How do I Become a Ticket Agent?

John Lister

A ticket agent works at an airport as the initial contact passengers have with an airline. The job involves checking in passengers, issuing and sometimes selling tickets, and handling the boarding process. People wanting to enter the profession normally apply to an airline directly, though some airlines also use recruitment agencies.

Ticket agents need flexible work schedules so that they can work whenever major events are held.
Ticket agents need flexible work schedules so that they can work whenever major events are held.

Applicants who want to become a ticket agent positions generally don't need a college degree. Indeed, some airlines will take on staff as young as 18. However, the post does need a good range of skills including verbal communication, mental arithmetic and some knowledge of geography, specifically the location of airports across the country and overseas. While there are few formal job requirements, experience of customer service and sales is a significant advantage in applying for a post.

A ticket agent may work for an airline, checking in passengers and facilitating the boarding process.
A ticket agent may work for an airline, checking in passengers and facilitating the boarding process.

A ticket agent job requires a great deal of flexibility as in busy airports staff may be required throughout the day and night. This means agents must be available to work a variety of shifts, some at unsociable hours. The job can also involve a great deal of stress, particularly given that a ticket agent will act as the face of an airline when passengers are affected by delays or cancellations.

Salaries for people who become a ticket agent can vary quite substantially. However, they are generally quite favorable in comparison to other jobs held high school graduates who do not have college degrees. Benefits in the industry can also be fairly generous. As well as common benefits such as healthcare and retirement funding, some ticket agents receive discounted or even free travel with the airline.

By definition, ticket agent positions exist in most cities with airports. However, competition may be tougher at smaller airports which aren't served by many airlines, or where sister airlines share resources. While it's generally the rule that the bigger the city, the more ticket agent jobs are available, this is distorted slightly by the fact that major airline hubs have the most jobs available.

As an entry level position, there are many opportunities for promotion once you become a ticket agent Depending on the airline, ticket agents may be promoted to supervisory jobs both in the same location and at other airports. Another career path is to move onto selling tickets to corporate buyers. This may be done at a city office rather than an airport. Because of the opportunities for promotion, the sheer number of people trying to get into the industry means there is often a great deal of competition to become a ticket agent.

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Discussion Comments


When you work as a ticket agent, the biggest portion of your job is customer service. Because of this, I don't think it matters whether you work in a small or large airport when it comes to the stress of this job.

Working with the public can be rewarding, and also very challenging, and this is certainly no exception when there are problems with their travel plans.

My daughter worked as a ticket agent at a major airport for five years. She had a couple years of college, but no other airline experience when she got a job there. She has moved up to other positions from there and really enjoys working at the airport.

Working as a ticket agent gave her a good understanding of how the whole process works. Now she doesn't have to deal directly with the public as often, but she understands the frustrations of being a ticket agent.


We have one small airport in my town, and it is hard to get a job there. I know several people who would love to work as a ticket agent - especially when they are offered discount travel.

One of my friends finally got a job working as a ticket agent. Even in a small airport like ours, there is a lot of stress that goes with this job.

There isn't a day that goes by where there aren't problems with flight delays. This often makes for some frustrated customers who aren't afraid to speak their mind.

She is usually the first person who gets the brunt of their frustration and the whole matter is entirely out of her control.

While the perk of discounted travel was nice, she only worked as a ticket agent for a couple of years and decided the early morning hours and stress weren't worth it, so she found a job doing something else.

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