How my “in between” Job at Flight Centre Became a Full-Time Career


When Kelly Pinkerton first joined Flight Centre, she never expected it would become her career. Now, seven years later, she’s found herself loving it so much she hasn’t left! Kelly shares some of the perks about being a Senior Travel Consultant that convinced her to stay in the role.

The travel bug had bitten me long before I joined Flight Centre, and I had just spent 18 months overseas for a previous role in Fiji, Canada and Ireland. Flight Centre was meant to be a job to “fill in time” as I rejoined the real world and did a masters. That was over seven years ago now -- I ended up loving it so much I’ve never left! Ultimately, it was a combination of factors that led to my choice to stay, and I’ve put the top ones below.

The variety

Through my time at Flight Centre, I’ve moved up, side to side and diagonally. I’ve been Team Leader in the big city, I’ve worked in regional stores, and now I’m at Universal Traveller. I guess you could say I get itchy feet myself, so I’m super fortunate to be able to work in a way that gives me chances to switch things up.

Working at a travel agency doesn’t get boring. I’m the kind of person who always has to be learning to stay interested. Part of my job is researching what other travel companies are offering, and how they are innovating and changing to keep appealing to their shifting target market. This means, that even seven years in, I’m still learning every day, which is ideal for me!

The people

The culture and sense of community at Universal Traveller is fantastic. We work together as a big team, and combine our strengths to achieve our goals. I’m passionate about getting youth out to see the world, so our target demographic is a joy to work with. I love feeling like I’m a part of something. ,Everyone knows everyone, particularly in Universal Traveller as we are a relatively small brand - it means we're such a tight-knit bunch.

The day-to-day work

As mentioned before, working in a travel agency doesn’t get old. There’s the regular tasks we do day-to-day of course: checking our financials, airline questions and getting in touch with customers and suppliers.

The most exciting part is planning trips! It’s all about the feeling of getting excited alongside your customers for their holiday - and hearing about it when they get back is the best feeling in the world. My favourite challenge is when I have to put together a complex itinerary or holiday. Getting everything together within the right time and budget is like putting together a jigsaw or solving a puzzle, which I love.

Finally, travel!

Of course, when people think of working in the travel industry, the number one thing they associate with it is travel! I've been fortunate to have experienced some brilliant trips during my time with Flight Centre Travel Group. My favourites were Hawaii, Queenstown and Tomorrowland music festival in Belgium! Also - the Global Gathering — that’s FCTG’s annual event for top performing staff, globally — it's everything they crack it up to be on your recruitment day plus more. Going with your whole team is even better!

What I appreciate most about the industry as a whole is how much it is changing. I love that as an industry we are guiding our customers toward smarter choices in terms of animal tourism, orphanage tourism, and having a greener footprint while travelling. Companies like Contiki are employing refugees to run their walking tours of Berlin, and former homeless to host their underground walking tours of London; providing them with an income as well as a completely unique take on a destination.

Learning to put my happiness first

When I first joined Universal Traveller, I did decide to take up a masters degree. I’m such a perfectionist — which is not my best quality — that I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well with that, on top of a full-time job, staying healthy and more.

After the end of the semester, I had a bit of a revelatory moment. I realised that I really love this job and wondered why I was putting so much pressure on myself to excel in this course and get a new job when I already loved the job I had?

Deciding to go all-in on my career at Flight Centre was the best decision I could have made for my happiness. With that reduction of stress, I noticed an immediate improvement in my overall mood, increased success and productivity in my role and had more time to do things for me.

I don’t think there’s any shame in realising that what you thought your next steps would be weren’t the right fit after all. What I’m grateful for is having found what I truly enjoy, and having the opportunity to give back to a field that I’ve loved for a long time. Here’s hoping for more adventures in the years ahead.