Travel Consultant – new
Flight Centre – Oxfordshire
We offer award-winning learning and development, with fantastic leadership prospects including the opportunity to manage your own sales team, work in… Reed.co.uk
Flight Centre Photos
Doesn't RecommendNegative OutlookNo opinion of CEO
- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I have been working at Flight Centre full-time (More than 3 years)
Have made some good friends and met some lovely clients. If you like to drink, then you'll love it here as there are many opportunities to get boozed up. When airline and hotel reps visit, they often bring snacks and goodies for the office, which is appreciated. You get some free on the job training to be a travel agent (though they skip over some important things like ticketing and exchanges since they have a separate department handling that).
Work / Life Balance: Horrible. If you have kids or a significant other who will want to see you more than a few hours a week, you might want to reconsider working here. Unlike other travel agencies I have worked for, since FC tries to do everything on the cheap, you're not just a travel agent. You're also an Accounting Employee having to constantly waste time running mind-numbing reports in archaic computer programs that are from the 1980s. You might think you're making big paychecks, but if you actually calculate hours worked and also hours spent at unnecessary meetings and mandatory events, it often comes out to just making about $12-15/hour. Seriously. Travel discounts? Few and far between. And you often don't have time to enjoy them. Much of the summer is blocked out for vacation time. During the holidays, you often have to battle with co-workers to try to get time off to see family. Your work load is so much that you will actually worry about taking time off because you dread the mountain load of stuff to deal with when you get back. The employees who say "Oh, it's the hard workers who reap the rewards"-- a crock. It's not "hard work" that pads paychecks. It's ripping off unsuspecting customers by marking up their airfare (and hotels, too, if you can get away with it). My moral compass might be set too high because I have trouble taking advantage of customers who come to me to help them with travel plans. Especially with the way the economy is--EVERY dollar counts. Once a customer has found out you burned them by overcharging them (something easy to do by just viewing the e-ticket receipt or asking the airline)--you lose them as a future customer. This is one reason why FC has trouble retaining customers and has had to close branches over the years and rebrand themselves under new names. (Probably why they bought Liberty Travel in the States.) "Unlimited commission potential" that they use to lure new employees is false job advertising. The airlines have pretty much gotten rid of commission all together. "Commission" = mark ups. And if you get caught overcharging a passenger, it comes out of YOUR paycheck and makes YOU look bad, even though FC encourages it. FC charges service fees, but the company can't keep blowing all that money on silly uniforms and booze events with just service fees alone. As an agent, only get a tiny portion of whatever profit you make. Think you just made $200 on that airline ticket sale? Think again. FC will charge YOU the agent $10 just to issue the ticket. Oh, and you have to run a credit card for the customer to pay for the ticket. There goes 4% of the total ticket price out of that now $90 you just made. And, hey, you haven't made your "commission" threshold yet for the month, so that $86.40 isn't yours--it goes all to FC. Once you get up to $2500-$4000 of "commission" in the month (depending on how long you've been with the company), then you'll finally start getting your own commission factored in--BUT, after you reach the threshold, you only see about 15-25% of it. You'll need what you can get, though, since FC's base salary is on average 10-20k less than most other agencies who pay real commission. This forces employees to engage in questionable moral behavior in order to make a decent paycheck. The turnover is higher than they'd let on. Working there 3+ years we had one entire neighboring store just quit, and more than 1/2 my co-workers have quit to work for other companies. And some of these were "high performing" employees. (I guess their morals caught up with them.) The company has been around for a bit, but has had to make drastic changes and rebranding over the years. The idea that they are a travel agency that has beaten the odds to survive is not fully correct as they do things that other agencies do not engage in. If you work or decide to work for them, do so at your own risk. If you make money, save it because you never know when your branch might close or when you might lose some clients.
Advice to Management
Negotiate better airfare and hotels with those vendors so that you don't have to risk customer relationships by scamming travelers. It also puts us employees in an awkward place since if we get caught marking up fares, we look like the bad guys even though we're forced to do it by company policy--as well as forced to do it in order to make a livable salary. We love our customers and want to keep them--not rip them off.