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Guest Services, Airline

Guest Services, Airline

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Airline Customer Services Agent, Guest Services Teammate, Ticket Agent, Travel Clerk

Job Description

Airline guest services agents make and confirm reservations for airlines. They may also check baggage and direct passengers to designated gates.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Flexibility: “I love the flexible schedule.  I can essentially build my own schedule as a part time Guest Service Teammate (GST). It leaves me time to pursue my other endeavors the rest of the time.” Hana Hawley, Guest Services Teammate, Virgin America
  • Free Travel: “The free travel is very rewarding.  I am able to fly domestically for no fee.  My parents and my spouse also get the same benefits.  Internationally, I fly for the cost of taxes and fees.”
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

There are several customer service positions (i.e. Ticketing, Boarding, VIP lounge, Baggage services, Guest Planner); however, the main ones are in ticketing and boarding.

Ticketing

  • Handles all issues related to guest tickets and travel.
  • Fixes tickets (wrong date, wrong person, and wrong time).
  • Changes guests' travel itineraries.
  • Books new travel for guests.
  • Coordinates with other airlines when necessary.
  • Checks guests and luggage in on time prior to cut-off to ensure smooth boarding at the gate .
  • Reroutes guests (due to weather, wrong booking, missed connections, missed flights).
  • Accommodates special service guests (traveling with pets, infants, with handicaps, as a law enforcement official, with arms, with prisoners, with support animals).
  • Follows procedure when checking in domestic and international guests.
  • Follows procedure to ensure safety of guests (protecting them from unruly guests, seating minors, etc).
  • Provides guest services to disgruntled guests.

Boarding

  • Prepares all flight paperwork for captain and crew.
  • Prepares boarding area.
  • Secures the plane.
  • Drives the jet bridge to and from the plane.
  • Allows only cleared personnel access to the jet bridge and plane .
  • Communicates with ramps, operations, captain and crew and service desk to ensure on time departure
  • Communicates with flight crew regarding safety matters (armed guests etc.).
  • Responsible for the plane taking off on time.
  • Gate checks appropriate luggage.
  • Knows all specials aboard the plane and board accordingly (support animals, minors, people who need additional services to board the plane safely).
Skills Needed on the Job
  • Customer Service: Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Communication skills
  • Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Computer literacy: Must know how to work with the airline’s software system.
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • Very competitive: due to amount of jobs b/c of the downsizing of staff in the airline industry in addition to the high demand b/c of the travel perks.
  • Low pay but the travel perks can double your salary: Expect to know a lot, be responsible for a lot, for very little pay.
  • The airport never sleeps: Holidays are the busiest and that's when they work the longest hours.  Timeliness is of the utmost importance as guest relations directly affect operations.
What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Loved talking to all different kinds of people.
  • Wanted to explore the world and travel!
Education Needed
  • HS Diploma required
  • Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree recommended if you want to climb the corporate ladder.
Things to do in High School and College
  • Intern at an airline.
  • Work retail or a job that requires customer service so you can start practicing interacting with all types of people in a service capacity.
  • Learn another language: since it is a competitive industry to break into, knowing another language is a plus and will make your resume stick out.
Education Stats
  • 26.2% with HS Diploma
  • 10.6% with Associate’s
  • 22.9% with Bachelor’s
  • 3.5% with Master’s
  • 0.4% with Professional

(% of employees aged 25 to 44 in the occupation whose highest level of educational attainment is)

Typical Roadmap
Airline Customer Service gif
How to land your 1st job
  • Intern and network with people in the industry: The industry is competitive.  It's difficult to get-in.  If you know someone it's very helpful.  Many new hires get positions as a result of knowing someone.
  • Apply Online: If you don’t know anybody, apply online.
    • Job websites: Indeed.com, Monster.com, airline websites.
    • Requirements: Psych evaluation, 10 year background check (through airline and airport), drug test.
  • Interview process
    • Test for communication skills, ability to be good under pressure, outgoing demeanor: If you have ever been on an airplane and travelled during the holidays, you know and have seen the environment in which these guest services agents are in. Emotions are high, people are tired and the guest services agent has to be able to please and appease the customer. They will test you in the interview if you can handle yourself in these types of situations.
    • Key Values: Research the key values of the airline and be able to incorporate them into your interview.
    • Know what sets that airline apart from the other airlines.
    • Know why you want to work for that airline.
    • Be able to describe a difficult customer you’ve dealt with in a previous job and how you handled the situation.
How to stay competitive and climb the ladder
  • Get involved in everything they throw at you (committees, charities, activities).
  • Make friends with everyone.
  • Get trained in all positions available to you.
  • Volunteer ideas to make your position and the station better.
Infographic

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Airline Guest Gladeographix

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Source: Interview, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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