flying in airberlin business cass

Air Berlin Business Class review

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"As much as I love to fly myself I also enjoy the time as passenger, especially when traveling comfortably in an airplane."

My last long range flight in business class was with Lufthansa to Cape Town last January. That is why I was super excited to fly with Air Berlin in their business class for a spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean. Air Berlin offers non stop connections from Berlin and Düsseldorf to destinations in North America, Middle America and to Abu Dhabi.

The outbound connection was with a short layover in Düsseldorf. The flight AB7446 departed at 09:50 to Punta Cana (PUJ) and touched down in paradise already at 14:30. The return flight AB7315 was nonstop back to Berlin departing at 16:50. Read my review about the flight experience in Air Berlin's business class.

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Seat

The business class cabin is Air Berlin's premium product since they do not offer a first class. The business class cabin is located in the front section of their A330 long haul fleet. With only 19 seats the cabin is really intime and tranquil. That is a big plus compared to other major airlines, where the cabin is much bigger and noisier. All business class seats offer direct aisle access and convert to a fully flat bed. I am 1,86 m tall and I could fully stretch out. I could lay comfortable on the site and on my back, but I found the seat width a little bit too narrow.

My seat on the outward was 4K which was situated directly at the window providing extra privacy and extra shoulder width due to the curvature of the cabin. A seat at the aisle has the advantage that it is easier to get in and out. The 6 seats in the middle I recommend only to couples traveling together since the seats are quite close to each other.

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Unfortunately my inflight entertainment was not working properly on both flights. I found that the storage for personal belongings was not sufficient. But good news from the ITB this week. Air Berlin presented their new business class seat, which they have modified to be even more comfortable. The current configuration will stay the same.

Service

One of the best food and beverage service I have had on board of a plane so far. The meals where delicious, hot and well presented. The food and beverage menu was rich in variety. I really liked the fact that I could have an espresso to my dessert and snacks in between meals. Since the front cabin is small the service is individual like in a restaurant. There are no big trollies moving around for food and drinks. In my opinion there was a little bit too much meat on the menu. But in case you are vegetarian or vegan you can always request special meals prior the flight (also in economy)

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Entertainment

The inflight entertainment offers music, show, games, movies and much more. The selection of movies is not the biggest but it is well enough for a 10 hour flight. My movie recommendation: Suicide Squad and Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar. The headset is comfortable to wear and reduces background noise quite well.

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Air Berlin exquisite

Air Berlin offers all passengers who book an economy ticket to bid on available business class seats. This online service is called airberlin equisite. The price is completely set by yourself. 12 hours prior to departure you will find out whether the bid was successful. I used this kind of auction and was lucky to fly in business class to Miami. The upgrade was around 500€ (one way)

My vacation already started when boarding the aircraft. For me it is luxury to stretch out and have a good sleep in a flat position on board. The high price was definitely worth it since I only stayed for six nights in Punta Cana. This is how I could reduce my jet lag!

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Where to book?
www.airberlin.com

Where to fly?
Non stop from Berlin and Düsseldorf:  Miami (Mia), Los Angeles (LAX), Abu Dhabi (AHU), New York (JFK), Punta Cana (PUJ), Havanna (HAV )  Cancun (CUN), Chicago (ORD) ...

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Amenities in business class

  • Welcome drink
  • Amenity Kit with cosmetics
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Food and drink menu
  • Inflight Enterainment
  • Priority boarding
  • Lounge access
  • higher baggage allowance

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Insider tips

  • Reserve a seat free of charge when booking your ticket
  • Exquisite: You can bit on available business class seats
  • XL Economy seats offer more space in economy class
  • Sign up for top bonus to collect miles for free flights

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Where is your next flight taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Playa de Barceloneta Barcelona

Living in Barcelona +healthy food and insider guide

I always wanted to live in a city at the beach with sunny weather. That is why I decided to move my home base from Berlin to Barcelona last summer. In the beginning, my plan was to stay longer than three months but then my pilot career changed everything. Read about my experience living in Barcelona and find insider sightseeing tips.

Luckily my former employee had an open base concept which allowed crews to live within Europe where ever they wanted to as long an airport was located in the vicinity. I have been to Barcelona many times during my journeys as a private jet pilot and I felt in love with this city right away. I was fascinated by the architecture, the people and the good vibes. Whenever I returned for a night stop I realized more and more that I could imagine living there. Last summer I fulfilled this. After a week on tour, I did not end in Berlin but in Barcelona with one suitcase. Hola Barcelona. It was a super strange feeling, but from the first minute, I already felt home.

sight seeing
View of Barcelona from mountain Tibidabo

I found a nice room in a big apartment on Idealista. It was completely furnished had an ensuite bathroom and the location was right in the heart of the old town called Barrio Gotic. The idea was to do a test phase of three months in this apartment since I have never lived in a shared flat before.

I lived in a really narrow (3 meters) street called Carrer Petritxol in a building which was over 700 years old.  Compared to the tight construction of the houses the apartment was really big. Thousands of people moved through this street because it was one of the most beautiful and historic streets in Gotic.  It was Picasso, who had his gallery on this street and it was Salvador Dali who had his coffee in a Granja café. It felt surreal to live at such a historic place.

famous and historic Carrer de Petritxol in Barcelona
Living in the Carrer de Petritxol

The culture of Barcelona is so rich and the people are really proud of Catalunya. I was fascinated by the number of cultural events and that all age classes carry on the tradition. La Merce was the biggest and most spectacular festival I could attend. It is held in honor of Mare de Deu de la Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona. I watch the groups building their towers of human beings and watched parades of their famous oversized dolls. The festival ended with the correfoc (fire run), where people danced in fireworks. No joke. I was right with them.

cultural events in Barcelona
La Marce festival in Barcelona

My plan was to stay longer, but then my pilot career changed everything. I need to move back to Germany to start my job with the new employee and to do my type rating on the A300-600. I was sad on one hand, but on the other, I was happy about the big step in my career. Luckily I could spend the entire October in Barcelona without working. Personally, this was the most beautiful time. It was not too hot and not too crowded by tourists. This month I did things I always wanted to do. I went to have surf lessons two times a week and every second day I attended private Spanish lessons.

pilot patrick surfing in Barcelona
Surf lesson at the Playa Barceloneta in October

Insider tips

Barcelona is a great city to do sight seeing. Around every corner, you will discover something new. I recommend renting a scooter to do sight seeing but only when you feel comfortable driving in high traffic situations. Moto rent offers affordable prices. A scooter gives you so much freedom to go to different places in a minimum amount of time.

moto rent in Barcelona
Sight seeing with the scooter on top of Montjuic hill

Gaudi

Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. His architecture is world famous. Unfortunately, the entry prices to most landmarks are quite expensive and the queues long. In my opinion, it is already enough to gaze the impressive exterior. Take a walk through the famous Parc Güell and have a fantastic view over the city. I visited the interior of the Sagrada Familia. I bought tickets at a hotel reception so I did not have to wait in line. A visit to the tomb of Gaudi in the crypt is for free!

beautiful architecture of Gaudis house Battló
Casa Batlló of Gaudi in Barcelona

For outfit details please visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric. I am constantly updating my page.

Barrio Gotic

Take a stroll through the oldest part of town without any particular destination. Walk through Carrer de Petrixol. Stop at a famous Granja Dulcinea for a coffee or even a hot chocolate with churros. To have a spectacular view over Barcelona ascend the bell tower of the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi.

EL Born

My favorite part of town. Many restaurants, bars and boutiques in unique streets. Visit "El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria" for free. It displays the old fundaments of the city and you can explore the history of Barcelona.

Turó del Carmel

A must visit if you want to have the best view over Barcelona and the sea. Turó del Carmel is a hill with a bunker on top located Best time is during sunset and sunrise.

enjoying the city of Barcelona
Viewpoint from the Bunker del Carmel

Other highlights:

Montjuïc Castle
Palau Nacional 
Montserrat mountain
Picasso Museum
Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona

Even three months were not sufficient to see everything of Barcelona. The city satisfies every interest. Culture, entertainment, and relaxation. I really loved to take a walk along the beach of Barceloneta during sunset. The atmosphere, the colors and the scenery are unique.

Don't do that 

  • visit the La Boqueria on La Rambla (too crowded and touristic)
  • be negligent with your valuables
  • go too early to dinner most restaurants are still closed
  • rely on taxis to get around in the city on the weekend

My healthy eating guide

As you know I am a foodie pilot and I am a big fan of healthy and tasty meals. Barcelona offers many diverse places and there is much more than tapas and paellas.

healthy clean raw food in El Born Barcelona
Raw lunch at the Blue project Café

Teresa's Carles: Vegetarian food and juices (only indoor/more for dinner) El Raval

Teresa's: Vegetarian café with healthy snacks and juices (breakfast, brunch, lunch) El Raval

Flax and Kale: Healthy restaurant offering a diverse menu (best for brunch and dinner) Make a reservation and request a table on their outdoor rooftop garden El Raval

Petit Brot: completely raw café, daily menus and juices (breakfast and lunch) El Raval

Casa Gispert: Dried fruits, nuts and so much more. Best dried mangos I ever had. El Born

BeBo cold pressed: Tasty healthy juices, raw snacks (more for to go) Eixample

Chaitea house food: trendy restaurant with healthy meal options Eixample

Barraca: seafood and paella overlooking the beach of Barceloneta (lunch and dinner)

Cafè Jaime Beriestain: high-class food in a concept restaurant (more for dinner) Eixample

Nubafancy restaurant with live DJ, nice interior and outside seating (more for dinner)

My resume living in Barcelona

After three months in Barcelona, I love the city even more. I really enjoyed the Mediterranean lifestyle. Everything was a little bit more relaxed and when it got too hot shops closed for a siesta. Sometimes I had the impression that it was too crowded (mainly because of tourists) Catalan or Spanish are not a requirement to live in Barcelona. Since they are proud of the Catalan language they rather speak English with you than in Spanish.

Playa de Barceloneta Barcelona
The Beach of Barceloneta

Fantastic weather and a great variety of restaurants and cultural events are a big plus. Organic products and the lease for a nice apartment are quite expensive. To sum it up the quality of life is extremely high. Especially because a beautiful beach is only one-foot step away. My dream would be to live in Berlin and Barcelona!

What is your favorite city in Europe?

Your Pilot Patrick

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how to deal with jet lag

How to deal with jet lag + my travel essentials

I am back in cold and rainy Germany after six wonderful days of vacation in the Caribbean. The time difference between my hometown and the Dominican Republic was five hours. My return flight was during the night and landed early in the morning in Berlin Tegel. The the next night I was already working again. Many of you wondered how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post, I want to share my experiences over the years and give you a list of travel essentials to fly more comfortable.

Thumbs up - next trip you will deal better with a jetlag

How to deal with jet lag

One of the best ways to mitigate the effects a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. Most operators offer seats which fully convert into a flat bed to have a good rest arriving refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge.

Lie flat bed in Lufthansa Business Class, Seat 3A A340-600

Besides a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of a jet lag. When booking your ticket reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed up in the middle seat. The website seat guru helps to find good seats. Via the flight search function, the system will show the cabin layout of your aircraft. I generally can recommend booking a seat at the window, so you do not need to stand up for everyone, the traffic of the aisle does not bother you and you are in control of the window blind.

Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml still water or juice. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine during the meal helps to fall asleep easier.

It is really important that you move enough during the flight. Do exercises on the way to the lavatory or even in your seat which eliminate the risk of thrombosis as well. The inflight entertainment of most airlines show exercises you can do during the flight.

travel essential amenity kit long range flight
My travel essentials for a long range flight

My travel essentials:

  • Take hand disinfection gel. Airplanes are dirty, after using the lavatory I clean my hands with hand disinfection. You can buy them at convenience stores or online here.
  • Wear thick socks. So you can take off your shoes and your feet stay warm
  • Take your own small pillow. I think the innovative pillow of POCKINDO® could be an awesome travel gadget.
  • Use noise canceling headphones. This is a must for every frequent traveler. They make traveling a lot more comfortable. You feel like in your own little word without hearing the outside noise. I use the in ear Bose Noise Cancelling headphones.
  • Use ear plugs by OHROPAX are the best. Due to the waxy material, they adjust perfectly to your ear shape.
  • Take a sleeping mask which is comfortable to wear
  • Wear sweatpants during the flight. I have them in my hand luggage and I change after take off.
  • Take your toothbrush. It can feel so refreshing to brush the teeth prior approach.
  • Use a lavera lip balm to work against the dry air in the airplane.
  • A power bar in case you do not have a power outlet on your seat. I use an Anker product which is great.

What's in my suitcase?

What to do when the jet lag hits you?

Flying eastbound can be quite challenging since the flight usually takes place during the night and you land at your destination in the morning. Maybe you did not sleep a single bit and now the whole day lays in front of you. If your schedule permits I would go to bed now and sleep for a couple of hours. Set an alarm to wake up around lunch time. Have something to eat and motivate yourself to be active. A short body exercise can help to wake up.

pilot patrick running in a gym
Exercising helps to wake up mentally and physically

In general, if you get really tired during the day I can recommend taking a NASA power nap of 26 mins. A study of NASA in 1995 found about that a “26-minute nap improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.” A great tool that not only works at home but also on a journey. Set your timer to 26 minutes find a comfortable place, turn on non-disturb on your phone and close your eyes. Restricting the nap to 26 mins I feel more alert and energetic over the next few hours.  Try it out and let me know how you felt after a power nap. Napping longer might have the effect that you feel more tired afterward.

Jet lag - behavioral recommendations

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination, so you can mentally adjust to the new time
  • Participate in the daily life of your destination
  • Spend time outside at your destination
  • Try to get enough sleep during the first night of your arrival
  • Try to avoid exhausting activities the first two days
  • No alcohol or sleeping pills
  • Drink enough water (still water or juices 230 ml per flight hour)
  • Keep a light and healthy diet (this is not proven but it will not hurt)
  • During short trips remain in the time of departure so you do not have a double jetlag.
pilot patrick travel style
Outfit as passenger

Visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric to find out details of my style and the brands I am wearing. 

The body adjust approximately 1,5 hours every day. This means it takes about six days to adjust to the new time when the spread between departure and destination is nine hours.

A lot of times travelers suffer from respiratory ailments: cold and fever like symptoms after a long flight. During my research for this blog post I visited the website "Zentrum der Gesundheit" (unfortunately only in german) and I found an interesting article about colds after flight journeys. A study of the Griffith`s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)  found out that taking elder (capsules or syrup) is a preventive measure to stay healthy after the flight! I have found myself being sick for a day or having fever like symptoms after a long flight. For my next long range trip, I will definitely test this out.

What was your longest non-stop flight you have been on so far?

Your Pilot Patrick

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vacation in the caribbean

Vacation in the Caribbean + My 10 travel tips

Hola my Aviators,

sunny greetings from the Punta Cana. In this blog post, I show you unpublished photos of my spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean and give you helpful tips when traveling to any place in the world.

You may wonder why I am already on vacation when I just completed my type rating on the Airbus A300-600 with a new company. Last Saturday I finished the initial training so I could apply for a new license at the authority. This takes approximately two weeks until I receive my new license. This is quite bothersome since I am not allowed to fly during this period. To bridge this time my operator granted me some days of vacation. Since the type rating was really intense and I got sick of the freezing weather in Germany I decided to use the time to escape winter.

pilotpatrick saona island caribbean sea starfish
Escaping winter in the Caribbean Sea

Last week I posted a photo on my Instagram on which I asked for an inspiration where I could travel to for sun and beach. I was so happy for all your travel tips. Two days prior my vacation started I finally booked a flight to the Dominican Republic. This was the really spontaneous decision because it was hard to find a location with a good flight connection and available accommodations when I started to search one week ago.

  • Travel tip: Read reviews and visit online hotel evaluation websites. This can help you to find the hotel that suits you best. I usually read the worst reviews first.

I flew with Air Berlin from Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) to Düsseldorf (DUS). From Düsseldorf, I switched on the A330, which took me to Punta Cana (PJU).

pilot patrick air berlin business class punta cana
With Air Berlin in Business Class Seat 4K to Punta Cana
  • Travel tip: Compare ticket prices online. Always check the ticket prices on the website of the airline as well. I usually use google flight search a lot.

Luckily I could book seats in their Business Class. Even as a former Private Jet pilot I have to admit that their Business class product is great. Every seat has a direct aisle access and the seats at the window give a lot of privacy. The best thing is the seats convert to a fully flat bed so the vacation starts already on board ;-) The flight lasted about 10 hours. At 14:30 local time we touched down on PUJ on time. Outside air temperature 27 degrees and sunny. This is what I was longing for.

pilot patrick air berlin business class to punta cana
My business class set to PUJ
pilot patrick approaching pju dominican republic
Approaching paradise
  • Travel tip: Take your time and arrive at the airport early enough. This reduces your stress level. Reserve your favorite seat early enough. Sometimes you can use your bonus miles so it does not cost you anything. Try to travel lightly this makes your life easier ;-)

I could not believe it, but already 25 mins after we reached the gate I was outside the terminal in the taxi. The staff at the airport was super friendly and I experienced the first Caribbean vibes. It took a regular taxi to my hotel Paradisus by Melia, which I booked via my travel agency 'Thomas Cook' in Wiesbaden.

pilot patrick punta cana five star paradisus resort
First day in paradise relaxing in my private cabana
  • Travel tip: Compare hotel prices online and with travel agencies on site. In this case, I saved over 1.000,-€ because I got a last minute price via the travel agency Thomas Cook. As you can see the internet prices are not always cheaper.

After 15:00 hours of traveling, I finally arrived in paradise. The sandy white beach with hundreds of palm trees looked like from a postcard. I am usually not the guy who books an 'all inclusive' vacation but since I am staying only for 6 days I thought it would be a good idea. Additionally, the Dominican Republic is not really save at the moment, that is why the travel agencies recommend staying in the hotel and booking only guided tours. In my opinion, they sometimes exaggerate. If you know how to behave in a foreign country and know the "don'ts" you should be fine.

paradisus punta cana palm tress
My way to the hotel room at Paradisus resort
  • Travel tip: The website of the Federal Foreign office of Germany publishes current travel and security tips for all countries. Inform yourself prior booking your vacation.

The resort is huge and all rooms are located in separated two-storied villas with a private outside area. I have the impression to be living in a small town rather than a big hotel complex. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with the first room, that is why I complained. I expect to have a clean room no matter if it is one or a five-star hotel. For the inconvenience, they upgraded me to a higher room category with my own jacuzzi on the balcony. Additionally, they granted me access to the exclusive beach and pool area. Besides that, I am allowed to use the a la carte Restaurant at the beach without any extra charge.

relaxing jacuzzi paradisus resort punta cana
My own jacuzzi on the balcony of my junior suite
  • Travel tip: If you are not satisfied with the hotel room or you are not happy with the series let the reception know. Especially in high-class hotels, they try their best to get everything right.

I have been to the Caribbean before but not to the Dominical Republic yet. Alle people I met so far are really friendly and in a good mood. Spanish is the official language here, but most of them speak proper english and some even german.

  • Travel tip: Always take local currency to the country you are flying to. This helps immensely when you want to get around and when tipping a service. I recommend taking two credit cards with you in case one gets lost or does not work.
altos de chavon tui excursion domican republic
View from Altos de Chavon to the river of Chavon

Excursion

After relaxing for a day at the beach I went on a full day excursion to Saona to experience the Caribbean Sea. As many people do not know at the northern shoreline (Punta Cana/Puerto Plata) of the island is the Atlantic ocean. First stop was in Altos de Chavon. A small Mediterranean replica village located on a cliff of the Chavon river. From there we walked down to the riverbed to jump on a steamboat to drive along a tropical landscape in the direction of the Caribbean sea. Movies like Rambo and Jurassic Park were shot at this location. Once we reached the river delta we jumped into a speedboat to cruise next to the East National Park. In the middle of the Sea is a natural pool with crystal clear cyan blue water. There were hundreds of starfish on the sandy ground of the sea.

pilot patrick vacation natural pool in caribbean sea
Into the blue - natural pool in the Caribbean Sea (close to Saona island)
  • Travel tip: Leave no valuables visible in your room. I do not trust the build in saves, that is why I put my electronics and money in my lockable suitcase when I leave the room.

Next stop was the island Saona. A small island with 300 inhabitants, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus it in May 1494 during his second voyage to the Americas. We had a BBQ at the beach. Locals sold Pina Colada in a pineapple and fresh coconuts. I found a nice private spot to enjoy this picture-perfect paradise.

pilot patrick excursion to paradise Soana island in caribbean sea
I am trying to get my next fresh coconut at Saona Island

In the afternoon we boarded the last boat of this day. A 35 m long catamaran, which took us with drinks and good music to the beach of Bayahibe. I laid down in a net in front of the boat and enjoyed the ride. This was truly a memorable day and I had a lot of fun.

TUI catamaran excursion soana island
2 hours on a 35 m long Catamaran in the Caribbean Sea
  • Travel tip: I see so many people taking photos with their cheap mobile phone camera. Rather take a decent charged digital camera, which takes high-quality photos for  your memories. Save the photos on an extra device.
pilot patrick relaxing in paradise saona island caribbean sea
Relaxing on Saona Island with a Pina Colada

I got back to the hotel in the evening to enjoy two nice dinners at two restaurants. The combination of sun, a lot of food and different drinks made me feel sick the next day. I took care of my diet and rested under a palm tree umbrella at the beach the whole day.

  • Travel tip: Take different medicine with you from home. Something for your throat, nose and for your stomach. I also recommend taking some bandages and disinfection spray.

Luckily I felt much better the next day so I could go on another fun activity. The airline Aerointer in Punta Cana invited me to go on a short helicopter flight over the shoreline. Thanks to pilot Bernie for giving me a different perspective of the island. I think I should get a helicopter license as well. It is so much fun taking off vertically with an aircraft. Watch the full video of my flight on Facebook 'PilotPatrick'

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1330316197033973

 

pilot patrick helicopter aerointer punta cana
Fun flight over paradise in Punta Cana with Aerointer

Vacation in the Caribbean is ending

After six days I had to leave paradise again. I really enjoyed the perfect weather and the marvelous beaches. The Dominicans are a really friendly and they are brimful of life. I suppose this is because of their relaxed way of living and the good weather all year around. I only left the hotel twice, but both times I noticed that streets are dirty and people and animals live in between trash. That made me really sad to see since the hotel industry boosts the economy in this region.

pilot patrick rimowa suitcase paradise palm trees punta cana
Leaving paradise :( for outfit details visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric

For outfit details you can always visit my updressed page I am constantly updating this profile. 

My return flight with Air Berlin was a direct connection from Punta Cana to Berlin. This was quite convenient since it was a night flight and the landing in Tegel airport was at 6:30 in the morning. The flight time was around 8:45 hours and the lie flat seat was fantastic to get some sleep. This what I call luxury on board! During the flight, I watched the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for peculiar children. In case you like fantasy, drama and action at the same time I can really recommend this movie. The touchdown in Berlin was during darkness and the weather was rainy and cold. I missed paradise already!

business class Airberlin Airbus A330 Seat 2A
Seat that converts to a fully flat bed

I hope you like my travel tips and hopefully, they will help you on your next journey!

Where is your next vacation taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Waldorf Astoria hotel berlin pilotpatrick rimowa

My stay at the Waldorf Astoria

In my last blog post "My type rating", I gave you an insight view of my training at Lufthansa Aviation Training. The last three weeks in the simulator to acquire the certification to fly the A300 have been quite demanding. Therefore I did not have a lot of time to relax.

Next week I will have my final skill test flight in the simulator and this is why I have the weekend off. The Waldorf Astoria Berlin invited me to spend a weekend at their beautiful hotel in Berlin to relax a little bit from the busy weeks and to tank up some energy before my check flight. My job as a pilot requires me to stay at many different hotels around the world, but I have not stayed at a hotel in my hometown Berlin yet. I was really excited to spend a weekend at the Waldorf Astoria hotel since it really sticks out with its location and the architecture next to 20 other five star hotels in Berlin.

Read about my stay at the Waldorf Astoria and find out why I did not want to leave again. I hope my following hotel review helps you when choosing the right hotel for your next stay in Berlin or to find a place to escape the hectic city.

Location

In 2013 the Waldorf Astoria opened its doors for hotel guests. The hotel is situated in the famous building "Zoofenster" and is easy to recognize since it is a 32 stories-high skyscraper. Being one of the tallest buildings in Berlin it gives the hotel guests, including me a spectacular view over Berlin. It is located right in the center of West Berlin and one foot step away from tourist attractions, shopping locations and leisure activities.

Waldorf Astoria, Tower suites with panormaic windows on the upper levels

Watch my live Facebook video of my check in and the TOWER SUITE.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1307668549298738

Accommodation

The room was amazing. I was lucky to reside in a TOWER SUITE. The luxurious suite was at the 28th level and its panoramic windows gave me a fantastic view over Berlin. I could unwind in a spacious and very comfortable room. The design is elegant and modern at the same time. A separate sleeping room with a private balcony was located in the rear of the suite. Every room granted you a different view of the city. The TV system was ideal for my needs to stream music and videos from my mobile phone and laptop.

Warm welcome in the Tower suite 2801 through sweets and a friendly staff Private small kitchen with a Nespresso coffee machine and a dining table

Features of the tower suite

  • upper level (22-29) separate elevators for the tower suites
  • separate living area with a dining table and mini bar
  • fully equipped small kitchen with a private Nespresso coffee machine
  • two 40-inch TVs with Apple TV technology
  • luxurious marble bathroom with a bathtub and separate shower
  • complimentary Wifi and so much more...
Signature Waldorf Astoria bed with a private balcony overlooking West Berlin Bathroom with a bath tub and a huge shower

I used my suite also for my monthly online live talk on my Facebook account 'PilotPatrick'. Follow me on Facebook so you don't miss any future events. (Meet and greet coming soon.)

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1308411159224477

Guerlain Spa

I enjoyed a short time-out from the vibrant Berlin outside in the Spa. The 1000 square meter spa features a cloud shaped pool, saunas and very cozy therapy rooms. I really liked the private bathroom with shower and changing facility.  The gym is fully equipped and big windows provide you with natural light during your workout. On Saturday I took a break from the gym since I did exhausting personal training with Timo on Friday.

Private bathroom for Guerlain Spa guests swim shorts by XARFIA

Premium swim shorts by XARIFA, which are entirely made in Italy. I am wearing the short length version in size medium. Use the code 'pilotpatric' to save 15% on your new swim shorts by XARIFA.

Cloud shaped pool at the Guerlain Spa Swim shorts by XARFIA

Features of the spa

  • therapy rooms
  • pool and hot tub
  • sauna and steam room
  • terrace
  • fitness room with daylight
  • complimentary water and fruits#

The spa area is free of charge for hotel guest. With a day pass, it is possible to you use the luxurious spa facilities as well. Mention PILOTPATRIC when booking a treatment and you will get a free glass of champagne.

Food

I am really conscious when it comes to my diet. In my blog post "I am a foodie pilot" I already wrote about my healthy eating habits. Nowadays I expect that hotels adopt to the healthy food trend or at least offer meal options in case you have a special diet. The selection of food of breakfast buffet was excellent. The vegetarian omelet and the smoked salmon were really tasty. For dinner, I went to the ROCA Restaurant on the ground floor. The atmosphere was relaxing. I suggest having a selection of their tasty salads as a starter.

Try the vegetarian omelette with salmon, Green organic tea and grapefruit juice

What do around?
Shopping

  • Kurfürstendamm a big street with hundreds of retail stores ranching up to luxurious boutiques
  • Bikini Berlin is a concept mall with interesting pop-up stores right around the hotel.
  • KADEWE (Department Store of the West) is the second biggest department store of Europe, visit the impressing food court on the upper level

Leisure activities

  • The huge park "Tiergarten" is right around the corner, at the Cafe am Neuen See you can rent small paddle boats to drive around on a small lake
  • Siegessäule (Victoria Column) at the big roundabout (Großer Stern) Some hundreds of steps take you up on top giving you an amazing view over Berlin.
  • The historic cinema "Zoopalast" is directly opposite of the hotel. Book a comfortable LOGE seat which grants you access to the lounge for a free drink before the movie
Sunset from my tower suite at the Waldorf Astoria hotel Berlin

Resume of my stay at the Waldorf Astoria Berlin

From check in and check out I felt welcome every minute of my stay. Besides an amazing suite and luxurious facilities, the friendly staff made it a memorable stay.

Good bye Waldorf Astoria It was a pleasure and I will miss the view

I hope my following hotel review helps you to choose the right hotel for your next stay in Berlin or to find a place to escape the hectic city. My tip: Book a room on one of the upper levels of the hotel. I just loved to sit at the window observing Berlin from the top.

Watch on my youtube channel pilotpatrick my Instagram story @pilotpatric of my stay at Waldorf Astoria Berlin.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET2F33Mkqjk?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Your Pilot Patrick

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my stay at sanbona wildlife reserve

My stay at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

I recently published my first airline review of the flight with Lufthansa to Cape Town. Now I want to share with you my first hotel review about a very special place, which is more than just a hotel. During my three weeks of vacation in South Africa, I stayed two nights at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve .

I had a lot of activities and places on my list. One of my top once was to do a safari, on which I would have the chance to see the big five. The african travel agency "Going to Capetown"  recommended to overnight at a lodge, which is located inside a wildlife reserve and offers daily game drives. The photos of the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve looked stunning. At first I was not convinced, because of the the high rate. But in the end every penny was worth spending.

Sunset vibes - Open Land cruiser for the game drives

The Main Gate of the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is about 270 km (approx. 3 hours) away from Cape Town. The landscape changes from green valleys to a more rough and mountainous countryside. A little bit of Jurassic Park feeling kicked in when waiting the big gate to be opened. A short drive on a gravel road took us to a Welcome Lodge, where we had to leave our car behind. After a warm welcome of the manager and some refreshments a transport took us to our lodge, where we would stay for the next two days. The ride lasted about 45 mins and we already got some amazing impressions of the landscape.

Insider Tipp: Try to manage to use the earliest pick up time at the Welcome Lodge, so it will be more relaxed and you will have the chance to go on a game drive in the evening.

Main lodge in the middle of the rock formation

The lodge

The reserve consists of three different lodge categories. We stayed at the most exclusive and luxurious lodge, called Dwyka Tented Lodge. The location is truly impressive. The nine tented rooms are concealed by striking rock formations. The roof of the "room" reminds of a tend but the inside can keep up with a five star hotel. The design of the tents invoke the feeling of a pioneering adventure with a modern touch. Luxury safari at its best!

"Hotelroom" of Dwyka Tented Lodge

A tented room for two adults features:

  • private deck with heated jacuzzi
  • outdoor shower
  • big comfortable bed
  • ensuite bathroom with bath tub
  • air condition (hot and warm)
  • private mini bar
  • amazing views (leave the TV off)
Luxury tent with a own private deck and amazing views Dwyka Tented Lodge with a private deck and jacuzzi

In the centre of the tented lodges is the main building, which features a cozy lounge, the reception and the restaurant (also open air). In the lounge is a telescope to watch the stars. I highly recommend to use it since there is only little artificial light. Adjacent to it is a smaller tent, which features a relaxation retreat. I booked a full body massage.

Total of nine tented lodges at Dwyka Tented Lodge

Wifi: You do not really need it. It is a good feeling not to be reachable from time to time. In the main lodge is Wifi provided with decent speed. The signal reached only some rooms.

Insider Tipp: Do not leave the jacuzzi cover open with the lights on after sunset. A lot of animals will join you in the water.

Game drives

The interactive game drives last up to three hours and take place in the tranquil moods of sunrise and sunset. Since it was summer in South Africa the day started at 05:00 am with a nice wake up call of the ranger. The game drive starts at 05:30 am in a comfortable open Land Cruiser.

Game drive with a comfortable Land cruiser last 3 hours (shot with my gopro)

In think we had the best ranger I could imagine. Owen explained everything in detail and was able to show us all major animals really close. We got to see the big five: elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions and leopards. Additionally we got to see giraffes, zebras and many more. In all situation we felt safe, even when we stepped out of the Land cruiser to watch the cheaters eat. This experiences I will not forget in a lifetime! The Sanbona Wildlife Reserve aims to restore the ecological balance, that is why the animals are protected by a fence. Therefore the probability to see many animals in a short time is relatively high.

Elephants crossing our path Guided safari with an experienced ranger

Evening game drives offer a spectacular sunset over the Little Karoo. With a glass of gin tonic we enjoyed the amazing colors on top of a hill while the sun was setting. After arriving back at the camp you we offered a wet towel and drinks in the lounge to reflect the experiences of the day together.

The display of lights when the sun sets are spectacular

Food and Service

As you know I am a "Foodie Pilot" which means I am really picky when it comes to food. Keeping in mind that the next supermarket is definitely not around the corner, the menu offered a good variety. I really liked the south african cuisine, which was  tasty. I especially liked the BBQ evening, which offered many flavors and dishes I never had tasted before. The atmosphere during dinner was cozy since there are only a maximum of 18 guests in the lodge at the same time.

The staff was really friendly and the service during meals was really good. The manager of the lodge was really caring and we had some good laughs with her.

Lazy white lion - It was amazing to see them live in nature On the way back to the lodge. Little bush fires due to the dryness in summer

What to pack for the adventure:

  • Safari hat
  • Binoculars
  • Outdoor shoes
  • Camera
  • Warm clothing
  • Sun screen

It is not solely a classic hotel review. It is more a review of an adventure in the wilderness. I recommend to stay at least two days at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. I really enjoyed the time and I was sad to leave this unique place on earth.

The price during high season was over 800 Euros (night/room), which included meals, accommodation, game drives and much more. Nevertheless I had high expectations, which were surpassed. In the end every penny was worth spending for this amazing experience.

Have you been on a safari before?

Your Pilot Patrick

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what is in my bag

What's in my bag? - My packing tips

In my last blog post I shared my experience in Lufthansa’s Business Class to Cape Town with you. On this flight I was allowed to have four pieces of luggage. But who takes so much on a journey? You will be surprised about the number of pieces private jet customers take on a flight. One person with eight suitcases is no exception. In this blog post I will show you what is in my bag and additionally I will reveal my packing tips.

My home is where my suitcase is!

My Rimowa luggage 'Topas' in front of the Private Jet Citation XLS

Now I want to show you what I have in my bags and give you some advices when packing!

Through my profession as private jet pilot I became a professional traveler, who knows who to pack correctly. I am usually on duty for about seven days in the row and I sleep 15 days in a month in different hotels. Everyday I have to unpack and pack, unload and load and carry my luggage from one place to another. That is why the quality and the weight of my suitcase it vital.

Travel in style - aluminum case during a stay in Wildlife Reserve in South Africa

I am really convinced of the products of Rimowa. It is a German company founded in 1898. They put a lot of emphasis on the quality and practicability of their luggage. Especially their products with four wheel are handy. I currently use two products of the ‘Topas’ series, which are made of aluminum. They are little heavier than the once out of polycarbonate, but I prefer this design and they are almost indestructible.

In my hand luggage:

My travel essentials

My checked luggage:

  • Clothing (essential clothing which are easy to combine)
  • Wash bag (organic products of Lavera and Speick)
  • Two pair of shoes (one for sports)
  • TRX suspension trainer (perfect tool for a quick workout in the hotel room)
  • Cocktail shaker to prepare rice protein shakes
Home is where my suitcase is - What's in my bag?

My packing tips:

  • Use the space between the handle bar on the bottom of the suitcase, perfect to place socks or underwear.
  • Do not put valuables in your checked luggage to prevent them from theft. For example electronics, which can be easily detected by the x-ray.
  • Put important documents and essentials for the first day in your hand luggage in case your suitcase gets lost.
  • When taking shirts, I suggest to put them folded in a plastic or fabric bag. This way they stay flat and you do not need to iron them again
  • Put your wash bag in a plastic bag, so in case something leaks your clothing stays clean.
  • I take testers instead of heavy perfume flacons to safe weight.
  • I fill up small containers with the organic shampoo from home so I do not have to take the whole bottle.
  • When packing a suit I recommend to carry it in a clothes bag so the fabric does not get crumbled. An additional small personal items, like a purse or clothes bag, is usually free in economy on all major airlines.
  • Always put your items in the same spot. This saves time when packing and searching.
  • Use a suitcase with an international TSA lock when traveling by plane.
After landing in Rostov an Don with the Citation XLS

My bags

Besides my two silver cases I have a food bag for my journeys. In which you will find fruits, nuts, humus, carrots, couscous salad, coconut water, whole wheat bread and boiled eggs most of the time. Some colleagues think I am crazy, that I carry all this food with me. But this way I can have good food while on duty and I can omit the unhealthy catering on board and in hotels. Read in my blog post “I am a Foodie pilot” more about my healthy eating habits.

Me packing my small Rimowa - healthy food always on board

Happy landings and a well-packed suitcase for your next journey!

Which personal items do you always pack when you going on a journey? I always pack swim shorts. ;-)

Please do don't forget to subscribe.

Your Pilot Patrick

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