So I ran across a former marine who was a pilot for southwest and asked him what his preference was on becoming a pilot. What he told me was that he took the traditional route with school then flight school but he suggested doing the JetBlue Gateway Select program. Is that a good way to go or do you guys still recommend the traditional way?
I find that curious? Particularly because the JB Gateway program is relatively new, VERY expensive (over $100k), is only accepting a small number of candidates and most important has yet to produce a single pilot? Not sure why/how someone can recommend a program they have no experience with and has no proven results? Perhaps he said you should “look into it”?
I would also point out that JetBlue is considered to be a second tier major airline. I would not want to spend my career working for them.
I know several JB pilots who are very happy with their careers, and they just got a new contract signed that puts them within striking distance of the legacy carriers.
That being said, their pilot gateway program is $125k and takes four years before you’re hired as an FO by JetBlue. Given that they’re only accepting two classes of 18 students each year and that you’d have to move back and forth between Phoenix and Orlando during that time, it wasn’t the right choice for me.
Also, taking the current job market into account, you shouldn’t have that hard a time getting a good offer, so the JB benefit of having your foot in the door on day one isn’t the most attractive piece of leverage ever.
I too know many happy JB pilots, BUT, EVERY one of them has their apps in with a Legacy. While the new contract may in fact “put them within striking distance of the legacy carriers”, those numbers would be for the same or comparable equipment. Since JB doesn’t have any heavies, JB pilots will never earn the money the pilots who fly them do. While $250K isn’t bad, $350K is better.
Even with their new contract, JetBlue is still very much a second tier airline. As Adam said, they do not have the heavies and thus they are a mostly domestic airline. I routinely fly with pilots that have left their to come to United.