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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Airline Sales and Service Agents(6523)

Airline sales and service agents issue tickets, make reservations, trace missing baggage, arrange for cargo shipments and perform other related customer service duties to assist airline passengers. Airline sales and service agents are employed by airline companies. Load planners, who plan the positioning of cargo on aircraft, are also included in this unit group.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read notices on the computer screen, such as special handling requirements for a specific flight or weather information which will affect flight times and shipping conditions. (1)
  • Read log books at the beginning of their shifts to be aware of unusual events that occurred on the previous shift. (1)
  • Read bulletins about customer service issues and changes in customer policies. (2)
  • Read notes, letters and memos from head office regarding problems such as missing luggage. (2)
  • Read fare rules outlining the conditions of a flight ticket and the restrictions that apply to various fares. (2)
  • Read procedures for selling tickets and handling destroyed tickets. (3)
  • Read Ministry of Transport regulations about the shipment of dangerous goods. (3)
  • Refer to an airport handling manual and to tariff and customer service manuals. The airport handling manual presents detailed information about all aspects of cargo handling and aircraft loading for various types of aircraft. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Refer to code lists to determine the meaning of a letter code. (1)
  • Recognize international dangerous goods symbols on baggage, and read signs and labels indicating various classes of goods and hazardous materials. (1)
  • Read load control tags and liability release tags for fragile items. (1)
  • Consult and complete passenger files on the computer. (2)
  • Read flight schedules and fare schedules from computer screens. (2)
  • Read plane tickets, visas, passports and health information documents prior to boarding passengers on international flights. (2)
  • Read a desktop flight guide to locate maps or diagrams of the interior of airplanes and airports. (2)
  • Read theft and baggage irregularity reports. (2)
  • Refer to a tariff grid to calculate rates for shipping articles of various weights to different destinations. (2)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write reminder notes to themselves. (1)
  • Write notes to workers on the next shift, informing them of notable events, such as the late arrival of a plane. (1)
  • Enter information from load control tags into their computers. (1)
  • Write reservation notes, using short-form comments and standard abbreviations. ()
  • Type in flight numbers, baggage information and special information while processing passengers. (1)
  • Write reports about damaged tickets, refunds and emergencies. (2)
  • Fill out lost baggage reports. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Accept cash, cheque and credit card payments. (1)
  • Calculate fares and freight charges. (2)
  • Recalculate ticket prices, including discounts and taxes, when a passenger is changing a partially used ticket. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Calculate cargo loads for several destinations and schedule them to fit available space. They may use several flights for one shipment, or ship by alternate routes to the same destination. (2)
  • May provide ticket fare comparisons to passengers. This involves evaluating different routes to maximize the value of the ticket for the passenger, taking into account variances in fare, time and stopovers offered in different flight options. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Pass baggage across a floor scale and use a tape measure to make sure it is within the weight and size limits. (1)
  • Weigh individual shipments in kilograms and record the weights on the load control tag. When the container is fully loaded, they weigh the container and subtract the weight of the empty cart to obtain the total weight of the cargo. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate arrival and departure times to be given to customers and passengers. They base their estimate on factors such as the length of the flight and any notices they received regarding late departures from another terminal. (1)
  • May estimate the number of containers that will be required to load a shipment or the number of standby passengers who will get on a flight. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • May make boarding announcements, in both official languages. (1)
  • Interact with customers to respond to ticket requests, answer questions, exchange information or discuss flight or shipping options. (1)
  • Exchange information and co-ordinate work with supervisors and coworkers. (2)
  • Pass on information to other staff, assign duties and answer questions. (2)
  • Attend staff meetings to discuss how to improve work processes. (2)
  • Resolve conflicts concerning customer complaints, often with the help of a supervisor. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Resolve scheduling problems for passengers. (1)
  • Deal with upset passengers who have missed their flights. The flights must be rebooked and arrangements made for baggage routing. (2)
  • Encounter problems when passengers change partially used tickets. They must recalculate the fare and taxes and determine the passengers' options. (2)
  • May find that flights have been cancelled. They seek ways to reroute or compensate passengers. (2)
  • May find that some packages are too bulky for shipment. They may try to repackage the items or negotiate other alternatives. (2)
  • May encounter problems in transporting animals. For example, a passenger's dog may be misrouted to the wrong city. They make arrangements for the dog to clear customs, get walked and be boarded overnight until the next available flight. These incidents are complicated because of the need to arrange the appropriate co-ordination at the unanticipated destination. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide which baggage or freight to bump if there is excessive cargo. (1)
  • Decide what to do for passengers whose tickets have been lost or stolen. (2)
  • Decide whether to allow passengers to change their return dates on their tickets without fare penalty. (2)
  • Decide whether to refuse or accept baggage which exceeds allowable dimensions. (2)
  • Decide whether to refuse a ticket to a passenger who is in evident mental or physical distress. (3)
  • Decide which cargo items have the highest priority for a given flight and which ones can wait for the next flight. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Airline sales and service agents prioritize their job tasks and activities based on the needs of customers and in response to the priorities set by their supervisors. They organize their work around flight schedules and must respond to constant interruptions by customers and co-workers. Careful sequencing of tasks is important since there are often many tasks to be carried out in a very short time period before a flight. The extent to which airline sales and service agents are successful in their planning and organizing has a direct impact on the airline being able to keep to its service schedule. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember codes and fares.
  • Remember policies for loading cargo.
  • Remember daily promotions and special prices.
Finding Information
  • Use maps to locate destinations. (1)
  • Find information about airline promotional campaigns from the computer system and from supervisors. (2)
  • Look up regulations and procedures in the appropriate manuals. (2)
  • Refer to flight schedules, routes and fare structures to locate information needed to serve customers. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use other computer applications, such as specialized software to issue tickets. (1)
  • They may communicate with co-workers by e-mail. (2)
  • They find and record information, book flights and process cargo loads. Booking flights requires co-ordinating connecting flights, seat availability and fare structures. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Airline sales and service agents may work independently but often work jointly with partners or helpers. They co-ordinate their work with other agents and baggage handlers. When working at the boarding gate, they may work with ramp agents to get passengers on board the plane. They are part of a team with other airline sales and service agents.

Continuous Learning

Airline sales and service agents continue to learn on the job and through in-service training. They receive training when computer software changes are made or new systems introduced. They watch training videos and attend seminars to stay current with policy changes and to remain familiar with procedures. Some airline sales and service agents are required each year to undergo refresher training on the handling of dangerous goods.

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