Airline Ranks

Hey IFC,
I was watching a youtube video a while ago and it was on a talk show with two pilots talking about being in aviation. At the 7:11 mark of Airline Pilots Talk About Life Inside the Cockpit the lady with two stripes (SO or Second Officer) said that she was an FO or First Officer. Last time I checked, FOs and three strips while a second officer has two.
Can someone please confirm that I am not going insane and please explain the youtube video.
P.S. I hope this makes sense.



This is from KLM.

Read the post beneath me!


Yes I didn’t think I was going insane. A FO does have three strips, she had two therefore she was a SO not a FO.
Thanks a lot mate.


From this link:

“There is no worldwide standardisation of stripes across airlines. Different airlines choose to issue a different number of stripes to their pilots depending on their rank, which also varies on experience levels within the airline. The only standardisation is that there is almost always a Captain and First Officer operating the flight (unless it’s a training flight). The Captain and First Officer are sometimes known as a Pilot and Co-pilot).


The First Officer usually wears 2 or 3 stripes depending on the airline. Some First Officers are automatically issued 3 stripes from their day of joining (typically at Long Haul airlines), whereas some start of with 2 and only get 3 when they are promoted to Senior First Officer.”

Maybe EasyJet is different from others, I don’t know; but I highly doubt she would just out-and-out lie with the other pilot there talking about just having made captain. It seems something they wouldn’t simply forget or lie about openly for no particular reason. Perhaps EJ is an airline where SFOs have three and FOs two.


In a simular way British Airways Has First Officers (2 stripes), Senior First Officers (3 Stripes) and Captains (4 Stripes). In British Airways a pilot always starts as a First Officer with 2 stripes, after they have been with the company for 4 years and had an interview they are promoted to Senior First Officer.

Second Officers (one or two stripes) are more often used in Southern Hempisphere Airlines where they are more often than not used as Crusie Relief Co-pilots.

Incdidently EasyJet did use to have Second Officers, these where pilots who had less than 1500 TT and so a fozen ATPL. Once they had the full ATPL they become a First Officer and later Senior First Officer. (Friend was a pilot at Easyjet before moving to BA).


i believe in the US 3 stripes is Senior First Officer

I’m not positive but I think it’s gold 3 stripes

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Thanks everyone for the feedback!