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Passenger Service Agent Duties and Responsibilities

While specific duties vary based on employer, there are several core tasks that all passenger service agents perform. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Issue Tickets Passenger service agents issue airline tickets for clients, checking if their requested dates of flight are available and then reserving seats and preparing itineraries accordingly. It's also up to them to handle itinerary rebookings and cancellations.

Assist with Check-In An important responsibility of passenger service agents is assisting with airport check-ins. Before clients embark on a flight, they must go through the ticket counter first, where passenger service agents examine their ticket, passport, and other identifying documents, and confirm their flight details. Afterward, clients receive their printed boarding pass.

Process Luggage Toward the end of check-in, passenger service agents process luggage and ensure that it complies with the airline's restrictions. If luggage exceeds weight limits, service agents charge additional fees. The next step is attaching luggage tags and coordinating with ramp agents to place luggage on the correct flight.

Facilitate Boarding Passenger service agents facilitate passenger boarding onto flights. They use a public address system to announce when boarding may start, and they control entrance by accepting passengers based on seating arrangement and boarding pass verification.

Provide Information Passengers can approach passenger service agents for information about their flight and check-in procedures, to inquire about directions, or to request assistance with concerns such as lost luggage. Passenger service agents also announce changes to flight details and handle complaints.


Passenger Service Agent Skills and Qualifications

Passenger service agents are committed to creating a smooth, pleasant experience for customers. They assess documents quickly, respond to inquiries and complaints, and remain calm under pressure. Employers also look for the following skills:
  • Customer service - of all an airline's staff members, passenger service agents spend the most time talking directly to customers. Ideally, they are mindful of customers' needs while maintaining a courteous, professional attitude in all situations
  • Attention to detail - since passenger service agents inspect boarding passes, passports, and other paperwork, they must be detail-oriented, looking for inconsistencies and double-checking for accuracy
  • Communication skills - passenger service agents have good oral communication skills. They convey information such as seating arrangements and boarding schedules clearly, and they give thorough explanations in response to inquiries
  • Cultural sensitivity - many of the people that passenger service agents interact with in their work come from different countries or have varied cultural backgrounds, so cultural sensitivity is essential
  • Data entry - passenger service agents efficiently input passenger data into computer systems during ticket reservations and check-ins and retrieve these as necessary

Passenger Service Agent Education and Training

Passenger service agents have a high school diploma or GED equivalent at minimum. While they're not required to have a bachelor's degree, it's advantageous for them to have a certificate or diploma related to passenger service, which may take a few months to more than a year to complete, in addition to previous work experience in customer service. They typically undergo on-the-job training for around a month to learn about specific airport facilities and protocols.

Passenger Service Agent Salary and Outlook

Passenger service agents earn a median hourly salary of $10.71, according to PayScale. Those in the top 10 percent earn more than $15 per hour, while the lowest 10 percent make around $8. All in all, the annual pay for this position ranges from $18,000 to $38,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes passenger service agents with customer service representatives, a sector with a job outlook of 5 percent growth through 2026. There will be greater demand for customer support functions in general, but some employers may opt to automate these processes.

Helpful Resources

If you're interested in becoming a passenger service agent, you might want to explore the following resources:

International Air Transport Association - IATA is an international trade association for airlines, with its members accounting for an impressive 82 percent of total air traffic. Passenger service agents might be especially interested in its comprehensive distance-learning course on passenger ground services

The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty - eliciting customer loyalty isn't necessarily about creating a spectacular experience. A must-read for customer service professionals, this book argues that companies should focus on fulfilling their core promises instead

FlightGlobal - this analytics company gathers an extensive amount of aviation data covering more than 900 airlines all over the world, and processes these to yield industry insights. It's an excellent source for news articles and expert analysis

What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint - passenger service agents who understand customers are more likely to excel at their job. This book explains how to figure out what customers love and hate and how to design experiences that will genuinely satisfy them

Airport Technology - those working in the airport industry can bookmark this digital publication, as it regularly publishes news about projects, laws and standards, and innovations. Aside from articles, it features white papers, lists of airport equipment suppliers, and other useful content

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