If you have ever spent time in an airport you’ve probably noticed a vast number of employees working at the gates and ticketing terminals. They seem to be very busy and helping passengers with everything from getting their luggage checked to helping who missed their flight.
A common question we’ve seen from readers in the past is if these employees work for the airline they represent or if they are employed by the airport.
So, do gate agents work for the airline or for the airport?
Gate agents are employed by the specific airline they work for.
Although it may seem like the job they do can be done for any airline at any time, this is not the case. They are specifically hired and trained by the specific airline they work for.
Gate Agents Serve a Key Role
As you can imagine, being a gate agent is not an easy job. They have a large list of responsibilities that prepares passengers to board the aircraft for their flight. They also help with many of the logistical issues that come up in an airport that nobody else might be equipped to handle.
Related: What do gate agents do?
Airlines choose who they hire to be gate agents based on several criteria. One of the most important things they look for is the ability to deal with stressful situations while staying calm and professional. Most people (including myself) would struggle to deal with angry and upset passengers throughout the day. Gate agents are selected and trained based on their ability to handle just that.
Gate agents are put through a training program that includes learning a variety of new skills. Some of the soft skills they work on and improve include conflict resolution, customer service, and de-escalating people. For the job itself, they learn how to use several complex software programs used to book passengers on flights as well as all of the aviation specific and airline specific procesures needed to do their job.
Gate agents have a demanding and busy job that has them helping passengers with a variety of tasks. They really do play a large part in making an airport run and airlines would likely struggle to keep things running in an organized manner without them. They are a key part of the aviation system.