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MKE Employment 101: Landing a Mitchell Airport job, Part 2

A "plane-pusher" and tow-bar await flight operations near a gate at General Mitchell International Airport (MKE).
A "plane-pusher" and tow-bar await flight operations near a gate at General Mitchell International Airport (MKE).
Cliff1066™/Flickr.com

Previously, the Introduction to MKE Employment 101 listed job seeking and application tips for landing a job at Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport.

But before seeking or accepting employment there, consider these differences some find hard -- or even impossible -- to get used to:

The Milwaukee ariport is no exception to the rule that airport jobs are staffed around the frequently changing, and even more often disrupted, schedules of commercial airlines. So employees of most companies at Mitchell Airport must prepare to give up normal, regular eight-hours-per-day first, second or third shifts.

Because of differences among the airlines -- size of the operation, types of aircraft, customer base, and more -- jobs and shifts may differ markedly in routine and details from area to area, even for the same type of job.

Also, most airline jobs are "bid for" according to seniority every few months -- whenever flight schedules change.

It might take a couple of years to rate a "weekend," which, at Mitchell Airport, means any two full days off in a row. Usually the "weekend" is two weekdays. Yet newbies might suddenly find themselves with too many days off during slow seasons.

Split shifts are typical for low-seniority airline employees -- or shifts of two to five hours, at odd hours. Still, working for other employees who want extra time off is a way to gain hours (sometimes many hours) and fill-in gaps one's schedule.

Of course, the ups and downs of the commercial airlines operating at MKE affect ground handling, ticket counter, fueling and other jobs directly involved with working flights the most. It is likely that restaurant, shop and parking employees will have fewer adjustments to cope with.

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