The game allows you to choose either a soldier or a medic as your playable character. You can also choose to be a military officer, an engineer, or an aerial fighter. When playing as any of these types of characters, you are in the top position of your screen in first-person view, using the keyboard and the mouse to perform actions. Using the keyboard will give you a greater range of movement, while using the mouse is more precise. The action of Medal of Honor: Airborne takes place mostly in the field, though you will also encounter some vehicle combat.
The player's goal in each level is to kill as many enemy soldiers as possible, as well as to survive until the game comes to an end. The majority of gameplay occurs during the player's travels across various maps, which are typically designed to look like real-world locations. Some levels require you to utilize vehicles, such as tanks and helicopters, to move throughout the environment. For example, one level may include a series of objectives that require you to fly your chopper through an underground tunnel, while another requires you to use an airplane and go through the sky bridge.