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Can Felons Work At The Airport?

When you are looking for a job after your release, you might think about working at the airport. There are a lot of opportunities there as your own travels might tell you.

The issue is whether or not a felon can work at the airport.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:

  • Jobs at the Airport
  • Application Process
  • Background Check?
  • Does the Type of Felony Matter?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?

Jobs at the Airport

There are many types of jobs available at the airport. 

This is because the airport is so large and houses a wide variety of positions ranging from manual labor jobs in maintenance, housekeeping, and kitchen work within the terminal. 

There are also positions in stocking planes with food, work on the runway, and in baggage handling.

The TSA hires a large number of persons for screening passengers.

Additionally, many jobs can be found working with computers, public relations, accounting, and in the legal field. Of course, there are jobs working for a specific airline as a pilot or flight attendant. With so many options, you can always find a job to apply for.

Being hired for that opportunity is a different matter for those with a felony record.

Application Process

The first step in the application process to work at the airport is to decide what type of position you are interested in.

Depending on whether you would work for the airport itself, one of the airlines based at the airport, a company that provides airport services, or for the TSA, this would determine your initial approach. 

That is, it would let you know where to look for available positions, whether on the website for an airline, a company that has positions there, or the TSA website. Then, you would make the appropriate search and prepare to apply for an open position.

The process of completing the application would vary according to what company you would work for. Each has its own ways in the application process. Not only is the application different but the questions on the application relating to your criminal history would vary. 

Some may not have a question about criminal convictions, though the majority of these applications would have some question about any criminal activity. 

After all, you are looking at getting a job at the airport which is an area of high security regardless of the nature of the job you are considering.

Background Check?

If you want to work at the airport in any capacity, you must go through a thorough and strict background check. This is because of the need to maintain high standards for the security of the airport. The transportation industry is an area of extreme sensitivity for national security. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will typically be in charge of any background check that is completed. The TSA requires an extensive background check before you can be granted access to restricted areas in airports or other transportation centers.

While it may or may not be necessary to have a security clearance for any job you might be applying for, this background check would address that issue.

These are some of the standards that will be used.

  • Fingerprint verification
  • Felony and misdemeanor criminal searches at the county, state, and federal level
  • Check of Federal Aviation Administration records to verify licenses
  • Air carrier record reviews
  • Search for drug or alcohol-related crimes in the past two years
  • Driving history checks for past motor vehicle violations and license suspensions
  • Social Security Number validation 
  • License or certificate verification to ensure you are qualified to work for the TSA
  • Workers Compensation history to look for a history of workplace accidents, injuries, or settlements
  • Reference checks to verify the information you provide

That’s a lot, but the TSA wants to keep U.S. airports safe.

Some positions, such as a TSA screening job, require verification of the most recent five years of employment, education, and unemployment. If there is a gap, it must be verified.

So, if you have spent time in prison, this could prevent you from being hired.

As if all of that weren’t enough, if you are looking for a job with one of the airlines, you will have to go through any additional background check that may be done there.

Does the Type of Felony Matter?

The type of felony will make a difference. 

The TSA will conduct a threat assessment on you through its background check. A security threat assessment will show:

  • Foreign or domestic criminal convictions
  • A conviction for a serious crime
  • Imprisonment exceeding 365 consecutive days

You may also not be eligible based on security-related offenses at an airport or on an aircraft. 

You may also be disqualified if it is determined that you lack mental capacity or have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility. 

Now we come to the felony convictions that will be challenging for you. You will be disqualified if there is a conviction or a guilty plea or you have been found not guilty by reason of insanity for any of the following felonies:

  • Espionage
  • Sedition
  • Treason
  • Federal crime of terrorism
  • Crime involving a transportation security incident
  • Improper transportation of a hazardous material
  • Unlawful possession, use, or sale of explosives
  • Murder
  • Maliciously conveying false information regarding explosives in a public place or government facility
  • Racketeering

Conviction of any of the following felonies or pleading guilty within the past seven years will also eliminate you from consideration:

  • Unlawful possession, use, or sale of firearms
  • Extortion or fraud
  • Bribery
  • Smuggling
  • Immigration violation
  • Distribution or possession of a controlled substance
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Rape or aggravated sexual abuse
  • Assault with intent to kill
  • Robbery
  • Fraudulent entry into a seaport
  • Racketeering
  • Voluntary manslaughter

You will also be disqualified if you are under indictment for any of the offenses listed above.

We realize how long these lists are, but the TSA wants to be certain in making such important decisions that could affect national security.

An Opportunity for Felons?

We know that is a lot to go through for an opportunity to work at the airport in some capacity.

If you are serious about getting a job there, it may be worth the effort it takes. You don’t have to sit idly by and hope everything works out.

There are steps you can take that will improve your chances at finding that airport job.

First, you could background check on yourself. That would be a great action to take to know what would be discovered in a background check that would be done as part of your application process.

Be prepared and give yourself a shot at it.

Then, you could have your record expunged if you are eligible for that. For questions about this, contact an attorney. That will allow you to honestly state on an application that you do not have a felony conviction.

If you are serious about wanting to get a job at the airport and have a felony on your record, take the time to show yourself in the most favorable light. Then you can put the past behind you and start over.

You don’t have to continue to define yourself by the mistakes you made in the past. You can move forward and define yourself by how you respond to your mistakes.

Give yourself an opportunity to live an honest lifestyle and work at the airport if that is your goal.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to work at the airport with a felony? What was that like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.


  • Can you work at Bradley airport with a felony

  • I want to no if I can get a job at your airport I have 5 felony drug charges on my record from 2010 then I was revoked in 2012 on these charge I have completely served out my sentence since then at home I have no desire to live that life ever again I just need a fresh start and someone to give me a chance to prove myself thank you

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This website was created by a few folks who have personally watched their loved ones struggle to get a job due to having a felony.

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