How to Become an Airline Customer Service Agent

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If you like meeting people from all over the world, and you want to work in a fast-paced environment such as an airport, then becoming an airline customer service agent may be an excellent career choice for you!

 

Oh yes, and just to add icing on the cake, airline customer service agents usually get big discounts on flights!

 

So, let’s figure out how you can break into this field! You’ll need to know what employers look for in candidates, and you’ll probably want an idea of what you’ll actually be doing, where you could be working, and what you could earn.

 

All of the information you'll need to get started in this career is provided below!

 

 

Educational Requirements

You aren’t likely to need post-secondary education if you want to become an airline customer service agent. Employers typically only require that you to have a high school diploma, or its equivalent.

 

Because of the international nature of this job however, pursuing post-secondary coursework in certain areas can go a long way towards helping you get hired, as well as helping you provide better customer service to travelers once you’ve been hired. Such areas may include travel and tourism, language studies, communication, and geography.

 

For example, many airlines prefer to hire customer service staff that can speak a second or third language. They also may prefer to hire agents with knowledge in geography, or those who are proficient with computers.

 

With customer service being the number one priority of airline customer service agents, your level of skill in the above-mentioned areas can also be a determining factor in your pay grade. 

 

 

 

 

Airline Customer Service Agent Job Description

As an airline customer service agent (also known as airline ticket agent), you would be responsible for helping customers book flights with the airline that employs you. This would involve informing them of available flights, seating, dates, times, prices and any other special considerations.

 

You would play an instrumental role in disseminating information, assisting customers, and providing a human face to your airline.

 

 

General Job Duties of This Profession

Your duties and responsibilities as an airline customer service agent may vary from one airline to another, although in general, you would be responsible for:

 

• Providing information over the phone, electronically or in person regarding routes, schedules and fares

• Processing passenger flight reservations and issuing tickets

• Guiding passengers towards security gates

• Preparing boarding passes, checking and tagging baggage, and announcing flights 

• Keeping accurate customer records

• Helping customers cancel and re-book their flights

• Communicating with flight crew on the ground and using ground to air radio

• Coordinating with other airport vendors regarding specific flight information (for example, fueling and catering services)

 

 

Typical Work Environment

Work Setting: As a customer service agent for an airline, you would work in an airport, and mainly work at a check-in desk. You may be required to relocate to a different airport, depending on the needs of your employer.

 

Work Schedule: Because airports most often operate 24 hours a day, you would normally work within a shift system. For example, you may work 4 days on and 4 days off, on a rotating schedule of days and nights. Your shift may include workdays that begin as very early, as well as those that end very late. It would also likely include working on weekends and during holidays.  

 

Working Conditions: If you enjoy helping people sort out problems with travel arrangements, and you enjoy meeting people from across the world, you may find great satisfaction in this work. It can become quite stressful however, as on occasion, you will have to deal with irritated, tired, and frustrated travelers. 

 

 

Average Salary Levels

The salary level you could earn as an airline customer service agent is typically based on the following factors:

 

• The size and type of the airline you work for

• Your level of experience and competence

• Any special skills you have, such as a second or third language

• Whether or not you receive shift work premiums

 

In addition to your salary, you could receive other forms of compensation. For example, many airlines offer their customer service agents heavily discounted flights, provided the agent has been an employee of the airline for a specified period of time.  

 

Airline Customer Service Agent Salary U.K.: According to the National Careers Service, starting salaries for airline customer service agents in the U.K. are between £12,000 and £14,000 a year. Salaries for experienced agents are between £15,000 and £20,000 per year.

 

Airline Customer Service Agent Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of Americans working in the Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks occupational group is $34,710 per year.

 

Please Note: The above salary figures are only meant to serve as a guideline 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics of Successful Agents

Now that you have a good idea of what you would be doing in this line of work, you’ll need to determine if your personality traits are compatible with this career. Having the right personality for the job is not only something employers will look for, it is something that will ensure you are happy in your work. Does the following describe you?

 

• You like working in fast-paced environments

• You are able to remain calm and professional in stressful situations

• You enjoy interacting with people from all over the world

• You don’t mind the possibility of working early in the morning or late at night

• You enjoy disseminating information

• You have a customer service oriented attitude

• You enjoy having clear guidelines for your work

• You can empathize with travelers who are tired, rushed and stressed 

 

 

Skills Needed to Be Successful

A career in this field can present a variety of challenges on a day-to-day basis. In addition to the right personality, you will need a certain set of skills in order to effectively deal with these challenges, and carry out the functions of your job. These skills include:

 

• Strong communication and interpersonal skills

• Superior customer service skills

• Able to remain focused when dealing with difficult customers

• The ability to work as part of a team

• May require skills in a second or third language (specific language may vary by region)

 

 

Airline Customer Service Jobs

Our job board below has "Airline Customer Service Agent" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Other Requirements for Becoming an Airline Customer Service Agent

You now have a good idea of what you'll be doing, and hopefully you’ve determined that you have the right personality traits and skills for this career…you're just about ready to start applying for jobs!

 

As you begin looking at job postings, you may notice that there are additional qualities that airlines look for in candidates. Some airlines require that you have some, or all, of the following attributes:

 

• You can speak, to varying degrees, a second or third language

• You have the ability to pass a criminal record check

• You live in close proximity to the airport

• You have previous experience in customer service or sales positions

• You are knowledgeable in geography

• You have basic computer operation skills 

 

 

On-The-Job Training

Once you are hired on with an airline, you will begin your formal job training. This training is typically paid, and can last anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. Your training would likely cover the following topics:

 

• Basic on-the-job procedures

• Knowledge of the airport facilities 

• Security training

• Emergency and evacuation procedures

• Using the public address system

• Observing existing staff

 

 

Who Creates Jobs for Airline Customer Service Agents?

You guessed it; most airline customer service agents are employed by large commercial airlines. You may however, also be able to find work with smaller airlines and chartered flight companies.


 

Career Advancement in This Profession

As you gain experience, and demonstrate your competence, you could advance to supervisory and management positions within airline customer service. For example you could become the customer service manager, cargo manager or reservation manager.

 

Such jobs would not only come with more responsibility, they would also likely come with higher pay. You could also choose advance into other roles within an airline or airport. For example, with additional training, you could become a flight attendant. 

 

 

Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Airline Customer Service Agent, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Airport Manager: Airport managers are responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the airport in which they work.

 

Customer Service Representative: Customer service representatives are responsible for responding to customer questions, complaints, concerns and general feedback relating to their company’s products or services.

 

Flight Attendant: Flight attendants are responsible for acting as ambassadors between the airline they work for and its customers, by ensuring the comfort and safety of passengers during their flight.

 

Retail Sales Associate: Retail sales associates are responsible for assisting customers with the selection and purchase of merchandise. They help customers find the products they want within a store, answer any questions they have about those products, and process customers’ payments.

 

 

References for This Career Guide

To find out more about what an airline customer service agent does, how much they earn, and other details of this career, please consult the following resources:

 

Air Canada website: www.aircanada.com

Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca

National Careers Service website: nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Relevant Scholarships 

Looking for Canadian or American scholarships to help you on your way to becoming an airline customer service agent? We’ve got you covered! Here's how to find the best-suited scholarships:

 

• On academicinvest.com, our scholarship listings are sorted by major

• The “Relevant Fields of Study” section below shows majors that apply to this career

• Visit our All Scholarships by Major page to find scholarships sorted by those majors

 

 

Relevant Fields of Study

The university majors below are applicable to a career as an airline customer service agent, as they can teach you relevant skills and competencies. Click on the majors to discover other careers that are applicable to them!

 


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