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.
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 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.