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Airline Ticket Agent Job Description, Career as an Airline Ticket Agent, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training High school

Salary Median—$28,420 per year

Employment Outlook Poor

Definition and Nature of the Work

Airline ticket agents sell tickets at airports or downtown ticket offices. They also assign seats for passengers and rebook passengers who miss their flights. They often answer questions about airline schedules, fares, hotels, and taxis.

Agents also handle passengers' luggage. First they weigh it to make sure it falls within airline guidelines and then attach tags that indicate where the bags should be taken off the plane.

At airport gates they announce flight departures and board passengers. It is their job to ensure that flight attendants have the equipment they need.

Education and Training Requirements

Ticket agents generally must be high school graduates. Some college education is preferred. Previous experience dealing with the public is useful.

Most airlines provide some form of training program; in many cases it consists of a week of classroom instruction followed by a week of on-the-job training with an experienced ticket agent. Beginners usually start by tagging the luggage of ticketed passengers. They then gain experience reserving seats on flights, filling out ticket forms, and handling assignments at the gate.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can apply directly, in person or by mail, to the personnel office at any airline. The Air Transport Association of America provides a list of the addresses of major airlines on request. School placement offices, newspaper classified ads, and Internet job sites may provide employment leads.

Airline ticket agents work with customers all day. They sell airplane tickets, check luggage, and rebook passengers who have missed their flights. (© Reuters/Corbis.)

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

With experience ticket agents may become supervisors. Some ticket agents advance into jobs as traffic or sales representatives for the airline. Others become flight attendants.

The employment of airline ticket agents is expected to increase more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014. Despite anticipated growth in the number of airline passengers, automated ticketing and check-in procedures may reduce the demand for ticket agents. The airline industry is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, so agents frequently are laid off during recessions.

Working Conditions

Ticket agents are in constant contact with people and often have to solve their travel problems quickly, which may result in stressful situations. Because they act as representatives of the airlines, they are required to be well groomed, friendly, and patient. Ticket agents work forty-hour weeks, usually in shifts that include nights, weekends, and holidays.

Earnings and Benefits

In 2004 the median salary of airline ticket agents was $28,420 per year.

Where to Go for More Information

Air Transport Association of America
1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Ste. 1100
Washington, DC 20004-1704
(202) 626-4000

Benefits include vacation, sick leave, health insurance, paid holidays, and retirement plans. Some airlines offer reduced air fares for agents and their families.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesTransportation & Logistics