skills can help you to work effectively with other people in the aviation industry and the patrons you're there to help. These skills allow you to deliver information clearly and in a timely fashion, ensuring all colleagues and passengers have the information they need. Given that many aviation roles involve dealing with customers, good communication is necessary to enhance your customer service skills. You can listen attentively to customer comments or questions and then deliver accurate and understandable answers.

Related: Cabin crew job description (With duties and skills)

Customer service

Customer service skills are also helpful in the aviation industry as they allow you to greet customers warmly, meet their needs to a high standard and ensure they have an enjoyable experience. Aviation employees can also use these skills to provide their customers with important health and safety information, including onboard safety demonstrations by cabin crew. You can use your customer service skills when providing refreshments and other comforts to your passengers in an attentive and polite way. This helps present a positive image of the airline to passengers.


When working as an aviation specialist, unexpected situations may arise. These can include a change in weather conditions, a delay in the availability of refreshments or an alteration to a flight path. As a member of the cabin crew or ground staff, you may work with different colleagues on each shift. Flexibility can help you to develop relationships with each new crew member. By remaining flexible, you can also ensure your managers and superiors know they can rely on you in challenging circumstances.

Numerical proficiency

Another skill that's helpful for individuals working in aviation is an aptitude for and an understanding of arithmetic. Most roles available with airlines require basic mathematics. This can include tasks like determining the number of passengers on a flight, managing financial transactions or calculating fuel weights for flight routes. By showing your numerical proficiency to potential employers, you may improve your chances of getting a job in aviation.

Related: 9 careers as a pilot (With salary and primary duties)

Physical fitness and stamina

Working as an airline employee can be physically demanding so staying in good physical condition can be helpful for your success. As an aviation employee, you may work long shifts while standing, operate heavy machinery or transport luggage or cargo. Developing your strength and fitness is useful for maintaining both your well-being and your professional success.

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