Ticket agents, also known as gate agents or customer service agents, sell tickets, book passengers and perform customer service duties for major and regional airlines. These professionals must have the ability to deal with high-stress and fast-changing conditions, and must also have the ability to effectively communicate with customers. Typically, individuals without previous ticket agent experience will start at regional airlines and work their way up to a higher-paying major airline position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ticket agents receive an average salary of $34,760 (as of May 2010). Additionally, ticket agents receive free flight passes for the airlines at which they are employed.
Attend an airline "open house" or hiring event. Airlines hold these events to hire front-line personnel, including gate agents. Come prepared to interview: bring a resume and professional references and prepare a short statement as to why you are the best candidate.
Pass the airline's aptitude test. Before hiring (often at the open house), many airlines require ticket agents to pass a test on aviation knowledge, mathematical skill and customer service procedures.
Pass the airline's second-round interview, if any. Show up prepared to answer detailed questions on the position, including those on airline scheduling, policies and safety procedures.
Pass the airline's ticket agent training program, which is typically a several-week intensive training session on aviation regulations, aircraft safety and airline scheduling software.
Survive the airline's new-hire probationary period. This period, which typically lasts 90 days, allows the airline to evaluate you and decide whether to keep you employed as a ticket agent.
Tips & Warnings
- Airlines perform an extensive background check on all prospective ticket agents. Any criminal history could disqualify you from the position.