People who sell airline tickets might work for an airline or a travel agency. They may sell tickets in person at airports or over the phone at customer call centers. They might also work at local travel agencies to sell tickets over the phone, online or in person. Airline ticket agents and travel agents in general must have polished communication and customer service skills.
Understand the stress of working in the travel industry. You might have to deal with unhappy customers who are discouraged by flight times, availability and cost, as well as people unhappy with canceled or delayed flights.
Earn a bachelor's degree in a travel or tourism field, if possible. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, colleges around the country offer this type of degree. If a degree in those fields isn't available near you, consider earning a bachelor's degree in communications, or just a bachelor's degree in general. Not all employers require the degree, but earning a bachelor's degree makes you more attractive to potential employers.
Earn a diploma or certificate by completing a travel agent training program through a vocational school or community college. Certain online programs are available so you can complete the coursework and training on your own time. Program coursework includes learning about travel marketing, geography, sales skills, customer service skills and travel industry forms and regulations.
Gain customer service experience. You may work in a variety of different call centers to gain this experience. Airline industry employers like to see previous experience interacting with customers. This experience improves your communication skills and ability to resolve a variety of customer situations.
Learn how to use a computer if you don't already have knowledge in this area. Airlines and travel agencies typically use computers to reserve and modify airline tickets.
Consider earning certification from the International Air Transport Association or another similar travel association. Certification boosts your credibility in the industry.
Build a resume that lists your education and certifications, as well as your career experience. Highlight your communication, customer service and computer skills. Send your resume to all major airlines and other airlines in your area, as well as to airline companies at your local airport. Send your resume to local travel agencies as well.
Learn as many languages as you can. Speaking another language gives you an advantage over other candidates and is helpful when working for international airlines.
2016 Salary Information for Travel Agents
Travel agents earned a median annual salary of $36,460 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, travel agents earned a 25th percentile salary of $27,030, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,600, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 81,700 people were employed in the U.S. as travel agents.