Ticket Agents work at airport counters or other designated sales points that airlines might have. In general terms, Ticket Agents greet and help customers and passengers with their flight reservations. They provide information regarding dates, schedules, availability, and prices of flights. Ticket Agents are expected to sell flights and other products the airline may offer, as well as assist passengers with inquiries or other requests, such as flight changes or cancelations.
In airport counters, Ticket Agents also help passengers check-in for flights, check their luggage, and assist them with any special request they may have, such as helping passengers with limited mobility or escorting unaccompanied minors, as well as informing Flight Attendants about these passengers’ conditions. Airport-based Ticket Agents have to be aware of national and international flight security measures and regulations, as well as the policies of the airline regarding luggage weight and carry-on contents. Their job takes a special focus on security issues, whereas Ticket Agents working in other locations outside the airport focus mostly on sales and customer service related matters.
Ticket Agents may also be located at boarding gates in airports and their duties may include processing and helping passengers board the plane. A crucial part of this is comparing a list of checked-in passengers with the ones that have boarded the plane to make sure no one gets left behind, as well as verifying the ticket information against the passengers’ passport information. Moreover, they announce boarding times and any news related to the flight.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Ticket Agents are required to complete.
- Greeting passengers and customers that approach their counter:
- Answering questions regarding dates, prices, and availability of flights;
- helping passengers and customers with inquiries regarding changes or cancelations; and
- promoting special offers.
- Issuing flight tickets:
- Using computer reservations systems to check availability;
- taking note of the passenger’s personal information, including passport number, when traveling internationally;
- accepting payment from passengers and customers;
- confirming the purchase with the passenger; and
- handing the ticket and receipt to the passenger or customer.
- Modifying or canceling a passenger’s flight reservation:
- Using computer reservation systems to check availability for modification;
- charging a modification or cancelation fee to the passenger when airline policies dictate so; and
- confirming modifications or cancelation with passenger or customer.
- Helping passengers check-in for flights:
- Confirming passengers’ personal information;
- confirming that their reservation information matches the flight’s;
- checking their luggage;
- charging overweight luggage fees when necessary;
- helping passengers with special needs, such as low or limited mobility, unaccompanied minors, or passengers traveling with pets; and
- informing Flight Attendants about passengers with special conditions.
- Informing passengers of any changes or delays regarding flights.
- Helping passengers board the plane when stationed at a boarding gate:
- Announcing when the boarding process begins;
- checking passengers’ boarding passes, passports, and luggage before boarding;
- checking every passenger boards the plane;
- assisting passengers with special needs;
- announcing changes or delays related to the flight; and
- calling out for any missing passenger.
- Greeting passengers and customers that approach the counter.
- Providing information regarding dates, prices, and availability of flights.
- Issuing flight tickets and reservations.
- Helping passengers with modifications or cancelations of their existing reservations.
- Helping passengers check-in for flights.
- Helping passengers with special needs.
- Checking luggage.
- Announcing flight delays or changes.
The average Ticket Agent salary in USA is $26,444 per year or $14 per hour. This is the same as the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $19,000 while most experienced workers make up to $37,000. These results are based on 56 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly with passengers in order to explain everything related to their flight and provide them with the necessary assistance;
- being proficient in at least a second language;
- having a friendly and engaging personality and being able to work as part of a team; and
- being sales-oriented and able to negotiate on behalf of clients.
- Outstanding organizational skills:
- Being able to program an entire flight schedule for passengers needing flight connections; and
- multitasking; being able to do several tasks at the same time in a quick and timely manner.
- Analytical and problem-solving skills:
- Being able to work under pressure and react quickly to solve any problem that clients may have.
- Administrative skills:
- Being proficient in computer skills such as basic word processing, spreadsheet and database management, as well as specialized flight tickets retail software; and
- being able to use basic office equipment.
- High levels of initiative, resourcefulness, flexibility, and compromise.
Ticket Agents serve as the motor that provides airlines with their major source of income. Ticket Agents must have customer service and sales related skills to allow them to efficiently perform their daily tasks.
To work in this field, it is necessary to be an American citizen or to have all the legal requirements to be employed in the country. The minimum age to work as a Ticket Agent is 18 years old, although this may vary among different airlines or companies. A high-school diploma is the minimum requirement to become a Ticket Agent, even though most airlines prefer candidates with university or college level education, mostly with a degree in Business, Hospitality, Travel and Tourism, or any other related field. Proficiency with computerized software and experience in a customer-service setting are usually preferred.
Aspiring Ticket Agents can apply and train for airline customer service at The International Air Transport Association (IATA) or The Travel Academy. However, it is mandatory for Ticket Agents to take part in a 2-week training program, usually offered by the hiring company, which provides the applicant with on-the-job training Ticket Agents are also required to know and abide by the safety regulations and policies of each airline and the countries they’re established in. Additionally, courses and workshops are usually offered by the airline in order to constantly train and encourage their employees to improve their skills.
Being in contact with customers and passengers, Ticket Agents must be properly groomed and well-dressed at all times, as well as properly identified. Many airlines and companies require their employees to always greet their passengers with a smile and good disposition. Being able and willing to help people is essential to a Ticket Agent. Being proficient in a second or third language is also a great asset for Ticket Agents. Moreover, since their job requires them to carry luggage and big packages, Ticket Agents must be physically able to lift up to 40 pounds.
Airport counters work on a 24/7 basis, so there are a lot of time schedules available for Ticket Agents. Therefore, Ticket Agents are required to be able to work on different shifts that may include weekends, evenings, public holidays, and overtime. The policies regarding shifts and overtime vary greatly from one airline to the other.
Ticket Agents must be able to work in stressful situations and places with elevated noise levels. There are many factors that may affect flight schedules that airlines can’t control such as weather conditions. These may cause delays and cancelations of flights and it is the job of Ticket Agents to respond and provide passengers with a solution in a polite and courteous manner. The ability to remain calm in stressful situations is key when dealing with difficult passengers.
Cruise ship lines and other transportation companies such as trains or buses have similar positions in their staff. Their main duties are essentially the same as Airline Ticket Agents. However, each method of transportation is governed by their own security and safety regulations and procedures.