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Find an Entry-Level Travel Job

All entry-level jobs have one thing in common: You're starting from scratch. So why not choose an industry that offers great potential and an exciting future? One industry that could fulfill these desires might be the travel industry, whether it be the airlines, railroads, cruise ships, or other aspects of tourism.

Find an Entry-Level Travel Job
Becoming a reservations or ticket agent, also known as passenger service agent, might be a good way to get started in the tourism industry.
Becoming a reservations or ticket agent, also known as passenger service agent, might be a good way to get started in the tourism industry. Reservation agents do a variety of tasks and are usually in high demand, especially around the holiday season when most people are traveling somewhere. Ticket agents schedule and confirm reservations by telephone or computer and prepare tickets or contracts at the request of customers. They arrange space availability and offer suggestions on travel arrangements, including routes, time schedules, rates, and modes of accommodation. They also often work as car rental agents. They rent automobiles and talk with customers to determine the type of automobile desired, the location for pick-up and return of the automobile, and the number of days needed the rental will be needed. As car rental agents, they quote costs, and outline rental policies and procedures.

Above average growth is projected through 2008 for tourism jobs despite the use of online ticketing. Airlines, railroads, and cruise ship companies are almost always hiring people for entry-level positions. Ticket and reservations agents are the backbone of transportation companies such as airlines, car rental companies, and cruise companies. Larger companies employ both ticket agents and reservations agents, and usually have a high demand to fill these positions with reliable people.

Because these are entry-level level jobs, the pay typically starts low but can increase as you rise up through the ranks of the company you’re employed with. In Los Angeles, entry-level reservations and ticket agents earn from $22,000 to $30,000 per year, and part-time hourly positions are available at a pay rate of $8.25 to $9.75 per hour, depending on the airline.

To obtain an entry-level position at one of these companies, a high school diploma, GED, or their equivalent is usually required, but the completion of related coursework may enhance one’s employability. Many local community colleges offer classes and training for reservations and ticket agents. Courses that may give you the edge are:
  • Fares and Ticketing, which identifies airline and airport codes, and how to determine airfares and taxes.
  • Internet Travel Research, which provides instruction on navigating and accessing information from key travel industry web sites.
Some of these colleges also provide different levels of instruction on Apollo and Sabre computer systems, the systems most widely used by airlines for processing reservations. The cost per course is roughly $33.

Colleges that provide this instruction in Los Angeles are:

Long Beach City College
1305 East Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, CA 90806
(562) 938-4353

West Los Angeles College
9000 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 287-4200

Los Angeles City College
855 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 953-4000

There are many opportunities to get involved with the travel/tourism industry at the entry-level stage, especially in Los Angeles. There are 42 car rental companies and 76 airlines that operate out of Los Angeles International Airport and five rental companies and four airlines that operate out of Long Beach Airport. The Princess Cruises reservation center in Santa Clarita also employs reservations agents. The Los Angeles World Airports website,, lists more than 50 airlines that fly out of LAX that employ ticket agents.

You can also check out and for jobs in the airline industry, including positions as reservations and ticket agents.
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