Applicants for reservation and transportation ticket agent jobs are likely to encounter considerable competition, because the supply of qualified applicants will exceed the expected number of job openings. Entry requirements for these jobs are minimal, and many people seeking to get into the airline industry or another travel-related business often start out in such positions. The jobs provide excellent travel benefits, and many people view airline and other travel-related jobs as glamorous. Applicants who have previous experience in the travel industry, in sales, or in customer service should have the best chances.
Employment of reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014. Although a growing population will demand additional travel services, employment of these workers will grow more slowly than this demand because of the significant impact of technology on worker productivity. Automated reservations and ticketing, as well as “ticketless” travel, for example, are reducing the need for some workers. Most train stations and airports now have self-service ticket printing machines, called kiosks, which enable passengers to make reservations, purchase tickets, and check-in for train rides and flights themselves. Many passengers also are able to check flight times and fares, make reservations, purchase tickets, and check-in for flights on the Internet. Nevertheless, not all travel-related passenger services can be fully automated, primarily for safety and security reasons. As a result, job openings will continue to become available as the occupation grows and as workers transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force altogether.
Employment of reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks is sensitive to cyclical swings in the economy. During recessions, discretionary passenger travel, and transportation service companies are less likely to hire new workers and may even resort to layoffs.