It’s not uncommon to notice that some of the same staff that help you get checked in for your flight might also be part of the cabin crew once you are aboard your flight. To most passengers, the uniforms that gate agents wear also look similar to the uniforms a flight attendant wears. This leads to a lot of confusion around who can do which job.
A very common question we hear when it comes to flight attendants and gate agents is: Can gate agents also work as flight attendants?
No, gate agents do not have the training, specific skills, and certification to also be a flight attendant.
Let’s take a look at some more specific information on why this is the case.
Gate Agents Have Their Own Important Job!
Being a gate agent is specific and important job for the airline. They take on a lot of responsibility helping passengers with things like ticketing, customer service, getting passengers in wheel chairs on flights, and more. This is not a job that is interchangeable with being a flight attendant.
Flight attendants have typically gone through training specific training to do their jobs, but so have gate agents. Learning to use the systems needed to assist people with their travels as well as get checked in requires a lot of practice. There are also other functions to prepare a flight to get off the ground that are very important that gate agents help with. This isn’t soemthing that any random employee can just jump in and take care of.
Overlap between Fight Attendants and Gate Agents
Although being a flight attendant is a separate job form being a gate agent, in some cases airlines will have flight attendants help out with some of the duties of a gate agent like checking people in and helping get people with additional needs onto the airplane.
This really comes down to cross-training a flight attendant to be able to help out in a pinch. It’s not uncommon for gate agents (like a lot of important jobs) to be short staffed these days. Having a flight attendant or other member of the flight crew be able to jump in and at least help can make the process of boarding a plane a lot quicker and leads to less delayed or missed flights for passengers.
Flight Attendant Certification
It would be very difficult for a gate agent to double as a flight attendant for many reasons. One of these reasons is that flight attendants undergo a lot of training that is specific to their job.
This includes everything from learning to perform safety procedures on flights to operating specific equipment on airplanes. These are skills taught at training centers that often times take several weeks of full time study.
Upon completion of this training, flight attendants must pass a skills test and a background check in order to be certified to work as a flight attendant.
This makes being a flight attendant very much a career in itself and not one anyone can just do in a pinch.
*Related: Requirements to be a flight attendant
Can Gate Agents Become Flight Attendants?
Yes! There is no reason that someone working for an airline can’t eventually become a flight attendant.
One reason for this is that gate agents already work for the airline. Assuming they are performing their job well and are on good terms with the airline, they should actually have an advantage against someone else applying for the same job from outside of the organization.
Another reason gate agents have a great opportunity to become a flight attendant is that one of the most important parts of being a flight attendant is being able to do a good job working with passengers. A gate agent will typically have a lot of experience working with passengers and will have usually developed the skills necessary to provide great service.
Considering passengers often have to work with gate agents when they have a problem (like a missed flight) this give gate agents the experience of working through many problems with frustrated and tired customers.
Finally, gate agents have a great understanding of how the aviation industry and airlines work. They might still have to go through all the training and certification that anyone else new to being a flight attendant will have to go through, but they should have the advantage of knowing how things work within the airline.
Being a gate agent and being a flight attendant are two very different but important roles within the airline. Although in some cases a flight attendant can step in and perform some of the tasks that a gate agent usually performs, that does not mean that their jobs are interchangeable.
They have each been trained for their specific role and are experts in doing that job well for their airline and for the passengers they help.
- How much do gate agents make?
- Is it hard being a gate agent?