process of becoming a captain

12 Years Being a Pilot: Pros And Cons Of a Dream Job

Dear my Aviator,

I’m m now working for 12 years in the aviation industry and it is even over 14 years ago that I signed the contract with my former flight school to become a commercial pilot. I take this anniversary as an occasion to recap my time as a pilot. Even though my time as a pilot had a lot of ups and downs it is still a dream job for me. On my social media, everything might look perfect, but this job also has its downsides. Are you ready for the pros and cons of being a pilot?

But let’s start with a little aspect that annoys me about being a pilot. Security checks. As a private jet pilot, I had the privilege to skip security controls at many destinations. But as a commercial pilot you have to pass security like any other passenger with only a few exceptions.

Paris security staff treat pilots like a potential terrorist.

This is so ridiculous when you take into account that all crew members have a valid background check. Once they wanted to see my turmeric powder in my food bag. They tried to check it for liquid?! In the end, had to taste the spice in front of the security staff to prove that it is not an explosive. A waste of time and nerves but I decided to take it with humour from now on.

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 due to my extreme nervosity at that time.

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

I definitely took a more difficult way to become a pilot. The flight training was self-funded, which made me put so much effort into it so I would for sure succeed. There was no job guarantee after graduating from flight school. It was 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 not have made me the person and pilot I am today.

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

CON: No job guarantee with a self-funded training. There is a high risk of not getting a job and the waiting time can be extremely long. 

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 your inability to fly, thus you can not pursue your profession further. At least not in an actual cockpit. As a little back up I got a loss of license insurance which is a must for every pilot.

CON: 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. With a contract, the airline pays for your training and keeps all ratings valid. In case of unemployment, you have to take care of it yourself which can get extremely costly. 

PRO: You fly yourself and you are in control of powerful machines. 

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 salaries to drop as it happens at moment due to the pandemic. Especially as a first pilot, the current time is not easy. My net salary was around 2800€ when I started in 2010. Luckily, I did not have to take a loan for the training, because my parents supported me. 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.

The salary depends highly on which company you fly for, where you are based, which aircraft type you fly and how well you negotiate your salary.

There are a few pilot jobs out there in which you can make really good money. Especially in the business aviation on a private jet flying for an owner, you can easily earn 20,000€ as captain but those jobs are extremely rare and do not give you a lot of security.

PRO: A captain’s salary enables you to have a good life. But it is usually a long way to the left seat. 

CON: 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. When switching companies you lose your seniority or might even fly as first officer again. 

Job security 🦠

Aviation is a volatile business with great ups and downs. The pandemic has shown us how volatile. From one to the other day several ten thousand pilots got unemployed. You are dependent on the profitability of your airline. If an airline cannot cope with a crisis or suffers from bad management pilots are not needed anymore.

PRO: No office day is the same and you do not take any left work home. You can enjoy the good reputation of being a pilot and you get paid to look out of the window. 

CON: 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.

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.

You often have free time during the week when the majority of the people has to work and has no time. But one aspect I exceptionally like about the job is that you do not take any work home.

PRO: 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 working. 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?

CON: You are not home. About half of the month you are not at home, so you will not be able to attend all family and friend events. It is not possible to attend weekly classes regularly like language or dancing classes. 

Layovers 🗺

In the past 12 years I have been to hundreds of different locations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East 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. The destinations were varying all the time as a private jet pilot. I really liked the fact that I got to choose the crew hotel myself. You can imagine that I did not stay in the worst places. 😉

PRO: 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. (airline pilot)

CON: When the network is limited you get to stay at the same destination more often. (airline pilot)

Working hours ⏰

The pilot job has probably one of the most irregular working hours. Aviation does not know weekends or public holidays. There are some days you only have one flight and there are others you have up to five legs. Instead of four duty hours up to 16. Fortunately, I did not have to deal with jet lag, since I have been flying mostly within Europe. As a private jet pilot, I flew primarily during the day since VIPs do not like to get up early. As an airline pilot, I also got to fly at night, which is a lot of stress for your body and you have to fight against fatigue.

PRO: 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.

CON: 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.

Crew life 🥳

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. Crews all share the same passion which connects everyone easily. To guarantee 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. Nevertheless, there is a lack of diversity in aviation.

Especially in the cockpit, you will not find many members of the LGBTQ community.

I have met great, open-minded, and modern thinking pilots. Most of them belonged to the younger generation. Unfortunately, there is still a huge percentage of pilots that are not tolerant and have an old fashioned mindset when it comes to sexuality.

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

CON: 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. 

Upgrade 👨🏼‍✈️

One aspect I really love about my job is that you constantly need to learn to be the best pilot possible. Whether it is to improve your flying skills or to review system related knowledge. Aviation requires you to be up to date on 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.

PRO: You never stop learning as a pilot. That is a really nice fact which makes this job so interesting.

CON: Switching companies means you lose your seniority. So you usually have to fly as first officer again even though you flew as captain before. Becoming a captain can take up to 10 years.

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 studied in parallel to the flight school. Keep this in mind when deciding to become a commercial pilot.

Which downside would you like the least? Please let me in a comment below and do not forget to like this blog post. 

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick


change when flying post covid-19

6 Things That Will Change When You Fly Post Covid-19

Hey My Dear Aviator,

Have you considered how flights will be after Covid? Your beloved Aviation industry is one that has definitely been affected by the pandemic and has changed it irrevocably. For this reason, there are many shifts and changes in the experience for passengers, in the operation, for crews and in aviation in general. When researching the way Covid has affected aviation in the aftermath of the pandemic, I found 6 major things that will change when you fly post Covid-19. Some shifts we will embrace and enjoy, but others make us wish the pandemic never happened.

change when flying post covid-19

1. More Stringent Hygiene Regulations on Board and at the Airport 👮🏼‍♀️

When you think about it, there are a number of areas in the airport that require physical contact from baggage check-in to security points. These areas will likely be completely redesigned to eliminate contact as much as possible and maintain social distance as well. In major airports, you may have observed self-drop offs for baggage, self-check-ins and self-scanning ID stations. This will be the future airport experience. One step further I could also imagine that there will be less security personnel due to more automation. We become more and more transparent through digitization. So, maybe one day those who hold a trustworthy record could possibly pass through security without getting checked. 

However, after the pandemic, I think the lines/queues will be longer, to enforce social distancing, and checkpoints could take significantly longer, as travellers will need to separate more of their carry-ons, so that bag searches are less necessary.

In my opinion, we will be required to wear PPE for some time due to the nature of airports and aeroplanes. Space for travellers is limited and the ICAO might implement this as an extra safety measure once countries get rid of the mask requirements. 

I am sincerely hoping that on board cleaning policies change tremendously. Who hasn’t taken a seat and found a dirty cushion, dirty tray tables and smeared window blinds? Airlines will take more care to present a clean impression of the cabin to their passengers and they will promote their disinfection process as a selling point.

I don’t believe that disembarking the plane by rows will have a future. However, I would favour a more speedy process, also for embarkation, through more boarding bridges. This would help to reduce contact with other passengers,

change when flying post covid-19

Outdated Business Class of Lufthansa

2. Updated Cabin Configuration 💺

We have been seeing a change in cabin configuration already over the past few years. First Class cabins have been decreasing, Business Class cabins have been improved and Premium Economy cabins have gotten bigger.  

Passengers demand more comfort, more seat separation and more space from fellow passengers. However the extra pricing for a Business Class is too much for most travellers. That’s why the Premium Economy is a great alternative in between both classes. You get more comfort and a better flight experience for a reasonable price. So, for extra safety and comfort, more and more passengers will book Premium Economy.

Airlines will also need to configure the layout of their cabins to address the increased share of leisure traffic. At the simplest level, lower numbers of business travellers may lead to smaller Business Class cabins. So the layout will shift to a bigger Premium Economy Cabin and/or development of Business Class seats more suitable for travelling as couples or groups.

change when flying post covid-19

In the future Business Class will be First Class with more comfort

change when flying post covid-19

Pay for everything model will be implemented for all booking classes

3. Everything, Everything and Everything will Cost Extra 💸

Thanks to low-cost airlines, the policy of “everything has to be paid as an extra” has been implemented in the aviation industry. Premium airlines have refused as long as possible to adapt to this model. But since they appear to have lost clients and could not keep up any longer with the pricing of other operators, passengers have had to start paying for extras. 

Even premium airlines like Lufthansa, do not offer any free drinks or snacks on their short-haul flight anymore. Taking this further, passengers will have to pay extra for EVERYTHING, whether it be luggage, carry-on baggage, priority boarding, catering onboard or seat reservations. This is already the case on most short and medium-haul flights. It will also be the future for long-haul flights to keep the ticket price low and make more revenue from any passengers. 

I do favour this trend because I think this way you can personally shape your flight experience. It will be more individual and fit your needs. Even in business class, I could imagine that you have to pre-order your meal and pay for it extra. Why not? So, less catering will be thrown away after the flight. 

BLOG: Why You Should NOT fly with TAP Business Class?

change when flying post covid-19
change when flying post covid-19

4. More Expensive Flight Tickets 🎫 

The aviation industry received state-provided aid, credit lines, and bond issuances, which collectively amassed more than $180 billion worth of debt in 2020. This figure is equivalent to more than half of total annual revenues that year. These costs will need to be recouped. Therefore, we’ll likely see ticket prices rise. To keep ticket prices low or at the same level, airlines may potentially calculate extras within their ticket price. E.g. to take hand-luggage on board. In my opinion, ticket prices need to be high so that they can pay fair loans, reduce the environmental footprint and safety standards can be at the highest level. 

change when flying post covid-19

5. More Hassle due to Certificates and Tests 📲

When travelling out of the country, a passport may not simply be sufficient anymore. We can experience this already. Despite an ID, you may need a vaccination certificate, a test and most of the time you need to register in the country where you are flying to. Additionally, you have to take care when flying via a third country, which may have totally different regulations. This can get quite confusing for travellers to know which documents they need for their journey. 

Digitalization will continue to transform the travel experience. Mobile apps will be used to store travellers’ vaccine certificates, COVID-19 test results and entry forms. Carriers will invest in the customer experience and IT automation – such as making check-in and boarding processes more seamless. Travellers will need to upload all documents before the flight and the system will check it and grant them access to check-in online. At the moment everything needs to be checked at the airport which causes long queues. 

change when flying post covid-19

6. More Leisure Destinations on the Flight Plans 🏝

Leisure trips will fuel the recovery of the industry, whereas business aviation travel will take longer to recover, and even then, it is estimated that it will only recover to approximately 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels by 2024. Remote work and other flexible working arrangements are likely to remain in some form post-pandemic and people will take fewer corporate trips.

This will cause more leisure destinations to be on the flight plans of airlines. We are likely to fly to vacation hotspots more directly. I am hoping that post-pandemic consequences will change a lot at Berlin Brandenburg airport. Let’s see if the disaster airport and other airports will soon offer more direct flights, not just going to major hubs.

change when flying post covid-19

Boeing B777 of SAUDIA

Conclusion 🛫

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. There seems to be some relief at the moment, but the process to recovery will still take several years. Multiple longer-running trends have been accelerated, such as digitization and the phasing out of less-efficient aircraft. Burdened by debt, many carriers have depleted their cash reserves. But the forecast is not without positivity and hope. Travel will become greener and more efficient, and we are all itching to travel again without restrictions.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post: “6 things that will change when you fly post Covid-19” with my outlook. Please do not forget to like and comment below telling me what else will change in the aviation industry. 

Happy and safe future landings!

Your PilotPatrick


TAP Business Class review

Why You Should NOT fly with TAP Business Class?

Hey my dear Aviator,

Flying Business Class is indeed exclusive and special. Nobody wants to fly cramped up in Economy on a long-range flight! Once you have tasted the comfort of flying upfront, you don’t ever want to fly in the back anymore.

 (So my advice: Do not ever taste the sweet cheery of Business Class) NO just kidding: You should if you have the chance to! However, the pandemic has changed a lot about this service class. So here is why you should not fly with TAP Business Class.

TAP Business Class review

Airbus A330-900neo

My First time with TAP Air Portugal 🛫

I have flown numerous times on short-haul flights with TAP Air Portugal, which is a member of Star Alliance. In the beginning of 2022 it was m  first time to experience their Business Class service on a flight to Cancún in Mexiko. I was very excited for this flight since flight reports differed a lot online. So I was eager to come to my own opinion, especially because it was their new Business Class service on board an Airbus A330-900neo. Unfortunately, I had to find out that not only was I surprised, I was also very disappointed.

TAP Business Class review
TAP Business Class review

TAP Business Class A330-900neo

Why Should You Not Fly TAP Business Class

Business Class Crew 👩🏼‍✈️👨🏼‍✈️

They were present but not really attentive.  Most of them are very friendly but you could feel that they were not really enjoying their job. This always makes me kind of sad to see. Of course, I am taking lots of photographic content during the flight. I am an aviation blogger and I always respect the privacy of other passengers. But what I don’t like is when a crew member approaches me right after boarding to tell me that it is not allowed to take photos without greeting me.  Why not say: “Hello, welcome on board. Thanks for being a passenger in Business Class. Please try to avoid disturbing other passengers while taking photographs!”.  I would then have felt a little differently towards them.

Please bear in mind this is my personal opinion of this specific flight. The crew makes a huge impact on the experience, so it could be that the crew is totally different on the next flight. Indeed it was the case on the return flight. I definitely felt much more welcomed on board.

TAP Business Class review

Onboard Service 🍽

Service? Which service? The soft products in Business Class (service, food, drink amenity kits, etc.) make such a huge impact on the overall experience. The service only took place to an absolute minimum. There was no boarding drink. I don’t know if it is connected to the pandemic situation or the harsh cost-saving program of TAP. Many airlines have been impacted by the ongoing crisis.

Maybe it is a combination of several things.  However, before the flight, the flight attendants were running up and down the aisle like crazy. So reducing passenger interaction cannot be the reason. 

In general, they were not very attentive during the flight. I either had to call them or go to the galley to get a drink. It was very seldom that they came to me to ask me if I would like anything else. 

AND OMG! It took them so long to start with the service after the takeoff. Especially since they did not offer a boarding drink. 1,5 hours passed before they served the first drink. I think that is not acceptable.

 

Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an

 

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

Lounge 🛋

TAP offers a lounge at their hub in Lisbon, Portugal. However, there is only one lounge, which is situated at the Schengen side of the airport. After arriving at Lisbon airport from Berlin I had about 2 hours between the flights. So plenty of time to visit the lounge. Since I did not receive any information about TAP’s service, I just followed the signs to the international departures. I passed passport control and then I looked out for a lounge but I could not find one. The staff at the gate informed me that I had to exit and go back to the Schengen side. All in all, it would take 30 minutes in total, which would leave me a maximum of 30 minutes in the Business Class lounge. So I decided to wait for boarding at the gate. #FAIL

HERE is what you can do during a layover in Lisbon: What To Do In 24 Hours In Lisbon – My Highlights

TAP Business Class review

Food and Drinks 🥂

The pandemic cannot be the reason why the food is not tasty and so limited. It shocked me that the food menu was almost the same as on the short-haul flight to Lisbon. The portions were extremely small and the crew was not able to offer small snacks on a 10-hour flight. 

What shocked me the most: They did not have Champagne on board! #ultimatefail. Instead, they served sparkling wine which was offered as Champagne by the crew. This service should belong to a Business Class experience, like the wings to an aeroplane.

TAP Business Class review
TAP Business Class review

Looking out for that Champagne.

Why Should you fly with TAP Business Class?

Not everything was disappointing, of course. Additionally, I like to exaggerate a bit, I know. There are some great aspects as to why you should fly with TAP in Business Class. 

The New Seat 💺

Onboard the A330-900neo, TAP offers their latest Business Class seat by the brand Recaro. The overall design and layout looks very appealing and modern. You feel comfortable right away. The seating layout 1-2-1, which grants aisle access from every seat, is fantastic. For passengers who travel alone, I recommend the seat which is directly at the window because it offers the most privacy. The seats in the middle, which are close together, are great for couples. However, you do not have a window. The forward cabin is not very big which gives an exclusive feeling.

TAP Business Class review

Seats in the middle are ideal for couples.

TAP Business Class review

More privacy at the window seat.

Ticket price 🎟

The ticket price was definitely one reason why I booked this flight connection to Cancún. One round trip was 1850€ – a very reasonable price for the length of the flight. I use google flights search, as you can select a calendar that shows you the cheapest fares. This is very useful when you are flexible with your travel dates.

A330-900neo ✈️

To fly with the brand new A330-900neo is another reason you should fly with them. It is a mid-size widebody with the lowest seat-mile costs. Designed to be efficient on any sector length, the A330-900 reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 25% compared to previous generation aircraft. You can feel it is a brand new aircraft. Another big plus of this aircraft model is that TAP offers free Wifi for messaging. Data packages are expensive on the other end.

TAP Business Class review

Would I fly with TAP again?

I would say yes in this case as the ticket price is reasonable. 1850 € for a round trip from Berlin to Cancún is okay when you consider an economy ticket is around 800 € which means per way it is 500 € more in Business Class. Due to the pandemic and the cost-saving program of TAP you pay for the seat, the extra baggage allowance, the lounge access, the priority boarding and not for the service, food and drinks on board. 

I hope you find my blog post: “Why Should You NOT fly with TAP Business Class?” helpful for your future travels. Do not forget to like it and leave a comment below. 

Happy and safe landings!

Your PilotPatrick


emirates business class review pandemic

Emirates Business Class Review Pandemic Edition

Anzeige/Cooperation

Dear Aviator,

In times of this pandemic, does it make sense to fly in Business Class? Pre-Covid, flying in Emirates Business Class was a truly luxurious experience with a world class service and lots of amenities for their valued guests. How is the experience now on board, with a pandemic taking place? Which drawbacks can you expect? I will share my personal flight experience with Emirates and let you know about benefits which are now more important than ever. Welcome on board my Emirates Business Class Review Pandemic Edition. 

emirates business class review pandemic

Photography by Manu (Professional photographer & plane spotter)

Pack Your Stuff and Escape

Don‘t you have the desire to pack your suitcase and fly far away to have a timeout from lockdowns and coronas restrictions? In November, I spent an amazing vacation in Dubai – the city of superlatives – where I could enjoy almost a “normal“ life.

MAY INTEREST YOU: “Dubai is open – the most thrilling activties in the city of superlatives

I flew with Emirates in their Business Class from Frankfurt to Dubai. Pre COVID flying Business Class was a luxury experience with a world class service and amenities.

 

Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an

 

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

Stay Safe On Board

The pandemic has not affected my trust in flying with airlines, nor have I felt uneasy or not safe while on board. Airlines and airport operators have implemented lots of measurements and guidelines to make traveling as safe as possible these days. 

MAY INTEREST YOU:How risky is flying during a pandemic?

I tried to be very respectful to other passengers and crew members in terms of keeping social distancing.  But of course, to keep 2 or 1,5 meters social distancing on board is, at times, very difficult. Be respectful as well and follow the guidelines.

emirates business class review pandemic
emirates business class review pandemic
emirates business class review pandemic

Emirates Corona Precautions:

  • Travel hygiene kit (with masks, gloves, disinfection wipes and hand sanitizer)
  • Crew wears a protective uniform (gloves, masks and face shield)
  • Crew interaction is reduced by a different service concept

emirates business class review pandemic

Advantages of Flying Business During a Pandemic

More than ever the Business class can score with its amenities:

  • More space and separation to other passengers.
  • Less people sharing the same lavatories.
  • Less people passing through the aisles.
  • Smaller crowds of people during embarking and disembarking.
  • Cabin crew interacts with fewer passengers.
  • Separate and smaller cabins with fewer passengers.

emirates business class review pandemic
emirates business class review pandemic

My Recommendations On Board

To stay healthy during the flight:

  • The longer the fight, the higher chance of being infected.
  • Avoid walking through the cabin.
  • Wait some time before using the lavatory after a fellow passenger.
  • Take a seat at the window and if possible, avoid sitting next to another passenger.
  • Wear a mask. Preferably a FFP2 standard. 
  • Direct the airflow of the vents onto your lap.
  • Reduce interaction with the crew to a minimum (e.g. order several drinks at the same time).
  • Delay your boarding in case passengers of economy have to board through Business class.

emirates business class review pandemic
emirates business class review pandemic
emirates business class review pandemic

Is it Still Worth Flying in Business Class?

You will still have a spacious seat/a full bed, to get some rest.  The service is still excellent, and the crew is still extremely courteous and friendly. Overall, it is still a luxury experience despite the fact that the mask can become quite annoying after some time. In my case the lounge in Frankfurt was closed due to Corona. The Emirates lounge in DXB was open. However the service war reduced offering pre packed food only. Always check for updates for your flight.

emirates business class review pandemic
emirates business class review pandemic

News News News

Emirates have just revealed its brand new Premium Economy – which is a unique cabin class between Business and Economy. You can enjoy more comfort through more space and a quieter smaller cabin on board the A380. It is considered an affordable product for those who do not want to purchase a Business Class ticket.  On a day flight it is a great option. On a night flight, I would definitely prefer the Business Class Seat since you can convert it to a fully flat bed. Emirates will launch its new product on the London to Dubai route.

emirates business class review pandemic

FAZIT

More than ever the amenities of flying in a spacious Business class seat can be enjoyed. That is why I think that it still makes sense and it is worth it. Especially, in terms of increasing the chances to stay healthy on your journey.

How do you feel about flying at the moment? Please leave me a comment below and do not forget to like this blog post: Emirates Business Class Review Pandemic Edition. 

Safe and healthy travels.

Happy landing!

Your PilotPatrick


pilotpatrick book

Top secret project revealed: I wrote a book for you

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Dear Aviator,

you won’t believe how excited I was to share with you the big news. I really had a hard time keeping this project secret for a very long time. Now I am a little bit relieved that I can finally tell you. You were excited to find out about this secret and I was curious to see your reaction. I still cannot believe it but I wrote a PilotPatrick book.

pilotpatrick book

Why did I write a book?

About two years ago I came up with the idea to write a book. I am used to writing blog posts which comprise about 1000 words but writing a whole book would definitely be on a different level. How would I get started? Where would I sell it? How to structure it? I had so many questions and ideas in my head that I was a little bit overwhelmed by it. It was not a matter of writing material and stories I had to tell, I was concerned where I would find thee time to write my book.

Even though I am “only” 32 years old I already experienced a lot in the aviation world. I wanted to talk about it in more than just a caption on Instagram or an article on my blog. Serious topics which should reach more than “just” my Aviators. The dream and desire to have a book emerged but I had to put it on hold when my Captains upgrade kept me busy. My plan was to keep working on it once I feel comfortable on the left seat of the cockpit.

I guess the publisher Riva knew somehow about my intention when they reached out to me and asked don’t you want to write a book with us?”

How long did it take?

Due to Covid-19 lockdown, I was able to use the time productively for my book. It took about one year from launching the project with the publisher Riva until holding the first printed version in my hands. It might seem like a long time but considering what it takes to write a book it is not really that long. It was an interesting journey until now and I learnt a lot about books in that time. 

 

What is it about?

My glamorously unglamorous life as a jet-set pilot“. I take you on board of my turbulent aviation career with tricky maneuvers and curious passengers. Besides stories you will not believe actually happened, I tell you how I became a pilot and why I became one in the first place. You will get insights into the glamorous world of the rich and famous I have flown around the world  but aviation has also an unglamorous side. Grievances plague an industry which seems to be so glittery. There is also a secret about myself which I have kept below radar and the time has come to talk about it.

pilotpatrick book

READ ABOUT MY TURBULENT AVIATION CAREER SOON AND FIND ABOUT MY BIGGEST SECRET.

When will it be available?

You can already order it on Amazon. The official sales launch is the 13th of October. Book shops like Thalia and Hugendube feature my book as well.

 

In which languages will it be?

The book is available in English and German!

 

Where can I order it?

It is available on Amazon. In case the link does not work in your country, just search for “Pilot Patrick Book” Hugendubel and Thalia have it also available in their online shops and bookstores in Germany. 

 

Will it be available worldwide?

Almost. You can get it in every country which offers Amazon. In case it is not available in your specific country and you desperately want to have it then please send me an email to book@pilotpatrick.com and I will forward it to my publisher.

My project of the heart is revealed and I hope you like the fact that I released a book for you! Trust me the biggest secret is not yet revealed. Order my book now!

Leave me a comment below once you have ordered your piece and do not forget to like the blog post! 🙂

Safe and healthy travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick


KLM Business Class review

KLM Business Class Review: Dreamliner to 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

FOLLOW ME:

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should I visit incredible India

My day at the leading travel trade show 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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Subscribe to my newsletter, if you want to receive a message from me when I posted a new blog, video or event!

3 easy steps to subscribe:

  • Add me as contact: +49 152 52651846
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  • Send me the code “Takeoff”

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

FOLLOW ME:

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Best business class

Best Business Class in the world

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, it is a very long flight down to Cape Town in South Africa. I had the chance to travel in the best Business Class in the world. Even though I was not the pilot, I was really excited to go on that flight. In this blog post, I share my flight experience, give you tips when booking tickets and you can win a high-quality pajama of Mey bodywear. 

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Boeing B777 in Cape Town (CPT)

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How can I afford to fly Business class?

Most commonly it is believed that all crew and airline staff can fly for free or really cheap fares. For me, it is not the case. I have to pay full price for all my flight tickets. On long-haul flights over 8 hours, I try to book Business Class tickets. Of course, it is not cheap. For this round trip, I paid 2200€. This is a lot of money and about three times the price of an Economy ticket. I was pretty much open to fly with any airline, but Qatar Airways was for my travel dates almost 50% less expansive than other airlines. I do not fly long haul very often. That is why I invest in the comfort. Especially when going on vacation.

Tip: Compare prices and adjust travel dates. This way you may be able to save significantly. Sometimes a different airport of departure can help to save as well. Join a loyalty program and collect miles. This way I was able to fly First Class for less than 500€ last year.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18499" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Rimowa Classic flight Cabin trolley

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18504" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Cheers - Excited for my first flight with Qatar Airways

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

How did I do the booking?

I book all my flight tickets direct via the website of the airline. This gives me an extra feeling that the reservation went through and is confirmed. Additionally, I can manage my booking like changing seats and ordering special meals online. Qatar Airways offers the great advantage to reserve the current fare for up to 72 hours. This costs a fee but in my case, this investment was well worth it. I still had to wait for the approval of my leave. When I finalized the booking the fare increased by over 1000€, but I still only paid the old price.

My tip: In general fares are cheaper when you book well in advance. But it is still common that prices may go down just prior to departure. Reasons for that may be low booking numbers or special deals. I suggest subscribing to the newsletter of your favorite airlines so you do not miss any special discounts.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18498" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Business Class Cabin Boeing B777

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18495" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Layover at Doha Airport

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

The Best Business Class in the world

Qatar Airways is the World’s Best Airline at the SKYTRAX 2017 World Airline Awards. Referred to as the “Oscars of the aviation industry”, which is voted by travelers across the world in an annual passenger survey. Furthermore, Qatar Airways won an award for the World’s Best Business Class.

That is why I was really excited to fly with Qatar Airways for the first time. My expectations were high. Especially when flying in their premium product.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18494" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Breakfast in the sky

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18503" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Sky of central Africa

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

The flight experience

I flew from Berlin Tegel via Doha to Cape Town. In total, I was about 16 hours in the sky for each direction. On all four legs, it was a Boeing B777-300. The aircraft are fitted with a 2 class configuration with the premium class up front. The Business Class consist of only 24 seats making the cabin really quiet. It is a 2-2-2 seating configuration.

The seat

Unfortunately, it was still the "old" Business Class seat on all flights. Qatar Airways recently introduced the Qsuite, which they call first in business. I really hoped that I will have the chance to test their new product.

Their "old" seat can keep up with any other Business Class seat. The extra-wide seats convert to a fully flat bed with enough space for your shoulders and feet. The rows are so far apart that they ensure privacy, space, and storage. Seats also have a massage setting and fully adjustable armrests, with precision controls to create the position that is right for you.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18492" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Flying in a Mey pyjama

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18502" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

City Center of Doha on departure

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18501" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Business Class catering

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Entertainment and service

The entertainment program seems endless. Food can be ordered whenever you want. The catering was all right. The excellent service made up for it. Especially the return flight was a lot of fun because the purser (head of the cabin) recognized me from my social media channels. Together with the crew, I did a boomerang for my Instagram story.

Tip: Stop in the amazing Business Class lounge in Doha. I had a layover of more than 7 hours at the airport. I went for dinner, took a shower and rested in private quite rooms. On board, I enjoyed row 2 the most. This row had no missing window, was not in the bulkhead and the full storage was available.

 

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18497" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Doha Business Class lounge

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18496" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"][/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Was it worth it?

Totally! My vacation already started on board and I arrived well rested at my destination. It is always hard to say goodbye to a great vacation. But knowing that I will be flying back comfortably, I am actually looking forward to my return flight.

Two years ago I flew to Cape Town in Lufthansa's Business Class. I paid about the same price for this flight.  The connection via Munich airport was a lot quicker, but the flight with Qatar Airways was a whole different experience.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18515" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Thanks for the amazing flight with you

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Give Away

On both flights, I was flying through the night. MEY, a well known German fashion brand for day- and nightwear, provided me with a comfortable pyjama. I am already a big fan of their undershirts which I wear underneath my uniform. But now I love to sleep in their pyjamas as well. You can win one fancy MEY pyjama in my favorite color blue worth 120€. Additionally, I will send you an amenity kit with a personal note.

 

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18526" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Giveaway!

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18664" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

The lucky winner is Jens!

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

 

Here are the steps to join the contest:

  • subscribe to my newsletter with your email
  • leave me a comment just underneath this article with your clothing size
  • subscribe to my YouTube channel

I will randomly pick a winner on the 28th of February 2018.

Happy landings and good luck!

Your PilotPatrick

Follow me: 

[social size = "large"]

[/spb_text_block]


Best business class

Flug in der besten Business Class der Welt

[spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, it is a very long flight down to Cape Town in South Africa. I had the chance to travel in the best Business Class in the world. Even though I was not the pilot, I was really excited to go on that flight. In this blog post, I share my flight experience, give you tips when booking tickets and you can win a high-quality pajama of Mey bodywear. 

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18507" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Boeing B777 in Cape Town (CPT)

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

How can I afford to fly Business class?

Most commonly it is believed that all crew and airline staff can fly for free or really cheap fares. For me, it is not the case. I have to pay full price for all my flight tickets. On long-haul flights over 8 hours, I try to book Business Class tickets. Of course, it is not cheap. For this round trip, I paid 2200€. This is a lot of money and about three times the price of an Economy ticket. I was pretty much open to fly with any airline, but Qatar Airways was for my travel dates almost 50% less expansive than other airlines. I do not fly long haul very often. That is why I invest in the comfort. Especially when going on vacation.

Tip: Compare prices and adjust travel dates. This way you may be able to save significantly. Sometimes a different airport of departure can help to save as well. Join a loyalty program and collect miles. This way I was able to fly First Class for less than 500€ last year.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18499" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Rimowa Classic flight Cabin trolley

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18504" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Cheers - Excited for my first flight with Qatar Airways

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

How did I do the booking?

I book all my flight tickets direct via the website of the airline. This gives me an extra feeling that the reservation went through and is confirmed. Additionally, I can manage my booking like changing seats and ordering special meals online. Qatar Airways offers the great advantage to reserve the current fare for up to 72 hours. This costs a fee but in my case, this investment was well worth it. I still had to wait for the approval of my leave. When I finalized the booking the fare increased by over 1000€, but I still only paid the old price.

My tip: In general fares are cheaper when you book well in advance. But it is still common that prices may go down just prior to departure. Reasons for that may be low booking numbers or special deals. I suggest subscribing to the newsletter of your favorite airlines so you do not miss any special discounts.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18498" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Business Class Cabin Boeing B777

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18495" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Layover at Doha Airport

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

The Best Business Class in the world

Qatar Airways is the World’s Best Airline at the SKYTRAX 2017 World Airline Awards. Referred to as the “Oscars of the aviation industry”, which is voted by travelers across the world in an annual passenger survey. Furthermore, Qatar Airways won an award for the World’s Best Business Class.

That is why I was really excited to fly with Qatar Airways for the first time. My expectations were high. Especially when flying in their premium product.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18494" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Breakfast in the sky

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18503" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Sky of central Africa

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

The flight experience

I flew from Berlin Tegel via Doha to Cape Town. In total, I was about 16 hours in the sky for each direction. On all four legs, it was a Boeing B777-300. The aircraft are fitted with a 2 class configuration with the premium class up front. The Business Class consist of only 24 seats making the cabin really quiet. It is a 2-2-2 seating configuration.

The seat

Unfortunately, it was still the "old" Business Class seat on all flights. Qatar Airways recently introduced the Qsuite, which they call first in business. I really hoped that I will have the chance to test their new product.

Their "old" seat can keep up with any other Business Class seat. The extra-wide seats convert to a fully flat bed with enough space for your shoulders and feet. The rows are so far apart that they ensure privacy, space, and storage. Seats also have a massage setting and fully adjustable armrests, with precision controls to create the position that is right for you.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18492" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Flying in a Mey pyjama

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18502" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

City Center of Doha on departure

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18501" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Business Class catering

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Entertainment and service

The entertainment program seems endless. Food can be ordered whenever you want. The catering was all right. The excellent service made up for it. Especially the return flight was a lot of fun because the purser (head of the cabin) recognized me from my social media channels. Together with the crew, I did a boomerang for my Instagram story.

Tip: Stop in the amazing Business Class lounge in Doha. I had a layover of more than 7 hours at the airport. I went for dinner, took a shower and rested in private quite rooms. On board, I enjoyed row 2 the most. This row had no missing window, was not in the bulkhead and the full storage was available.

 

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18497" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Doha Business Class lounge

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18496" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"][/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Was it worth it?

Totally! My vacation already started on board and I arrived well rested at my destination. It is always hard to say goodbye to a great vacation. But knowing that I will be flying back comfortably, I am actually looking forward to my return flight.

Two years ago I flew to Cape Town in Lufthansa's Business Class. I paid about the same price for this flight.  The connection via Munich airport was a lot quicker, but the flight with Qatar Airways was a whole different experience.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18515" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Thanks for the amazing flight with you

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Give Away

On both flights, I was flying through the night. MEY, a well known German fashion brand for day- and nightwear, provided me with a comfortable pyjama. I am already a big fan of their undershirts which I wear underneath my uniform. But now I love to sleep in their pyjamas as well. You can win one fancy MEY pyjama in my favorite color blue worth 120€. Additionally, I will send you an amenity kit with a personal note.

 

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18526" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Giveaway!

[/spb_image] [spb_image image="18664" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Jens is the lucky winner!

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Here are the steps to join the contest:

  • subscribe to my newsletter with your email
  • leave me a comment just underneath this article with your clothing size
  • subscribe to my YouTube channel

I will randomly pick a winner on the 28th of February 2018.

Happy landings and good luck!

Your PilotPatrick

Follow me: 

[social size = "large"]

[/spb_text_block]


A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

[spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, one year ago I was offered to fly for a different company. Switching jobs not only implied to get trained on a new aircraft type but also to get to know a new operation. I started my aviation career as First Officer on a Citation XLS business jet. Now I am flying the wide-body aircraft A300. I passed my initial line check three months ago and I have flown over 200 hours on the Airbus so far. I thought this is a good time to compare a working day of a private jet pilot with an airline pilot. Find out in my conclusion if I finally prefer one type of operation. 

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="16440" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Citation XLS + in Dublin

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Getting to and from work

Private Jet

As a private jet pilot, I could choose my home base within Europe. The aircraft returned rarely to its home base in Germany, so it was operational wise more convenient to send the crew by an airline, rental car or train to the current location of the aircraft.  Most of the time I proceeded out of Tegel or Schönefled airport to Nizza, Paris or London.

Airline Pilot

Usually, I fly on duty to and from my home base. Sometimes I also have to jumpseat on a flight of my company to get to work or to go home. Unfortunately, I have fewer proceedings flights with other companies. That way I am collecting fewer miles and I will soon lose my Lufthansa frequent traveler status. On the other end, the time-consuming proceeding flights are now past.

 

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="18109" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Croove - New carsharing service

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Absent from home

Both jobs require being absent from home about half a month. Therefore I have decided four years ago not to own car. Before I only used it to drive to the airport and the rest of the time it was parked uselessly on the street.

In case I need a car there are many alternative means. Like the new carsharing service, called "Croove". It is a private carsharing platform so you rent all kind of car models from private persons. You can also rent your own car profitable when you do not need it. It all works via an application for your personal device (Appstore / google play) and you are fully insured like with any regular car rental service. It is really convenient for me. I can save money on the rental price and I can also use their valet service which brings and picks up the car e.g. at the airport.

 

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Croove - Handing over the vehicle

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Schedule/ Reachability

Private Jet

I usually received the flight schedule for the next day the evening before. The business aviation is a volatile branch and therefore changes can occur hourly. That I why the company provided me with a phone, so they can reach me 24 hours. A working day comprised only a small part of flying. The major part was caring about the passengers, booking transport, ordering catering and organizing a place to sleep. On duty, I liked to be flexible and I found it exciting not knowing where the next flight would take me. I remember one time sitting in cold Moskau and I said to my colleague: "A flight in the south to Mallorca or Ibiza would be nice!". Two hours later we received a call informing us that we fly to Mallorca and Ibiza. That was a funny coincidence.

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Happy crew = happy landings = happy VIP passengers

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Airline

My flight schedule is published one month ahead. This allows much better planning. I know already my destinations and flights with exact departure and arrival times well ahead of time. Aviation is influenced by many different factors that is why changes can occur at an airline as well. In case there is an update I will be reminded my an online platform or via an SMS on my phone. I can fully concentrate on my tasks of a first officer and I do not get distracted from loading passengers bags, receiving catering and taking care of special passengers requests.

 

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Checking my flight schedule online

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Flight hours / duty times

Private Jet

In my career as a private jet pilot, I probably waited longer on passengers, fuel, and catering than I actually flew the aircraft. On a typical working day in the high season, I flew up to 5 legs a day coupled with long waiting periods in between flights. The preparation and the postprocessing are extensive. At busy airports like Nice, France, we often arrived two hours before an outbound flight to be fully ready for the scheduled departure. After the last flight of the day the aircraft still had to be cleaned and maybe refueled for the next day.  Most of the time there was some catering left, so we could enjoy a meal together in the cabin. In six years as a private jet pilot, I flew about 2000 hours.

More about a day of a private jet pilot here in my series.

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First days as a Frist Officer on the Citation XLS private jet

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Airline 

Reporting time of the crew is one hour before the flight and I currently fly a maximum of three sectors a day. The departure times vary a lot. I had to get to used to fly really early in the morning and late at night. In this type of operation, I will gather about 450 hours a year. This is still not a lot when you think about low-cost airline pilots, who fly up to 900 hours a year. On a duty day, I know my exact flight schedule and I know the location I will be spending the night. The waiting time on turn around is decent. It is absolutely bearable when you compare to passengers who let you waiting for an unknown period. After the last flight of the day, we already leave the aircraft about 15 minutes later.

 

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Underneath an Airbus A380

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Layovers/hotels

Private Jet

The final destination of a working day was not always sure when we left the hotel. Sometimes it was a real surprise in which city we would sleep at night. Since the business is so volatile we were not allowed to book a hotel until we received the "go" of the company. I am the master of hotels and it was usually my job to find an appropriate place to sleep. I liked that we as a crew could choose the hotel ourselves. But on the other hand, we wasted a lot of time, searching for a place to stay.I flew to many different destinations within Europe and I got to know a wide range of airports. I flew to many different destinations within Europe and I got to know a wide range of airports.

Airline pilot

Like as a private jet pilot I mostly fly within Europe but now only to certain destinations. In my first 200 hours, I almost got to know all airports within the network. Hotels and transport are organized by the company.

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Layover in Barcelona, Spain

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Do I have a preference?

I can only speak about my impressions and experiences I gained in both operations in the last seven years of my aviation career. The picture might look totally different with other airlines.

The private jet and airline operation differ a lot. Both are enjoyable.

As a private jet pilot, I spent most of the time waiting and duty times were lengthy. Whereas an airline pilot flies more in fewer duty hours. Everything is more organized and you do not waste time organizing catering, booking hotels and ordering transport. But I am missing the VIP catering and the private terminals, which also offered comfortable lounges for the crew.

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Private jet or airline pilot?

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One fact which I liked about the business aviation was that I flew too many different destinations and I got to know challenging airports. On the other hand, the business is very volatile. That means you can expect changes on short notice. Now I have fixed schedule and I know how much rest I have in the end. I can really plan with the time in between duties to do sightseeing and go on tours.

In my opinion, the business aviation was a really good school because I had to be independent and well organized to complete more than the task of flying the airplane. I still think that the airline operation is more relaxed and I really like the fact that I can now fully concentrate on my tasks of a first officer.

 

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If you could be a pilot for a day would you rather be a private jet pilot or an airline pilot? Please leave me a comment below and do not forget to subscribe to my blog with your email.

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick 

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