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An airline customer service supervisor has an often highly stressful middle management job in the competitive, fast paced travel industry. With the added requirements and safety standards implemented within the air travel industry by Homeland Security since its establishment in 2002, airlines need and look for quality candidates to run gate and ticketing operations for them at individual airport stations.
An airline customer service supervisor oversees the inside gate or ticketing/check-in operations of all assigned flights during a scheduled work shift. In smaller airport stations, the supervisor will oversee certain cross-utilized employees such as baggage handlers. Gate and ticketing needs keep them on call and highly active during delays, cancellations and the rebooking of flights. The supervisor oversees the employment needs of the employees he supervises and answers customer inquiries that require managerial level assistance. Supervisors are ultimately responsible for the on-time performance of each flight arrival deplaning and flight departure boarding.
Job Level within Airline Company
The number of employees an airline customer service supervisor manages depends on the size of both the airline and the airport station as well as how many arrivals and departures are scheduled during a shift. The supervisor acts in supervisory capacity to the customer service agents assigned to them and will subordinately answer to the manager of customer service operations within the airport station (if a large operation) or to the regional director of customer service operations within the airline (if supervising a small airport station).
Typical Work Shift
The supervisor is not released from her shift until all flights assigned to individual shift have successfully been pushed back or been processed as a cancellation. Far from a typical nine-to-five office job, an airline customer service supervisor’s day can often turn into overtime during irregular ground operations. Shifts run over schedule commonly when dealing with operation affecting inclement weather, canceled equipment or creeping delays due to mechanical repairs.
Experience Necessary and Training
Most supervisors have previous experience as a customer service agent, while some have previous computer reservation systems certificate training through a trade school or travel academy. All airlines, however, train extensively any customer service agents they hire on the airline's specific computer reservation system before activating the agent to operational duty. So if a supervisor is hired externally and not promoted from within, he is required to attend and complete the initial customer service agent training at the airline's training station at the company’s expense.
Airlines first look to promote customer service supervisors from within in order to minimize training expense and to have a solid idea of a supervisory candidate’s work ethic, record and ability. A supervisor can move laterally to accept special assignments such as teaching training classes, opening new station operations or qualifying existing agents on new reservation system implementations. They also will be the first pool of employees looked to when seeking a candidate to promote to manager of customer service operations at a station or to take over a regional or headquartered customer service administration post systemwide.
Average Annual Salary
According to Pay Scale online salary tracking, an airline customer service supervisor's annual salary ranges from $29,000 to $44,000 dependent upon the size of the employer airline and the location of the airport station employment is based in. Performance-based annual bonuses add to the salary amount at larger airlines when gate operations meet requested quotas for on-time operations, customer loads and customer service feedback ratings that exceed monthly projections. Profit sharing and stock option programs are added benefits available upon promotion to the new airline customer service supervisor.
Nan Kimberling is a freelance writer and published poet writing professionally since 2007. Her work has appeared in "The Phoenix Nest," eHow, Travels and LIVESTRONG.COM. She specializes in travel industry, outdoor recreation, cooking, sports and science content. Kimberling studied comparative religions at Iowa State University.