If you have ever considered working for an airline as a gate agent one thing you may have wondered is if they get the same travel perks as flight attendants or pilots. After all, who wouldn’t want to have a job that lets you fly for free. Travel expenses can add up quickly for those that like to see the world, so this is a very popular question when it comes to applying for a job with the airlines.
Do Gate Agents get to fly for free or get other travel perks for working for an airline?
Gate agents can receive free or discounted flights based on the policy of the airline they work for. This can include free flights, reduced fares, and in some cases you can even get these benefits for their friends and family.
Let’s take a closer look at how these discounts work and who is and isn’t eligible.
Airline Specific Policies
As you might guess, each airline has their own policy as to what travel perks employees can get for free or at a discounted rate.
Since there are dozens of airlines and the policies can change on short notice, we’ll focus on some high level policies that many airlines tend to have in place.
Here is a brief overview of the travel perks many airline give their gate agents:
- A limited number of free tickets per year
- Discounts on seats the employee pays for
- Sometimes these free/discounted seats can be transferred to friends and family
Related: Requirements to become a gate agent
When Can You Use These Benefits
Although the airline you work for might offer these travel benefits, you might still be limited on when you can use them. This means that often times when flying for free you will be flying on stand-by. This means that you can use these benefits based on how busy the flight you are trying to take is. In the event of a sold out flight, you might not be able to use your travel benefits. This tends to happen more on nights and weekends.
The good news is that if you aren’t trying to get on a sold out or even oversold flight, you could still be able to take advantage of your employee perk and fly for free.
How do you protect yourself from showing up to the airport ready to go on a trip and find out that you can’t get on the flight?
Make sure that you are not planning on flying on what are the busiest times and days. This includes holiday and weekend flights when everyone else is trying to travel. You are better off planning on being on a flight that departs on a weekday early in the morning or late at night.
Although this might be inconvenient, it’s still better than going all the way to the airport and finding out you can’t get on the flight. Considering the flight will likely be free, it should be well worth making these plans ahead of time.
How Can You Find Out More?
If you are currently applying to be a gate agent and want to know more about how these programs work, you should wait until you begin the interview process and ask what their benefits do and don’t include. Employers want to offer the best benefits package they can in order to attract and retain top talent, so it’s not uncommon to discuss these benefits during the interview process.
You should be completely up front and ask about the ability to fly for free or at a discounted rate for yourself as well as friends and family.
Other Benefits for Gate Agents
In addition to these travel benefits, airlines often provide their gate agents with access to other valuable benefits as part of the job. These can include:
- Health Insurance
- 401(k) plan (sometimes with a match)
- Paid vacation time
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Plus more…
Working for an airline can often have some amazing benefits. Being able to travel at a discounted rate (or even free) is one of them for those lucky enough to do so. Although this benefit is not quite a free pass to travel the world whenever you feel like it, it can still be a great benefit for those that take advantage.