Jet2 Senior First Officer Story

"A Jet2 Senior First Officer gives unparalleled insights into what life's like operating as a pilot for Europes most loved airline."
Jet2-pilot

A current Jet2 pilot has kindly given us an unparalleled insight into what life’s like operating in the right hand seat of arguably Europes most loved airlines. The pilot wishes to remain anonymous in order to be totally honest and transparent about all aspects of life for pilots at the company, which we fully understand.

Company, Position & Base?

Jet2.com, Senior First Officer on B737-800, Manchester.

Can you summarise your job role as a Jet2 Senior First Officer?

I take people away from our rainy islands, on their well-deserved holidays in the sun!

Jet2-pilot

Example of a typical “day in the life” of a Jet2 Pilot?

I will arrive at our crew room typically an hour before departure. There I will meet the Captain and grab all of the paperwork needed for our flight. This is Operational Flight Plan, aircraft status sheet and relevant weather/NOTAMS for our departure, destination, alternate & en-route airfields. We will look through those and decide how much fuel we wish to uplift. Then its off to the aircraft to complete all of our pre-flight preparations and get that all important hot water boiler warmed up for a nice coffee! We typically fly 2 sector days, so there and back. This is great as it allows you to be back home at the end of your working day. Once we’ve landed and safely parked up, its always a pleasure saying goodbye to our customers and facilitating the odd flight deck visit too. Then its time to start the whole process again to get the aircraft ready for the flight home, usually an hour later. 

Jet2-pilot
Cruising back from Greece during sunset

Why did you choose to become a Jet2 pilot & what path did you take to get here?

Typical answer I’m afraid but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little kid. I remember flying with airlines such as Monarch & Airtours and the pilots always saying goodbye at the end of the flight. I remember thinking how cool these people were to fly this awesome machine & take me to where I can eat ice cream everyday 🙂 I love the fact the everyday is completely different and there’s always lots to think about too. I went to university, worked in a few different jobs after that before commencing my flight training at one of the big UK flight schools. 

(For more info on different paths to take, see our book here on ‘How To Become An Airline Pilot in 2024’)

Jet2-pilot

2 favourite aspects of being an Jet2 Senior First Officer?

Definitely the people. Pretty much everyone I have the pleasure of working of brings so much to your day. As pilots we interact with everyone from our colleagues in ops/crewing, to our cabin crew, passengers, ground staff, and air traffic control.

Secondly, the job satisfaction you get when you have battled the aircraft down the approach in another winter storm and have a smooth & safe landing at the end of it. 

Jet2-pilot

Two great thing about Jet2 as a company?

Treating everyone as individuals – as a Jet2 pilot you aren’t just a number & if you need help with anything there are so many people who will try and help you. Equally we have a great product & it creates an awesome working environment when you are proud of what’s on offer and the customers continually tell you that “we love flying with Jet2.”

Jet2-pilot
Both Jet2 liveries next to eachother


What do you find the 2 most challenging aspects or impacts of being an Jet2 Senior First Officer?

Understandably most airlines are now a 365 days, 24 hours a day operation. Particularly when you start off your flying career, managing your sleep and rest is challenging. You find what works for you after a while but that alarm going off at 3am never gets any easier!

Secondly, having to plan events or leave almost a year in advance can be tricky. My mates have only recently got used to me organising our Christmas party in the January of a new year!

(If you’re interested in the health impacts the job can have, we’ve written an in depth article here breaking it down)

Jet2-pilot
Parked next to Gatwick airport bridge

Most surprising part of the job for you?

It’s very hard to fully understand and appreciate at first how having a roster for everyday of your life – both working & none working days – impacts everything else you do. Of course you get used to it quickly but for anyone starting off or doing some research into becoming a pilot, it’s a huge lifestyle change. Yes you get paid well, the views are awesome and it never gets old flying a multi million pound machine at 500mph through the air but if you need every Monday off for football etc, then you’re going to find it quite a tough transition.

Jet2-pilot
Walkaround shot

Most memorable day on the job as a Jet2 pilot?

It has to be base training. This is when you have finished your type rating in the simulators and is the first actual time you get your hands on with the jet. We flew up to Prestwick airport and it was a lovely summers day in May with (thankfully) very favourable weather conditions. I remember like it was yesterday the captain saying to me after we had been cleared for my first ever take off “you have control.” As I advanced the thrust levers, pressed TOGA (to set our correct take off thrust) and we rolled down the runway I felt as excited then as I did when I was 5 years old….such a euphoric feeling! The only time the autopilot was engaged on that flight was when the airport got a little busy as we were downwind. ATC asked us to hold in our present position for a couple of laps at about 1500ft. Unfortunately for those on the ground, we interrupted someone’s outside wedding with a free flypast!

Jet2-pilot
Jet2 departure

If you could go back to the start of your career as an airline pilot and do anything differently, what would it be and why?

These days with everything always getting more and more expensive, I would seriously consider not going to university. Its now a huge financial outlay and to be honest not massively relevant to a career as an airline pilot. If it’s something you have always wanted to do & are determined to get there then just go for it. 

Jet2-pilot
A Jet2 Captain making an approach

Most commonly asked flying question you get at a party? What’s your answer?

“Doesn’t the autopilot just fly everything?” I tell them how about 9 times out of 10, the autopilot gets disconnected very early on the approach into Tenerife or a very windy Manchester. People are genuinely surprised that we actually have to do some manual work – for a few minutes 😉 !

Jet2-pilot
Jet2 jumpseat takeoff

Would you recommend your career path to budding or current helicopter pilots right now? Any advice for them?

My top tip would be to chat to as many people as you can & do your research. Visit flight schools, get involved with working at the airport as anything that can make you stand out will put you in good stead for a future airline interview. Also, working on a check in desk at 2 in the morning (as I’ve done in the past), prepares you nicely for that call out from crewing at a similar time to fly to Turkey!

(From us here at Pilot Bible – Diary of an airline Captain can give you further insights into the daily life, so you can see if it’s really something you want to pursue. You can also read other ‘day in the life’ posts here to get an idea of what else is out there.)

Jet2-pilot
Our aircraft parked in Prague

Rough flying hours per month

My airline is very seasonal with less hours in the winter (around 30per month) to very busy summers (around 80 hours each month).

Salary of a Jet2 Senior First Officer?

Salary is very competitive, approx 100k a year as an SFO and I’ve had a pay rise (barring COVID) in every year I’ve been here. The figures on PPJN are accurate! 

What do you want your life to look like in 5 years time?

Working through my command application at the moment, so ideally in the left hand seat with maybe a view to becoming a training captain also.

Jet2-pilot

What does a “bad day at work” look like for you

To be honest, I hate early starts and I’m definitely a ‘night owl.’ So anything where I have to set an alarm before 5am is a bad day already! Thankfully my airline has a preference system so I’m on permanent lates which dramatically improves my own lifestyle. 

Jet2-pilot

What does a “great day at work” look like for you

I would genuinely say 99% of my days in work are ones that I finish and think “I don’t really feel like I’ve been to work today.” This is 100% down to the people you are with. If your with a captain who is one of your best mates, you’ve got great cabin crew colleagues then you are set for a cracking day out. Always safety first of course, but lots of banter and us all still smiling at the end of the day despite the many varied challenges thrown at us all.

Jet2-pilot

What impact does the job have on your mental or physical health? 

The unsociable hours and many hours sat down all day can be tricky to manage. I like to go to the gym on days off or before work, for example. I’m a pretty organised person so like to arrange nights out/events with mates months in advance so it’s great always having stuff to look forward to – outside of work. You have to be able to take a step back sometimes from aviation or it can get a little all consuming. Maintain your friendships with family, friends etc as there’s much more going on than your ‘greaser’ when it was gusting 50knots! Also, it goes without saying but talking is a great strategy. If you’re feeling anxious or concerned about something, you can guarantee someone else will have been through the same. Be open with people and not afraid to be vocal about how you are feeling. It’s so important for us to all look after each other in such a safety critical environment.

What mental health support is available to you in the workplace? Do you think this is adequate? Any ways you think it could be improved?

My airline has some fantastic support available to all colleagues. We all undertake mental health training so we have a greater awareness & know what support is available. We have everything from mentors to independent (non management) pilots/cabin crew that you can have an informal chat with, who have the power to stand you down from a duty if something is going on, for example.

I’d like to sincerely thank this Jet2 Senior First Officer for taking the time to answer our questions and for giving you all an insight into what life as a Jet2 pilot is really like!

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