If you've ever waited on hold for an hour to get through to an airline to change your flight, you know there's a need for airline reservation agents. Reservation agents help customers from all over the world get where they need to go. Furthermore, you may be able to enjoy working for a large company with a comprehensive benefit package. For some people, being a reservation agent can be the first step in a career that takes off.
Airline reservation agents work in call centers or, in some cases, at home. They use telephones and computers to receive calls from customers looking to book tickets and get help with reservations. Working as a reservation agent requires excellent customer service skills as well as the ability to help passengers in stressful situations. Good listening skills coupled with the ability to think on your feet also help.
The position requires the ability to speak and listen clearly in English and, in some cases, in other languages as well. Most airlines will also require you to pass a screening test that may include drug testing and a criminal background check. If you work from home, you may need to provide your own computer, Internet connection and telephone line. Many airlines prefer to hire people with previous customer service experience as well.
Education and Training
Airline reservation agent positions usually require a high school diploma or a G.E.D. You will also need to complete the company's training program. While the programs vary by company, you can expect to receive at least one month of classroom training and to be tested repeatedly. You will also receive additional on-the-job training.
Benefits and Compensation
As of July 2013, starting representative positions offer incomes between $9.50 and $11 per hour, although you may be able to earn additional pay if you are multi-lingual. Some employers may also give you an automatic raise at the completion of a six-month probationary period. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker in the "Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks" classification earned a mean hourly wage of $16.14 as of May 2012.
If you work for a major airline, you can expect a comprehensive benefit package including access to health, vision and dental insurance. After a waiting period, you may also become eligible for a 401(k) plan. You may also be given access to airline employee travel benefits.
Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.