Life at MAN - Andrew Franklin, Customer Helper (Jet2.com)

Andrew Franklin, a member of Jet2.com’s customer support team at Manchester Airport, explains what goes into getting a passenger’s journey off to the right start, and reveals the new route the airline starts serving this year that he’s excited to try out himself.

How long have you been working as a check-in agent at Manchester Airport?

After initially retiring eight years ago, I rejoined the workforce in 2022 when I accepted a Customer Helper role with Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, based at Manchester Airport.

What does your job involve on a typical day?

In my varied role as a Customer Helper, there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’. When I arrive in the morning, we are allocated our positions for the day which ensures colleagues are available to help at all stages of the customer’s journey through the airport. This means I could be greeting customers from when they first walk into the terminal, right through to waving them goodbye after collecting their belongings in the baggage hall.

When working at check-in, my daily tasks could include directing customers to the correct areas, checking passports and boarding passes, and assisting with bag drop. Things can change very quickly in this fast-paced environment, making my role very exciting.

What qualities and skills are needed for the role?

Thanks to Jet2’s extensive flying programme at Manchester Airport, we encounter millions of excited customers over the course of the year, meaning you must be approachable and confident when speaking with members of the public.

I believe a successful Customer Helper must be understanding, approachable and have a passion for customer service. Attention to detail is an essential skill to ensure the operation runs as smoothly as possible for all customers and colleagues.

Professionalism is required at all times as our Customer Helpers proudly wear the recognisable Red Team uniform to represent Jet2. As our badges say, you must be ‘Happy to Help!’ and echo the company’s values to ensure we are continually upholding our VIP customer service.

What do you enjoy the most about working in an airport?

As my role can be so varied, I love the sense of the unknown and the opportunities that lay ahead in each new day.

I have met such an array of people, both working around the airport and when attending to our customers, which has allowed me to appreciate and learn from their variety of backgrounds. I am extremely proud to work for a company that values its customers and has a fantastic reputation.

At Jet2, I feel part of a strong team with colleagues who will go above and beyond to help each other out as well as our millions of customers. My colleagues may have merely been strangers to me when I started at Manchester Airport, but they have now become close friends. Despite not being required to work since retiring, I have chosen do to so in order to keep my mind sharp and engage in regular social interactions which this job allows me to do with pleasure.

Tell us something interesting about your job that passengers might not know?

When embarking on their journeys through the airport to ultimately reach their holiday destination, the majority of customers might not have a true idea of the scale of the operation that takes place behind the scenes to make Jet2 services a flying success. For example, like all customers, staff must also pass through security checks before every shift, meaning the holidaymakers are in very safe and capable hands. From my own experience when starting in my role, I found there were jobs I never knew existed and have learnt so much from my various colleagues across the airport.

What important advice would you share with passengers about checking in?

From the moment they enter the terminal, I want customers to know that the friendly Jet2 team is always happy to help to ensure they have a lovely holiday. If you ever have a question when travelling, please feel free to approach a Customer Helper – they’re hard to miss in our famous red uniform!

When checking in, my biggest piece of advice is to adhere to baggage restrictions, especially when taking hand-held luggage on-board. This includes checking that the baggage fits within the dimensions guidelines, weighs 10kg or less and that any liquid contents adhere to maximum restrictions. If you are ever unsure, check out the advice on our website before travelling.

One question I am asked frequently as a Customer Helper is how do I find out my boarding gate number. I recommend that passengers continue to check the departure boards handily displayed around the airport to ensure they know where to go and allow themselves plenty of time to get to the aircraft before boarding.

How does the Jet2.com Twilight Check-in scheme work?

As Manchester Airport is the home to Jet2’s largest flying programme, we have customers visiting from afar to take advantage of the great choice of flights and destinations on offer from this base. With many passengers choosing to stay at a nearby hotel overnight, the Twilight Check-in scheme is an ideal option for them, meaning they can save time the next morning by dropping their bags off from 4:30pm to9pm for all flights departing before 12pm the following day.

The same principle applies for local customers who can take advantage of the scheme to relax knowing that they can skip the queues and head straight towards departures the next day, too.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

As I am lucky enough to live in the lush countryside surrounding Manchester Airport, my hobby is walking around the beautiful hills on my doorstep. I do this without a mobile phone to be able to appreciate the nature around me, navigating my directions with only a map and compass to keep the brain sharp.

I also own a touring caravan which allows me to take my hobby of walking around the country. My current shift pattern of working for three days at the airport followed by three days off suits my lifestyle very well and means I can get out and about regularly.

Which destination that Jet2 serve from Manchester do you most want to visit?

I was very excited to learn about the addition of Morocco to Jet2’s growing portfolio from Manchester Airport. The vibrant city of Marrakech and breathtaking coastlines of Agadir will provide memorable cultural getaways for our customers. I would love to experience this myself once the services commence in October.