If you are considering making a career change and becoming a gate agent, you might be interested to learn how much they make. Pay is a very important part of your career decision so we decided to research the salaries of gate agents and ticketing agents in the United States so you can make an informed decision for your future.
How much do gate agents make?
In 2021, gate agents in the United States make an average salary of $35,132 or $16.89/hour. The top 10% of gate agents can expect to average $57,000 annually while the lower 10% can expect to earn around $23,000.
Top Factors for Pay Rate
There are several factors that go into how much money you earn as a gate agent. Here is a closer look at some of the most important factors:
The amount of experience you have as a gate agent is the biggest factor in how much you are paid. Having more experience in a role usually makes you more effective at that job and able to take on more tasks and responsibility. Being a gate agent is no different. Airlines like to have experienced gate agents working for them so they know they can trust you have the skills to successfully assist passengers and perform your job duties.
The airline you work for also makes a huge difference in how much you get paid as a gate agent. Typically, the larger national airlines (Southwest, United, American, etc.) will pay more than the low-cost or regional airlines (Spirit, Frontier, etc.). This is not only true for flight attendants and pilot but gate agents too.
There are several factors that contribute to this, but they are mostly out of your control. It has more to do with the revenue and profitability of the airline than your skills as a gate agent.
The shifts you work can also effect how much you earn. Some airlines pay a premium when you work some of the non-traditional hours (like nights, weekends, and holidays). This shift pay is to give an incentive to employees to volunteer to work some of the shifts that can be harder to fill since many employees want to be off work at those times. If you are willing to work those shifts, you can end up making some nice additional money.
Doing a good job can also help you earn a lot more money as a gate agent. Airlines reward good employees with larger raises, promotions, and bonuses.
If you want to make sure you are earning as much as you can as a gate agent you’ll have to focus on providing a great experience to passengers, having good attendance, an being a team player. This leads to not only making more money in your current job, but also makes it more likely you’ll earn more money by getting promoted.
Top 10% of Earners Vs. Bottom 10% of Earners
As you can see, there is a wide range of salaries for this job and there is also a big difference between the top 10% and bottom 10% of earners. Someone in that top 10% range typically has 5 or more years of experience, works for a major airline, and is very good at their job.
Someone in the bottom 10% of the pay range is typically newer to the role and still developing their skill set. They might also work for a smaller regional airline or a low-cost provider.
Compared to Other Similar roles
While some might read these salary figures and wish they were higher, keep in mind that comparable jobs in other industries tend to pay significantly less. Being a gate agent does not require a college degree or other specific training before you are hired. Airlines will typically provide all the training you need and you’ll actually be getting paid while you attend.
Here are a few jobs that have similar educational requirements, provide on the job training, and are focused on customer service along with their average pay:
- Customer Service Rep: $26,000
- Bank Teller: $28,000
- Telemarketing: $27,000
Not only does being a gate agent pay more than these jobs, it also offers better benefits/perks, more opportunity for advancement, and a more fun and challenging work environment.
Recent Increases to Pay (2021 Update)
Throughout 2020 and 2021 there has been a large shift in how much companies pay employees. This is due in part to a shortage of labor which caused companies to have to compete to find and retain employees. As recently as 2018 it wasn’t uncommon for a new gate agent to begin employment earning as little as $9/hour.
This has changed drastically. These days most airlines start new gate agents in the $13-$15 range since it’s nearly impossible to attract employees while paying any less. This is a huge difference for the employees in these roles since they can now expect to earn significantly more per hour for the same job.
Additional Perks to Consider
In addition to competitive pay, you can also expect to have access to a competitive benefits package as a gate agent since you will be an employee of an airline. Here is a brief list of some of the benefits you might be eligible for:
- Health Insurance
- 401(k)/Pension for retirement
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Travel Perks
- Advancement Opportunities
As you can see, gate agents can earn a competitive salary when compared to many other customer service jobs. As an added bonus, being a gate agent also gives you the ability to get the benefits that airlines offer their employees as well the opportunity for advancement in the aviation industry.
If you like a fast paced work environment that offers the chance to meet and help many people, being a gate agent might be right for you.