Even though the airlines are in business to transport people from one place to another, they could not function without the help of many people on the ground, including those who take reservations and sell tickets, as well as those who help keep the airplanes operating on schedule.
The passenger service agent acts as a ground host or hostess and is highly visible and helpful to the public. Passenger service agents provide assistance and related customer services at the ticket counter, gate and baggage areas, and concourse of the airline they serve. Duties include servicing customers by performing meet and greets, check-in, aircraft boarding and deplaning, ticketing, baggage service, making boarding, deplaning and public announcements, providing connecting flight information and direction assistance, and handling unruly, upset, or angry passengers.
A wide variety of challenges characterize this job. It is not unusual for the PSA to step in and assist and perform the duties of ticket agent and/or station agent or supervise the ticket office. They answer questions and offer information covering a wide variety of airline and/or airport related topics. In addition to providing information, they help passengers pass through the airport from the ticket counter to boarding. They also tend to ill, handicapped, elderly, injured and small children traveling alone who need special assistance. This may include an electric cart or wheel chair to expedite or ease movement through long concourses.
Since 9/11, a greater role is being placed on security and PSA's often play a vital role in the security of the airport and passengers by conducting security checks at the gate.
The PSA is a highly visible employee, and usually wears uniform. Passenger service agents are present anytime passengers are present, and generally supervise and assist in concourse operations to ensure smooth operation and customer satisfaction. The PSA must be knowledgeable of all airline procedures and policies to instill customer confidence, show genuine concern, and help operations run smooth.
Typical Requirements and/or Experience
It is essential that passenger service agents provide excellent customer service. A thorough knowledge of flight schedules and ground services is necessary. If employed by an international airline, PSA's may need 2nd language skills. Experience as a ticket or reservations agent is helpful. The responsibilities of this position demand a detail-oriented and organized individual with the ability to read, write and speak English. Ability to work shifts including early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. Basic computer skills are helpful.
High school diploma or GED.
Married and unmarried men and women, with or without children are eligible. Persons who are widowed or divorced, also are eligible.
It is the policy of most aviation companies to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Most aviation companies are strongly committed to this policy, and believe in the concept and spirit of the United States law.
Most aviation companies are committed to assuring that:
All recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, and other employment related programs are provided fairly to all persons on an equal opportunity basis without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law;
Employment decisions are based on the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action;
All personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, training, and participation in social and recreational programs are administered without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law, and;
Employees and applicants will not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination because they have exercised any right protected by law.
Most aviation companies believe in and practice equal opportunity and affirmative action. All employees are responsible for supporting the concept of equal opportunity and affirmative action and assisting the company in meeting its objectives.
Most aviation companies maintain Affirmative Action Plans for minorities, women, disabled persons and veterans.
EEOC has jurisdiction of the prohibitions against employment discrimination codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA. The OSC will defer those bases of discrimination under EEOC's jurisdiction to the respective federal agency and its EEO process. The CSRA also prohibits employment discrimination in the federal government based on marital status, political affiliation and conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee, none of which are within EEOC's jurisdiction. Moreover, the law defines ten other prohibited personnel practices in the federal government, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the OSC and the MSPB. See Prohibited Personnel Practices at http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm.
Additional information may also be found on the the EEOC web site located at http://www.eeoc.gov/
Opportunities for Advancement
Qualified, dedicated workers can advance to various managerial positions. The job of a passenger service agent is excellent training for subsequent work in sales, customer service, and flight operations departments.
Outlook for the Future
The aviation industry has gone through periods of tremendous success and innovation, and periods of intense challenges. Today, aviation plays a critical role in our economy and the future of aviation will depend on business and personal travel, aviation fuel costs, and government subsidy and intervention.
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