KLM Business Class review

KLM Business Class Review: Mit dem Dreamliner nach Rio

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Dear Aviator,

my last vacation took me to a destination which has been on my bucket list for a long time: Rio de Janeiro. Originally I had planned to go there February, but then my Captain Upgrade got in the way so I had to postpone it. This blog post will not deal with Rio, but about the flight that took me there. In my KLM Business Class review, I will share my flight experience on board of a Dreamliner. What can you expect? Additionally, you will be able to win a special souvenir of the flight.

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The Dreamliner

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How I book my flights

"You are a pilot you fly for free", "You have access to standby tickets", "ID-90 flying is great". Those are comments I have great below my postings on Instagram. I'm sorry, but all statements are not correct. All my flights are firmly booked and paid full price. I never had the opportunity to fly intercontinental for a fraction of the normal ticket price.

How do I manage to fly Business Class?

Whenever I can I book Business Class tickets on flights which last more than 6 hours. I either pay full price or I have enough miles to go on a reward flight. The price-quality ratio has to be acceptable. When tickets are overpriced in Business Class I book a travel class below (Premium Economy or Economy) and then I try to upgrade with miles or cash. Like I did on my flight to Miami in Eurowings "Biz Class".

I was lucky when I booked the flight to Rio. I knew I have a vacation for 12 days, so I opened up the world map of Google flight search. Selected the time period and my favored travel class. I was browsing through numerous destinations until Rio de Janeiro popped up with 1,800 € round trip for one person in Business Class. I immediately booked the flight. Normally you pay double this price, so it was a really good deal.

 

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Do not miss any of my videos and subscribe to my YouTube channel PilotPatrick

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Three flight highlights

First highlight: So far I only knew KLM from short range flights, so it was the first time for me to fly with them long-range. Second highlight: I was excited to fly with a Boeing 787, also called Dreamliner, for the first time. Third Highlight: I flew in the new World Business Class, which has an interesting cabin layout.

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Berlin - Rio de Janeiro

KL 1822 Boeing B737-700

09:05 Berlin (TXL)

10:35 Amsterdam (AMS)

 

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KL 0705 Boeing B787-900

12:45 Amsterdsm (AMS)

19:35 Rio de Janerio (GIG)

total travel time: 15:35 hours

 

 

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Crown Lounge at Schipol Airport

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Champagne above the clouds

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The lounge

KLM recently opened up a new lounge called "Crown lounge 52" in the international departure area of Schipol airport. The lounge is huge and not yet fully opened. I had a hard time finding it. Navigation signs at the airport were not clear and a lounge briefing of the airline was missing.

The lounge expands over two floors with different areas, it even features an outside terrace, a cinema, and several outlets. In case you find the catering not tasty enough (like I did) you can visit the a la carte restaurant within the lounge (not complimentary).

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This is aviation porn

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lie flat seat

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The seat

The seat surprised me the most on this flight! When I had a look at some photos of the seat, it seemed to be quite narrow. The entire Business Class is in the font section of the B787-9 and comprises only 30 seats in total.

Oh wow! That was my first impression after boarding the aircraft. The color selection, the arrangement, and the design were well chosen. Everything is there where you needed it and the designers took special care of every detail. For example, you have a mirror in your small cabinet.

You kind of have to slide into your seat, but once seated it feels more spacious than I thought.  The seats are angled to the flight direction and surrounded by a cube, which makes every seat private. Especially the window seats are fantastic since you don't have to move your head to look out of the window. On top, the seat transforms into a fully flat bed. I am 1,85 cm and it was really comfortable

Highlights:

  • all seats have direct aisle access
  • a lot of privacy as a seat and bed
  • comfortable sleeping position
  • all buttons and controls are easily accessible
  • the armrest can be lowered to increase the sleeping surface
  • wide footrest for the bed function
  • big personal TV which can be stowed 

 

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Watch the full Business Class review on YouTube

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The catering

KLM would not win any prizes for its catering departing Schipol airport. On the 11 hours, flight lunch was served after takeoff. In between light snacks were offered and prior to landing, you could have a small dinner. The desserts were the best part of the catering: refreshing ice cream and a chocolate muffin with liquid chocolate inside.

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Healthy starter

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I did not want to show the nasty main dish too clearly

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Specials of the Dreamliner

The B787 was not always a Dreamliner, it moreover started as a nightmare. Boeing had to fix several problems after the aircraft has started its line operation in 2011. It is one of the most advanced and modern airliners in the world. It not only generates less noise overall, but CO2 emission is reduced by 20-25% and fuel consumption by 20% as well. The aircraft leaves a smaller environmental footprint without lowering passenger comfort. Quite the contrary is the fact. Passengers windows are bigger, the cabin altitude is reduced and the cabin humidity is increased, which makes you feel better when you arrive.

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Mood lighting on board of the B787

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Fails on the flight

Nothing too tremendous, but still not acceptable when paying a lot of money for a ticket.

  • Wifi on board was broken. The airline blamed the satellite.
  • The espresso machine was broken and the coffee was nasty
  • Corners of the seats were not spotless

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Nap time!

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Give away!

At the end of the flight, every passenger in the Business Class receives a souvenir. It is a miniature Delft house, which is famous in the Netherlands. I received so many messages from my Aviators, who want one of those houses since it is impossible to buy them. So I decided to give away one house, an amenity kit and a personal note to TWO Aviators

To join the giveaway

  1. Like this post (heart symbol)
  2. Leave me a comment below this article mentioning “I would like to fly to (destination) inspired by www.pilotpatrick.com"
  3. REPEAT the previous step on my YouTube video!

I will randomly choose two winners on the 23rd of June 2019. Good luck!

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GIVEAWAY!

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Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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should I visit incredible India

Mein Tag auf der weltweit führenden Messe für Tourismus (ITB) in Berlin

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Advertisement / Cooperation

Dear Aviator!

How do you decide on which destinations are on your bucket list? Where do you get your inspiration from when planning your travels? I am sure you retrieve it online, from travel blogs, maybe even from my channels and most probably from friends, who report about their trips.

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Welcome to the ITB at the Messe Berlin

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Singapore Airlines double bed in Business Class

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The ITB, the world's leading travel trade show, in Berlin is the offline hotspot for all travel enthusiasts like me. I was invited by Incredible India to explore the trade show and to visit their exhibition, which was, in fact, an entire hall. They provided me with some giveaways, which you will be able to win at the end of this article.

Through my job as a pilot, I get to fly to many fantastic destinations. At the moment the flight operation requires me to overnight in cities primarily in Europe. Sometimes I even stay up to three days at one destination which allows me enough free time to explore. But it is not the same as traveling privately. It is your job and you are traveling with colleagues and not with your friends and family. That is the reason why I go on so many journeys even besides my pilot travels. I like either to discover new destinations, I haven't been to or I return to places I have enjoyed as a pilot before.

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I am a ship captain as well ;-)

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Indian Aviators :-)

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The ITB

As I mentioned before the ITB (International Tourismus Börse) is the world's leading tourism trade show. The companies represented at the fair include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies. Over 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries.

I not only use the ITB to inform myself about news in the travel industry but I also use the visit to connect with people from the travel industry. Primarily I try to get in contact with tourism boards of countries I would like to visit in the future. I think personal contact is extremely beneficial in regards to potential collaboration.

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Indian bride show

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Photo shooting with Incredible India

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Incredible India

On a daily basis, I get asked on my Instagram channel, if I have been to this or that country and when I am visiting a specific country. In case I haven't been there my answer is that I will try to visit as soon as possible. I made it my life goal to travel to as many countries as possible.

This includes India for sure. At the ITB and the dinner night before, I already got a glimpse of India's culture and their travel offers. Incredible India filled an entire hall. You not only could get in touch with representatives of the tourism office, hotels and tour operators but could also experience a little bit of the Indian culture. The women were dressed in their traditional clothing, a real wedding took place and you could participate in a Bollywood workshop.

In the end, I received a Henna tattoo on my hand so that my memories will last a little bit longer.

Why would I travel to India?

One reason why I would travel to India is to taste genuine Indian food ;-) I really like Indian cuisine, but not too spicy, please. I am always open to exploring new things, places and countries. India would appeal to me as a destination is that it is so different than everything else I have experienced so far. What I have learned from the exhibition is that India has more to offer than good food and the Taj Mahal. In my opinion, the country is underestimated in terms of traveling. Check their Instagram page for travel inspirations in India.

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Getting a Henna tattoo with my logo

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Free henna tattoos with Incredible India

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Good news for passengers

Another reason why I like to visit the ITB is that I am keen to learn about new cabin products of all the major airlines. Qatar Airways always surprises with new innovations in comfort for the passenger. For Business Class passenger they implemented the Q-suite, which offers a lot of space in an enclosed suite. Every seat has direct aisle access and the middle seats convert into a fully flat double bed.

New recline system

For economy class passenger they presented a new seat at the ITB. In their mock-up cabin, I took a seat and I could experience their innovations right away. The new recline system surprised me the most. You probably know how bothersome it can be when your fellow passenger reclines his seat in front of you. Now with Qatar Airways innovation, the seat slides forward to recline without infringing the comfort. Moreover, this allows for more clearance for your knees and chin.

 

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Qatar Airways new Economy Class

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Qatar Airways at the ITB

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The new recline systemm

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The ITB Berlin takes place annually in March at the Messe Berlin. So in case you missed it this year, I will see you there next year.

I had a fun day at the ITB and there is so much to discover. It is impossible to see everything in one day, so make sure you arrive once the doors open. I was exhausted after one day, but the impressions I could take from my visit were definitely worth it.

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Giveaway!

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Give away

Incredible India gave me a present with fancy Indian accessories (see photo below) and I would like to pass them to one of you my Aviator. I will include a personal note as well.

To join the giveaway

  1. Like this post (heart symbol)
  2. Leave me a comment below this article mentioning your next vacation destination

I will randomly choose a winner 31st of March 2019. Good luck!

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Giveaway of Incredible India!

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Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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pilot pros and cons of a dream job

Zehn Jahre Pilot: Pros und cons eines Traumberufes

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Hello my Aviator,

I am now working ten years in the aviation industry. Exactly one decade ago, I signed the contract with the flight school to become a commercial pilot. I take this anniversary as an occasion to recap my time as a first officer. Being a pilot is still a dream job for me. On my social media everything might look perfect, but this job also downsides, which I will reveal in this blog post.

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office above the clouds

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But let's start with the aspect which annoys me the most of being a pilot. Security checks. As a private jet pilot, I had the privilege to skip security controls at many destinations. But now I have to pass security every time without any exception.

At the airport the Paris security they treat pilots like a potential terrorist.

This is so ridiculous when you take in to account that all crew members have a valid background check. Recently they wanted to see my turmeric powder in my food bag. They checked it for liquids?! In front of the security staff, I had to taste the spice to proof this it is not an explosive. You can take it only with humor!

 

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Flight school

After I graduated high school I started right away preparing for the assessment to become a flight student for Lufthansa. I failed the first step of the selection process. One reason for that was my nervosity at that time.

Back then I was really sad about this but now I see it from a whole new perspective and I am actually happy that I failed the test.

I took the more difficult way to become a pilot. The flight training was self-funded, which made me put even more effort into it. I had to find a job after graduating. It was also tough to start my aviation career as a first officer on a Private Jet. The "Lufthansa way" would have been the easy way but would definitely not made the person and pilot I am today.

Pros: You have the time of your life with lots of studying and flying.

Cons: No job guarantee with a self-funded training. It is high risk to take of not getting a job.

 

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Airbus A300 prior departure

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Pilot Licence

It is not an easy and inexpensive path to obtain the license to fly commercial airplanes. But in the end, it is "only" a license and not an occupational education nor a degree. Health restrictions could cause that you are not able to fly, thus you can not pursue your profession. As a back up I got a loss of license. This insurance costs me 150€ a month and pays in case I am not able to fly anymore.

Cons: If you lose your medical you lose your license and you cannot fly anymore. In case you did not study you are left without any education.

Pros: You are in control of a powerful machine

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Job security

Aviation is a volatile business with great ups and downs. As an employee, you are dependent on the profitability of your airline. If an airline cannot cope with a crisis or suffers from bad management (airberlin) pilots are not needed anymore.

Cons: You are only needed as long there are flights and aircraft. This profession is highly specialized you can only fly aircraft and you are type rated on one special aircraft.

Pros: No office day is the same. You can enjoy the good reputation of being a pilot and you get paid to fly.

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Hamburg airport photo by Pando Hall

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Salary

The days of making a fortune as a pilot are over. A good availability of pilots on the market causes that working conditions and salary to drop. Especially as copilot, the current time is not easy. My net salary was around 2800€ when I started in 2010. Luckily, I did not have to pay for my flight training, because my parents took care of it. Imagine if have to pay back the costs of the license (70.000€) plus the type rating costs (20.000€) it would take ages and would not leave any money left to save.

Salary is not the same and highly depends on the company you work for. In the meantime, I earn as much as a captain does at my last employer. I paid back my costs for my type rating and I don't have any debts.

Pros: The captain salary enables you to have a good life. Some of the perks your salary are tax-free, which increases your net salary significantly.

Cons: Pilot salaries differ greatly. Even "Pay to fly models" exist where pilots have to pay the airline to fly. You have to invest a lot and work hard to boost your income.

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Mid air selfie

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Social life and free time

Do you have a social life? I have been getting asked this question many times. Of course, I do like everyone else.

But it requires good organization and planning to see friends and family.

I often have free time during the week when the majority has to work and has no time. But one part what I like most about my job, I do not take work home with me.

Pros: I have more than ten off days in a month. (German law requires a minimum of eight) Sometimes it is even half of the month that I am not flying. Between duty days I can at least enjoy four off days in a row without taking leave. In which kind of job do you have this?

Cons: You are not home. About half of the month I am not at home, so I can not attend all family and friends events. It is not possible to attend weekly courses (like a language course)

Watch my YouTube video about my off days at home in Berlin. Please subscribe.

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Layovers

The past 10 years I have been to hundreds of different locations in Europe, North Africa and Russia. As a private jet and as an airline pilot I am having layovers outside of my home base. The time I get to spend at one destination ranges from minimum rest (10 hours) up to two days. As a private jet pilot, the destinations were varying all the time and I really liked that I got to choose the crew hotel myself. You can imagine that I did not stay in the worst place. ;)

Pros: I have a fixed flight schedule and I know how much time I have at one destination. I can really use my rest time to do activities.

Cons: The network is limited so I get to stay in the same destination more often. A good example for this is Sevilla. It is almost my second home. After a while, this can become less exciting.

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Layover in Sevilla photo by Rocío

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Working hours

The pilot profession has probably the most irregular working hours. Aviation does not know weekends or public holidays. Some days you only have one flight the other day maybe three flights and instead of four hours duty 11 hours. Fortunately, I do not have to cope with jet lag, since I am flying within Europe. As a private jet pilot, I mostly flew during the day since VIPs do not like to get up early. But now I am flying also at night, which is a lot of stress for your body and you have to fight against fatigue.

Pros: I like the irregular working hours. I do not have to get up at the same time every day. Some flying days are long some are short. The work remains on board and when I have off I have off.

Cons: Due to the irregular working hours I have to take good care of my body. That is why I have a healthy diet and do regular body exercises to stay fit.

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Flying from sunrise to sunset

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Crew life

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. Crews all share the same passion and a safe flight requires the crew to work in a team in a small environment. I think that is why you won't find this energy and enthusiasm in other jobs. Crews take care of each other and support each other. The well being of each crew member ensures the safety of each flight.

Pros: Colleagues can become friends. To share the flight experience and to spend the layover together is double the fun.

Cons: During work, I am not staying at a nice location with my beloved once. It still remains work. Every crew member has their own daily routine so it happens that you only spend time together in the cockpit and the rest of the time everyone does their own thing.

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Upgrade

I recently completed a total of 3000 flight hours. One aspect I really love about my job is that you are constantly learning and improving your skills. Aviation requires you to be up to date about new procedures and regulations. Even after flying an aircraft for thousands of hours you will find out something new about it.

With the first day of your first officer career, you start your training to become a captain one day.

Before I left the business aviation one and a half years ago, my former employer told me that I will become a captain in one year. Switching companies implied that I have to build up my seniority again. I fulfilled the requirement of 1500 flight hours to become a captain, but I still require flight hours within the new company. It also depends on their demand. Earliest time for me to become a captain is in about 1,5 years.

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!

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What would I have done differently?

I would have done everything exactly the same, except one point. Before starting with the flight training I would have studied to get a degree or at least study in parallel to the flight school. I am trying to study business administration alongside with the job and my social media, but currently, there is no time left for that.

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As a pilot, I am experiencing so many of awe-inspiring moments that I am left with no choice but to fly! This dream jobs also has downsides. But which job doesn't? The pros are vastly superior otherwise I would not continue to fly.

Which downside would you like the least?

Please subscribe to my newsletter with your email below and become an Aviator on my YouTube channel as well.

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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dream to fly

Mein Traum zu fliegen und warum ich fliege

In meinem letzten Artikel "Kurzer Lebenslauf" hast Du mich schon ein wenig kennen lernen können. In diesem Blog werde ich Dir erzählen warum ich Pilot geworden bin. Genau vor 22 Jahren hatte ich meinen ersten Schultag. Damals hätte ich nie damit gerechnet, dass ich eines Tages Pilot werden und die Welt bereisen würde. Das lag jenseits meiner Vorstellungskraft.

Schon früh habe ich mich für Technik interessiert und wollte wissen, wie Dinge funktionieren. Mein Großvater hatte eine Garage und nutzte diese um an Autos, Motorrädern, usw. zu schrauben. Ich habe ihm sehr oft dabei geholfen und bevorzuge seitjeher Fakten und Zahlen. Das könnte auch der Grund dafür gewesen sein, dass meine Schulnoten in Mathematik, Physik und Geografie überdurchschnittlich gut waren. Allerdings habe ich eine ebenso kreative Seite an mir. Ich liebe es zu zeichnen und neue Dinge zu designen. In meiner Schulzeit habe ich ständig Autos und Flugzeuge gezeichnet. Wäre mein Plan Pilot zu werden nicht aufgegangen wäre ich gern Autodesigner geworden.

Exkursion mit meiner Mutter und Großmutter

 

Mein erster Schultag

Ich erinnere mich, dass wir in meiner Kindheit eine Menge Ausflüge am Wochenende unternommen haben. Entweder mit meinen Großeltern, die sehr nah gewohnt haben oder mit meinen Eltern und meinem jüngeren Bruder. Aufgewachsen bin ich in einer kleinen Stadt in der Nähe von Frankfurt am Main, hier gab es jede Menge zu unternehmen. Für mich konnte es nie aufregend genug sein. Achterbahnen konnten nicht hoch und schnell genug fahren. Regelmäßig haben wir Flughäfen in unserer Nähe besucht, wenn diese öffentliche Veranstaltungen durchführten. Es war für mich immer sehr aufregend solche Events zu besuchen. Aber es war auch immer etwas traurig für mich, da ich ebenfalls oben in den Flugzeugen sitzen wollte anstatt am Boden zu stehen und nur zuzusehen. Einmal war ich der vermeintlich glückliste Junge der Welt, als ich einen Flug in einer Propellermaschine gewonnen hatte. Meine Faszination am Fliegen wurde dadurch nun noch gestärkt und vielleicht war dies sogar der ausschlaggebende Punkt warum ich Pilot werden wollte.

Um meine Begierde zu stillen unternahm ich mit meiner Familie viele Ausflüge zu technischen Museen und Flughäfen um Flugzeuge zu besichtigen. Ich kann die Museen in Speyer und Sinsheim wärmstens empfehlen. Dort kann man nicht nur eine Concorde von innen sehen, sondern auch eine alte B747 der Lufthansa besichtigen. Damals war das einfach das tollste für mich! Leider kann ich mich nicht mehr an meinen ersten Flug erinnern, da ich damals erst zwei Jahre alt war.  Meine ganze Familie inklusive meiner Großeltern flog gemeinsam in den Urlaub auf Palma de Mallorca. Danach folgten noch viele Flüge zu den verschiedensten Zielen in Europa und den USA.

 

Mein erster Flug ging 1990 nach Palma

Das alles hat dazu geführt, dass ich mich während meiner Schulzeit im Alter von 18 Jahren dazu entschieden habe ein Pilot werden zu wollen. Auch wenn ich zuvor noch nie selbst geflogen war, wusste ich, dass ich es lieben würde. Die Frage "Warum ich fliege" ist einfach zu beantworten, es ist meine Passion geworden. Fliegen erfordert technisches Verständnis und ständige Fortbildung, da die Luftfahrtbranche sehr schnelllebig ist. Ein schöner Nebeneffekt ist, dass ich die Welt bereisen und neue Orte entdecken kann. Ein weiterer Grund "warum ich fliege" ist die großartige Unterstützung meiner Familie. Ohne meine Familie hätte ich heute nicht diesen Traumjob.

Bleib auf dem Laufenden und ließ meinen nächsten Artikel: "Wie ich Pilot geworden bin"

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