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What Do You Expect Of A Good Gate Agent?  
User currently offlineDLAgent From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 51 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5227 times:

I'm for the most part new to this board, and am fascinated about the topics and responses to those topics.
About me, I've been with Delta for almost 16 years. Been through the good times, & the not so good times. (Believe me the Good Times are better)
As a senior gate agent at my station, I am always wondering what goes through a customers mind when the approach me or one of my colleagues. While I as an agent would always like to say yes to everyone, the company does place limitations upon my capabilities.
Do tell me what you expect, I plan on taking it with me to a quality meeting we will be having soon.

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineNewark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 27
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5212 times:

Pretty much what you expect of us, the passengers. To be treated respectfully and fairly. I can't tell you how many times I've talked to a gate agent (and this doesn't apply only to the airline industry), and the employee has been just plain rude or doesn't care about the job at all.


Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
User currently offlineDL4EVR From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 641 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5208 times:

Whatver answer I get, I usually like some eye contact and a smile. Last time I checked no airline put limitations on that. My most recent dealing with a gate agent was when I had to find out if an upgrade had cleared. Without even looking at me she just said "look at the board and you'll know". Luckily a few seconds later a very cheery flight attendant walked by (with a smile) and said "oh come on...give the kid an upgrade!". Agent still sat there, practically lifeless...

Edit: 99% of DL gate agents I've come in contact with have been very friendly and accomodating. This was just the most recent so its the most fresh in my mind...

[Edited 2006-05-17 04:14:39]

We Love To Fly And It Shows.
User currently offlinePSA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 976 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5175 times:

I wish they would do a better job of controlling the crowd during
the boarding process. Nothing is more annoying than having a
group of people blocking the access to the boarding area.

Something to the effect of:

"For all of those passengers waiting for your section to be called,
we kindly ask that you keep the passage way cleared so that those
whose boarding sections we have called can pass through.

Also, on international bound flights, maybe making the boarding
announcements first in the "destination" language, then in English.
It seems that when the announcements are made everyone just
seems to jump up and head for the gate. I think the language
barrier is partly to blame for this; the non-English speaking passengers
have no idea what is going on.

fly high, pay low...Germanwings!
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5161 times:

Ok, first of all, let me say that a bad agent (clearly you aren't one) can ruin a person's impressions about an airline. There's one DL supervisor at CVG who is pretty much the entire reason I will never fly DL again if I can avoid it (he, among other things, called me a liar to my face ["My airline doesn't lose luggage; you must be lying, I don't beleive you!"]. I didn't, and still don't appreciate that).

On the other hand, a good agent is awesome and will do much to shape the one's opnion of an airline, for example, all but one of the CO agents I've encountered, and one particular UA agent at ORD.

So, big things - for me at least,

1) Treat me as I treat you, like a human and with courtesy. "Please", "Thank You", "Sir", "Ma'am", "I'm sorry"/"I appologize..." go a long way.

2) Be honest. If you don't know the answer, tell me. Don't avoid answering the question and certainly don't make one up. If we're going to be delayed, tell me how long you really think it will be.

3) Be patient. 'nuff said.

4) Explain. Especially if you're giving me bad news. Don't give a non-answer like "Because that's the way it is".

5) Don't blow me off; if you can help solve my problem and aren't assisting someone else, please do. I really don't enjoy having to walk from the gate to the customer service counter and back to the gate (and then back to the customer service counter) if I don't have to.

6) Acknowledge me. If I approach the podium and you're busy closing out a flight or whatever, say something like "I'll be with you in just a moment, sir" so I know you've seen me. There's nothing like standing in front of a podium for 5 minutes wondering if you're intentionally being ignored.

7) Feel free to give me information without me asking. When I was checking in for my flight to EWR yesterday the CO agent at checkin told me "just so you know, Newark is currently experiencing weather delays; looks like it will be about 2 hours...". This was great, I knew that I had plenty of time to stroll the airport, get some food, whatever.

8) Kick people who try boarding before they're suposed to to the back of the line. It annoys me when pax don't follow directions; it really annoys me when the agents let them board. If it's to be a free-for-all, announce it as a free-for-all.

So, wow, that was a lot longer than I thought it would be...hopefully it makes sense, if any clarification on anything would help, I'd be glad to provide more info.

Lincoln  Smile

CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineKevin From Canada, joined Dec 2000, 1211 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5160 times:

Good Day Sir,

Your request for a complimentary upgrade has been approved and here is your new boarding pass. You are now in the seat 5F

User currently offlinePetmbro From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 260 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5141 times:

Its amazing how different each gate agent is from airport to airport. I really made notice of it on my last trip. Before boarding the plane I asked if my seat could be changed to the aisle. The lady behind the desk snapped a simple "no" and not another word. While boarding the plane the lady again was kind of snappy, especially at the passengers who didn't have their tickets already for her to scan. For my connecting flight in IAH, I again asked for an aisle seat closer to the front of the plane. The guy behind the desk politely said "sure just let me have a moment to see what we have available...yes here we go there's a seat in the first row of economy on the aisle, would you like to sit there?" After agreeing, he asked if there was anything else he could do for me and wished me a nice trip. Now if gate agents would just go that extra step in helping the passenger it would really make a world of difference. If that lady in JFK (the first flight) had simply said "I'm sorry sir but there are no available seats. Is there anything else I can do for you?" instead of the "no" it would've made my flight that much more enjoyable.

"don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!" - Judge Judy
User currently offlineCO7e7 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 2864 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5134 times:

here's what i would expect:
- Friendly
- accomodating
- understanding
- professional
- patient

User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 5633 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5111 times:

1) Offer me a free upgrade.

2) Take me seriously when I say, "I will never fly on this airline again!"

3) Take me even more seriously when I say, "I am reporting this to the CEO, as he is my friend!"

4) Trust me when I say, "When I am finished, I will have your job, and own your airline!"

5) Put me in a 5 star hotel paid when weather is the cause of the delay or cancellation.

6) Know that when they lose my bag that I have a $10,000,000.00 sales presentation in it.

7) Understand and compensate me during a cancellation. "I have a $20,000,000.00 deal, and if I am not there, I am going to lose it!"

8) Waive the change fee, because the stupid reservations agent screwed up!

9) Waive the excess baggage charge, because the reservations agent gave me the wrong information about checking the dishwasher!

10) Offer me 2 free tickets, because the reservations agent screwed up about my changefee and excess baggage fee.

11) Give me free food vouchers, because the reservations agent is so bad!

12) Give me a window seat, as the reservations agent told me I had one! And I don't care if the plane is oversold, and checked in full! I will have your job!

13) Hold the plane for me. It will only take me 2 minutes to get to the gate, and I have 10 minutes till departure. Also, the CEO is my best friend. For that, I need assistance to the gate, and a courtesy upgrade.

14) Your airline never told me to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure. I still have plenty of time, so give me my courtesy upgrade, and check my excess bag with no charge, and assist me to my gate! Your going to make me miss my flight! I will have your job, and own this airline if you don't get me on this plane! I have a $20,000,000.00 sales presentation, and if I miss that, I will sue you personally. What? My bags won't make it? I have a $10,000,000.00 sales presentation materials in there, and I need it for my $20,000,000.00 presentation! That dishwasher is also going to destroy me if I don't make this plane! I KNOW THE CEO!

Sorry, I am having these memories going through the mind!

I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineVega From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5093 times:

Simply treat me as the "customer", not the other way around. As I approach your station, look at me as the most important person in your world - who without, your employer would be no more. Now if I could only get US Airways to follow that advice, I'd be a very happy camper.

User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5056 times:

Quoting Vega (Reply 9):
look at me

Quoting DL4EVR (Reply 2):
I usually like some eye contact

I think this is very simple but important, Air travel has become a mass activity

Having eye contact (& a smile) for just a second makes a big difference

try to avoid the robotic empty eyes smile

User currently offlineTWAtwaTWA From United States of America, joined May 2006, 141 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5052 times:

I just posted the best experience i have ever had with a gate agent...

How AA Saved My Honeymoon (by TWAtwaTWA May 17 2006 in Civil Aviation)

We're your kind of airline. Uh, I mean, We *were* your kind of airline.
User currently offlineTBCITDG From Australia, joined Jan 2004, 921 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5041 times:

I expect to be treated with respect.
And one of the more important things that I would like is information. Whatever it may be. Delays etc.
Keep me informed!

User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6210 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4947 times:

Thanks for asking. Seriously, that already says alot about your commitment to customer service. I think it takes a certain mentality to treat customers right, and it sounds like you have the right idea. Gate agents do have one of the more stressful jobs out there, and sometimes it can be challenging to balance your customer's needs with your desire to keep your job. Airline management can go along way to help by empowering you, the front-line employee, to make the on-the-spot decisions that mutually benefit the customer and the company. Bottom line is that you have to keep the customers happy to keep their business, and sometimes that involves a little sacrifice (i.e. going the extra mile when a customer is inconvenienced by delays caused by no fault of their own, like maybe an upgrade or a small travel voucher). Be up-front and truthful as to what's causing a delay; most customers should be smart enough to realize that weather in a certain part of the country may have a ripple effect which has impacted their flight. Also, don't direct a customer to call somebody on the "Delta direct" phone for help when we know you have access to the same computer system they do, if you're not busy helping other customers. That's "passing the buck" and transmits the message that the agent does not care. Finally, bring back the red coats. It was nice knowing who the floor supervisors were, and that they were probably able to help you with you problem if nobody else could.

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineLHR777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4888 times:

Quoting Newark777 (Reply 1):
Pretty much what you expect of us, the passengers. To be treated respectfully and fairly.

Hmmm...interesting point you make there! I'm a Senior Customer Service Agent at the carrier that I work at. I can honestly say that the majority of customers are pleasant, polite and no trouble to deal with at all.

However, there are certain behaviours displayed by our customers that can be, how shall I say, a little frustrating?

Here's an example - this evening, I was working in our First Class lounge. A gentleman comes up to the service desk and says, I quote; "Give me the window seat I asked for at check-in". No please, no pleasantry, no courtesy.

I reply, upon seeing there are no seats available, "I'm sorry sir, we don't have any window seats available at the moment. However, we'll keep an eye on it for you and if one becomes available, it'll be yours. "
I thought that was a decent answer!

The customer responds with "No! That's all I get from you. No! Why do you just say 'no' to me? I want that seat! Are you saying you don't have it?!"
"Yes sir, that's what I'm saying to you".
This is followed with "How dare you say no to me. Do you know who I am?"
( I had no clue!)

It's just little episodes like that that sometimes make me question the role I perform on a daily basis. My job is to provide world-class customer service, day in and day out, sometimes under adverse conditions. Like DLAgent, I take pride in the service and care I provide to my customers on a daily basis. In fact, there's the first hint - you guys are customers to me, not passengers!

I enjoy chatting with customers, and try to be creative with solutions, within a defined framework. For example, don't ask me for an upgrade to First Class, when you're sitting in the Economy cabin! We have four cabins onboard, I categorically can not upgrade you from Economy to First! Muttering the phrase "Any chance of an upgrade mate?" isn't likely to result in my being able to deliver that upgrade. We know who we'll upgrade way before you ever arrive at the airport and frankly, it's out of my control.

Secondly, if you ask me something and I reply with "just give me a few minutes to work on that and I'll get back to you", that means just that - I'm really not fobbing you off with something, I just need a little more time. For example, if you want a seat change, just give me a few minutes so the flight can close, then I can access any remaining unoccupied seats.

The whole interraction between agent and customer comes down to one thing - mutual respect. I respect you as a customer that contributes to my salary and pension. I expect you to respect me as the person in charge of the flight you are about to board and understand that if I make a decision that you disagree with, really, it's nothing personal.

Thanks for your custom folks!  Smile

User currently offlineDLAgent From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4867 times:

Quoting LHR777 (Reply 14):
The whole interraction between agent and customer comes down to one thing - mutual respect. I respect you as a customer that contributes to my salary and pension. I expect you to respect me as the person in charge of the flight you are about to board and understand that if I make a decision that you disagree with, really, it's nothing personal.

This interraction has become somewhat fractured through time. My observation is that many customers approach an agent "with a chip on their shoulder" when things are perfect-no delays, no incidents etc), and sometimes rightfully so but many times they use the same attitude with any agent as they feel it gets them what they desire. (I have observed it with customers who travel in & out of our station multiple times each month & consistently berate any agent they come in contact with) In instances like this, I do my best to have a war chest of good things to make their flight better than they expected-I believe in trying to change the customer to have that mutual respect for me as an agent trying to help him/her. I do however sometimes feel that the restrictions & rules inhibit good customer service to be offered. As to upgrades- ON flights where there are upgradable seats available, I will search my flight for the most frequent of flyers who are not upgraded, allocate a seat to them, then move on to those paying highest Coach fares and upgrade them. If it is an International Flight, Economy or not, if they paid a higher fare & seats are available, I will upgrade them.

User currently offlineSJCRRPAX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4847 times:

I expect gate agents to know how to type. Nothing upsets me so much as to say something, and to painfully watch it be slowly typed in. I almost want to say, here give me the keyboard, I'll type it in for you. If typing is one of your main job functions, why can't you do it?

Other than that, IMHO in almost every dispute I have ever seen between gate agent and a customer, the customer is almost always wrong. I cannot believe how stupid the general public is, so if you can deal with tired stupid travelers without losing your cool you are doing good. Also don't let customers know they are stupid (but they are!)

User currently offlineAcidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1880 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4839 times:

Keep people fully informed when there is a problem and do your best to make lemonade out of lemons in a bad situation. I know someone who was a gate agent who always made it a priority to explain WHERE the weather problems were to passengers, why an airport was delayed (always emphasizing that the delays were in order to ensure the safety of the flight), if known why an aircraft was broken and being repaired, etc. Other gate agents didn't do this (and still don't), so they get a line of angry passengers who feel they are being cheated. I see a lot of gate agents who get scared because they have to explain delays for things that are really out of anyone's control. Nobody can control the weather, heavy traffic conditions (especially into crowded east coast airports) or mechanical problems. It is as they almost expect they passengers to get angry at them, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Explain it in a way you would want it explained to you, as a paying passenger.

Once you've explained everything, encourage them that if they have a question or concern, that you can help them. If you have properly and completely explained the situation, you will not see anyone get up and ask you a question. When you keep passengers in the dark about things, even if you do it by accident or unintentionally, they get angry and feel that you are hiding something from them or trying to insult their intelligence. The passengers can't see what is happening behind the scenes, but you can! Saying that something is broken, but you won't tell them what is broken, is almost condescending.

Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineNwafflyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1050 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4825 times:

I want people just like the NWA gate agents in FNT - competent, personable (where they have to be), cooperative, and somewhat authoritative (keep the crowds in line). FNT is an exceptional NWA station , good gate agents, good ticket counter people, although the new ones are a bit slow,

Major kudo's to FNT and NWA - and flame me if you must - I've listened to more passenger complaints there, most needless, and more passenger stupidity than any other airport I visit

User currently offlineBicoastal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4780 times:

Limit people boarding to one carryon that fits in the overhead and one purse OR briefcase OR laptop (not both or all three, ladies and gentleman). "If you can count to three with what's in your hands, they're being checked." Don't look the other way when the kitchen sink passes you by on the way to the jetway.

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