baggage travel tips

Travel Chaos - 7 Tips For Your Baggage From a Pilot

Dear Aviator,

Summer time has landed, Corona restrictions are almost non-existent, everyone wants to travel again but the aviation industry is not ready for the post Corona boom. Personally I knew that something like this travel chaos would happen. Airports and airlines shorten their staff extremely and now this is the result. The aviation industry was not prepared for this and cannot react fast enough because missing staff need time to be trained. In the end you and other Aviators have to take the bait of the mismanagement. Next to a lot of flight cancellations a lot of luggage gets lost or delayed. a lot of chaos. I am here to help you!



baggage travel tips

Living a travel life for over 12 years, I have some useful hacks. Here are my baggage tips, which help to keep your stress level low, reduce waiting time and enhance your travel experience. Not only this crazy summer but whenever you travel to see the world.

1. Invest In High Quality Baggage 💸

That’s my golden rule when it comes to baggage. Do not attempt to save money on cheap products – invest in high quality luggage pieces. Really thank me later for that! What’s the point of buying cheap when it breaks after a few journeys or you cannot repair it because it is from a no-name brand. There is a saying in Germany. “Those who save, pay double in the end”. 

When I started flying 12 years ago I bought a pilot business trolley and a medium size suitcase made of aluminium, from the brand Rimowa. Even then the set was quite expensive but I still have them and use them. I’ve only had to have minor repairs done to them, like fixing the wheels or the rubber sealing. 

I recommend getting hardcase suitcases made of aluminium and not poly carbonat. The downside of a “plastic” suitcase is when the case breaks you will not be able to fix it. But with an aluminium case you will be able to remove the tend.



baggage travel tips
baggage travel tips

My suitcase set I got 2010 when I started flying

2. Fly With Hand Luggage Only 🛫

I know  it is not easy. I always have huge problems packing lightly but in this current travel chaos it is definitely a lifesaver. Of course, when going on a 3 week trip it will be extremely difficult to travel light,  but when going on a city trip for a few days, it should be possible. Think carefully about what you really need on your trip. You can always get heavy toiletries at your destination and when you need extra clothing go shopping!

Due to overloads at the airports, a lot of checked-in luggage does not reach their destinations with your travels. So it is advisable to travel with just hand luggage at the moment.



baggage travel tips

3. Track Your Baggage 📲

It is the worst feeling to discover  that your luggage has got lost and the airport does not have a clue where it is. On one of my last trips, my check in luggage was gone for over 10 days. Only by annoying the airline hotline and being proactive in finding my suitcase, was I able to retrieve it. I took a taxi and drove to the luggage depot close to the depot myself. Luckily I did, because otherwise I would still be waiting on the delivery! Due to an IT issue, all personal data connected to the suitcase was incorrect. 

So consider getting a GPS tracker, which shows you where your precious piece of luggage is at any moment. Apple offers their Airtag (please note it only works when an iPhone is close by) but there are cheaper alternatives on the market as well.

baggage travel tips

Approaching Cannes Airport, South of France

baggage travel tips

4. Know Your Baggage Rights ⚖️

It is extremely important to know your passenger rights when your piece of luggage gets lost or is delayed. There is a maximum compensation for a lost suitcase; there are deadlines to notify your issue; and there is a limited budget when your baggage is delayed at your destination. Here you can find all relevant passengers rights concerning baggage. 



 

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

5. Know The Maximum Dimensions 🎛

Knowing the maximum dimensions of your luggage will definitely avoid hassle, anger and save you a lot of money.  Be aware that the hand luggage dimensions and the maximum weight guidelines differ from airline to airline. Double check before heading to the airport or even when booking your flight ticket because nowadays a carry-on piece is not included with some operators. In instances where your high quality travel accessory is too big or heavy at the airport, the airline can charge you significantly extra for it. This can definitely ruin your travel mood.



baggage travel tips

Uniform photo shooting in Barcelona 2016

6. Back up in your Hand Luggage 💼

This is another pro trip I learnt from travelling non stop. Try not to be dependent on your checked in luggage. Always pack important stuff like medicine, documents and valuables in your carry on luggage. Moreover, put some clothing in there as well so you will be able to survive a few days without your checked in bag. This can be a life saver should your baggage be delayed – so you do not need to spend unnecessary time buying clothing you might not use again.

baggage travel tips

Pack the things you really need!

7. Get Insurance for your Baggage 💳

For example, the maximum compensation you can get for a lost bag is 1.385€ per passenger and piece. My Rimowa trunk suitcase is worth over 1.100€ without any content. So when travelling with expensive stuff it is advisable to get extra insurance for your luggage. Online I found an insurance company which protects your bag for up to 5.000€ for 60€ a year. Flying and travelling a lot increases the probability of losing a bag significantly. Keep this in mind!

I hope you enjoyed my article: “Travel Chaos – 7 Tips For Your Baggage From a Pilot”. Please do not forget to like the blog post and let me know in the comments if you have another great tip!

Happy and relaxed landings!

Your PilotPatrick


tops and flops of tulum

12 Tops And Flops of Tulum

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Dear Aviator,

In January I went to Tulum in Mexico for the first time, to spend my vacation there. This destination has been on my bucket list for so long and I was finally able to experience the vibe myself. To be honest, I loved and hated it at the same time. Here are my 12 tops and flops of Tulum so you can decide for yourself if it is worth the journey for you.

tops and flops tulum

1. Top Beach  #lifeisgood🏝

Tulum Beach can be very relaxing as long as there is no partying taking place as there is a lot of loud music playing. Especially at night. So how is it relaxing?

Compared to other popular beach travel destinations, you will not find any noisy water sports, no screaming kids and no aeroplanes (unfortunately) which fly over you at low levels. However, you will find one hotel next to the other at the beachfront. Luckily there are no huge hotel bunkers, instead, there are beautiful small boutique hotels that are integrated into the surrounding jungle. To get access to the beach you need to use the entrance of a hotel or a day beach club.    

TIP: Gitano Beach Club is a place to be when you are looking for cold drinks, tasty food and good music at the beach. You can chillax in cosy day beds and you can take a refreshing swim in a private bay.

tops and flops tulum

 

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

tops and flops tulum

2. Flop Payment  #midevil 💳

OMG! This was the worst and so annoying! Some venues accepted credit cards only – then we discovered the machines did not work. Others accepted cash only but to get local currencies was not easy either. When paying by card most venues charged a service fee. So be careful, sometimes these charges can be up to 10% of your original bill. 

TIP: Bring some cash. Pesos and USD dollars with you. Have at least two credit cards and be prepared for a lot of hassle when paying.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

At Los Bowls de Guadalupe you get healthy food and you can pay by card!

3. Top Entry  #forall 🤗

Mexico is one of the few countries which lets in unvaccinated tourists without any test. So this is very convenient for some and reduces the pre-travel stress significantly. Even though hygiene measures were in force, everything was open and you could enjoy a “normal life” without having to think about Covid all the time.

TIP: Enjoy to the fullest!

tops and flops tulum

4. Flop Safety  #drugwar 🔫

I had mixed feelings when it came to safety in the Tulum bubble. Before my trip I read some shocking news about guns fired between different cartels, causing injuries to tourists and that the local police were highly corrupt. The pandemic also appears to have worsened the situation, with robberies on the street. The recent events made the Mexican government send armed soldiers to the tourist hotspots to provide safety for the people. 

Tip: Leave your expensive jewellery at home. Do not have a lot of cash with you and do not walk in abandoned parts of the city at night. Use your hotel safe to store valuables. If someone tries to rob you,  just give him/her what you have. Your life is far more valuable than your possessions.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

5. Top Parties #godancing 🕺

To be honest, before I went to Tulum, I thought it was a destination to relax, to have healthy food and to dress up. But it is also an extreme Party location. You can go dancing to the beats of world-famous DJs.

TIP: Party venues stretch over the entire city. I personally enjoyed the open-air parties right at the beach the most. The regular cover is extremely expensive though. 

tops and flops tulum

6. Flop Prices #ripoff 💸

Prices in Tulum shocked me so much. Tulum has nothing to do with the rest of Mexico. It is a bubble right in the middle of the jungle. It is somehow working but very insatiable. The entire infrastructure is not built for the size of the city. Fresh water comes with trucks to the beach hotel and electricity is produced through generators. Prices for parties, hotel rooms and dinner can easily cost several hundred Euros in a country that is relatively poor. Everyone is trying to get your money and this can be very annoying on vacation and ruins the vibe. Tulum is a destination for tourists who do not necessarily have to look at a travel budget.  

TIP: The Prices for food are more responsible in downtown Tulum. Do not go there if you have a small travel budget, because Tulum will not be so enjoyable.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

7. Top Food  #inheaven 😋

Tulum offers food outlets for every taste, budget and high-end tasters. For vegans and vegetarians, this is the place to be. As a foodie, you will be floating on cloud nine in Tulum.

TIP: I enjoyed Meze and Taboo for dinner. Both venues slowly transformed into a party location in the evening. Prices are generally higher at the beach compared to restaurants and cafes in the downtown region.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

8. Flop Taxis  #theworst 🚕

Taking a cab in Tulum is a nightmare. There is no UBER service or any other transportation app. There is no taximeter, so the price will be set by the driver. Prices go up ridiculously at night. During the day you pay around 15€ between downtown and the beach. At night they want around 70€. 

TIP: Negotiate the price before taking a taxi. Tell them which price you want to pay and stick with it. Drivers will try to ask for more money.  If they ask for too much money for the trip, go to the next taxi. Have cash with you, because not all drivers accept cards.

tops and flops tulum

9. Top Vibe  #unique 🚀

Tulum is a bubble and the vibe within it is exceptional. I love how people dress up just to go to the beach. It is glamorous in some way but also down to earth. I did not have the feeling that it was artificially nice but genuinely friendly. It has a certain type of people living and visiting there, I would say. 

TIP: Get some clothing which suits the Tulum vibe before your journey. Prices are a lot more expensive there. 

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

10. Flop Cocktails  #awful 🍹

If you are into cocktails, then I have to disappoint you. Tulum lacks good barkeepers. Anyways, that’s a perfect reason to drink less. Alcohol is toxic to your body. Instead, have a green smoothie at the RAW Love Beach.

TIP: If you need to have a drink then have one with mezcal –  the world-famous tequila of Mexico.  

tops and flops tulum

 

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

11. Top Nature  #stunning 🌿

Most people visiting Tulum forget how beautiful the surrounding nature is – they may be too focused on partying and relaxing at the beach. You definitely have to visit the Cenotes, which are sweet water sinkholes connected through a tunnel system with the ocean. They are spectacular and a must-visit, like the beachfront Maya Ruins of Tulum 

TIP: Origin Dive project offers an amazing exclusive experience in a Maya reserve. Besides diving into an underwater cave (without experience) you will fly over a Centore with a zip line. I absolutely recommend doing it. It was one of the best activity experiences I have ever had.

tops and flops tulum

Experience with Origin Dive Project 

 

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

tops and flops tulum

12. Flop Streets #wrongturn 🚧

Streets in Tulum are a big big flop – especially in Downtown Tulum.

 Some of them are so terrible that I would not call them streets even though they lead to a residential area and to high-end hotels. At night there is no street lighting and you have to be extremely careful. Additionally, traffic to and from the beach can be a disaster because the infrastructure is not made to cope with the high number of visitors.

TIP: Rent a scooter to be flexible and to get around quickly. But I would only drive one if you have experience and feel safe driving one. 

tops and flops tulum

So…are you going to Tulum after you read my blog post about the tops and flops of Tulum? Please let me in a comment below and do not forget to like the post!

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.

 

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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


deal with jet lag

Best 9 Tips To Deal With A Jet Lag

Hello My Dear Aviator,

welcome back to my blog. I just returned home from my bucket list destination – Tulum in Mexico – and I am about to fly to Brazil in a few days. Both destinations lay in different time zones compared to Germany. Tulum time is 6 hours and Sao Paulo 4 hours behind Germany. Many of you have been wondering how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post I will share the ultimative 9 best tips to deal with jet lag and its side effects due to flying east or west around the globe.

How to deal with jet lag

In my case I am staying in between Mexico and Brazil since it is only one week between both travels – that way I am avoiding jet lag completely. Currently, this means I am staying up until 2/3am in the morning which is 10 /11pm in the evening in São Paulo and sleeping in everyday.

 Thumbs up – Next trip you will deal better with jetlag.

deal with jet lag

The brandnew Airbus A330NEO

1. FLY PREMIUM ✈️

One of the best ways to mitigate the effects of a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. This is a quite costly tip I know. Most airlines offer seats which fully convert into a flatbed to have a good rest, arriving at your destination refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last few years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge. However those seats do not convert into a flatbed.

I recommend collecting miles to either get a reward ticket or to use them to upgrade your flight. Another way to fly Business Class for a decent price is to bid on empty seats. Use your booking code online to see which alternatives your airline offers.

deal with jet lag

2. RESERVE YOUR SEAT 💺

Besides having a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of jet lag. 

When booking your ticket, reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed into 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 recommend booking a seat by 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. 
  • When dropping your luggage at the airport, I would also ask the airline staff whether the seat next to you is still free or if they could possibly preposition you to an empty row. It’s always worth asking.

deal with jet lag

Business Class Seat of TAP Air Portugal

3. STAY HYDRATED💧

Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml of still water or juice every hour. So on a 10 hours flight this means you need to drink at least 2,3 liters. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine or champagne during the meal helps to fall asleep easier. But do not get wasted! This will aggravate jet lag.

deal with jet lag

Drink enough. Coconut water is rich in vitamins / Location: Ritz Carlton Cancun

4. MOVE YOUR BUTT 🍑

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 helps eliminate the risk of thrombosis. The inflight entertainment of most airlines shows exercises you can do during the flight.

deal with jet lag

Go outside and exercise Location: Amanasala Resort Tulum

5. SLEEP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE 😴

Sleeping will recharge your body so that you have more energy when you arrive at your destination. On red-eye flights, where you fly through the night and land early in the morning, I recommend sleeping as much as possible. Maybe it’s better to skip a meal and get some rest instead.

deal with jet lag

Comfy beds at the Ritz Carlton Cancun

6. RESET YOUR WATCH ⌚️

Once you take off, reset your watch to the new timezone. Do not constantly calculate which time it would be back home. This will confuse you and your body immensely.

deal with jet lag

Sunrise in Tulum at Amanasala Resort

7. BE COMFORTABLE 💆‍♂️

Bring everything on board which makes you feel comfortable. Take pajamas if you feel like it. An absolute must are noise canceling headphones, ear plugs, sleeping masks and a travel pillow, toothbrush and lip balm.

deal with jet lag

Amenity Kit in Business Class

8. POWER NAP 🛌

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 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 and 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 afterwards.

deal with jet lag

Beach Club at Amanasala Resort

What to do when 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 well and now the whole day lays ahead of you. If your schedule permits I would suggest going to bed now and sleeping 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 you up mentally and physically.

deal with jet lag

Jet lag – behavioural recommendations:

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination
  • 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 at the time of departure so you do not get double jet lag.
  • Wear comfortable clothing 

deal with jet lag

The body adjusts 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 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 helps you best when you have jet lag? Please leave me a comment below and do not forget to like the blog post!

Your Pilot Patrick


sky dive dubai

Skydive - Should You Dare To Jump Out Of An Airplane?

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Dear Aviators,

It is one of those experiences you have to do once in your lifetime. But it is also one of those things you need to have a lot of courage for. Most of all, you will need a lot of strength to overcome multiple fears to do it. I am talking about SKYDIVING! I already did it twice and I want you to dare to do it as well.

+ Full video of my jump in this blog post +

sky dive dubai
sky dive dubai

This time I don’t fly the plane

Normally I am sitting behind the controls of an airplane – to jump out of an airplane is not something I do everyday. You know that I am a thrill seeker and my last trip to Dubai satisfied my desire for adrenaline. It was one of my most thrilling vacations I ever had. But you don’t need to fly to Dubai to go skydiving. I am sure that a provider is close to your location as well. 2021 will be a difficult year to go traveling due to restrictions and quarantine regulations, so I think we will mostly concentrate on discovering our home country, trying new activities and spending a lot of time in nature.

Might interest you as well: The City Of Superlatives – The Most Thrilling Activities in Dubai

sky dive dubai

STAY CALM and JUMP OUT OF A PLANE!

Aren’t those moments we experience intense emotions, the moments we feel most alive?! The emotions I felt during the moment I jumped out of the plane, the free fall through the air followed by the flight with the parachute blew my mind. It ranged from adrenaline rushes and excitement to nervousness and anxiety. Especially those feelings which make you worry and automatically ask  “what if” questions come into your mind and prevent us from trying out new things especially when it involves something which looks frightening at first.

the moment the airplane door opened at 12,000 ft I questioned myself what I was doing here.

Those what if questions?!

I was really looking forward to skydiving, but the moment the airplane door opened at 12,000 ft I questioned myself “what I was doing here. Am I that stupid?” The good thing is you don’t have any option other than to jump. I said to myself – in case I die it will be rather quick and it was during something I love to do: flying! The moment we left the plane all my worries were left behind in the airplane. I just felt pure joy!  After touching down I was sad that the last 4 minutes passed by so quickly and I wanted to jump again straight away.

How dangerous is it really? 

Of course nothing is 100% risk free in life. You need to trust in your professional tandem jumper and the equipment. You must follow the guidelines and listen carefully during the safety briefing to make the jump as safe as possible but in the end you need to trust the provider, the safety procedures, the professional tandem jumper and the equipment. If this does not calm you in any way, then the following numbers might.

The average probability to have an accident during skydiving is 0,026%. To die from it lies at 0,0013%. But this in perspective. The probability to die on a ride with a car is about 0,01%. This means the journey by car to the skydive experience is much more deadly than the jump itself.

The experience has a price tag

The price for a tandem jump highly depends on the location, the jump elevation and the provider. 

The first time I did skydiving was in South Africa in 2018. One of the most iconic skydiving locations is over The Palm in Dubai. The price is three times higher (approx. 340 €) than the  jump in Cape Town but the jump elevation was a lot higher and the view a lot more spectacular. The jump is priceless and the memories will last a lifetime! 

sky dive dubai
sky dive dubai

Are you ready now for your first jump or have you done skydiving before? Let me know in a comment below and don’t forget to like the blog post. Happy landings and jumps! Happy landing!

Your PilotPatrick


emirates business class review pandemic

Emirates Business Class Review Pandemic Edition

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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


how risky is flying

How risky is flying during a pandemic? How to make it safer!

Dear Aviator,

I noticed that a lot of people are scared to travel during the pandemic. Especially on board an airplane in which social distancing is not possible, people are fearing infection by the coronavirus. Are these worries justified? 

In this blog post I will inform you how risky flying is during the pandemic. How high are the chances of getting the virus and which safety measures make it safer.

how risky is flying

Photography by Manu (Professional photographer & plane spotter)

How risky is flying during the pandemic?

What do you think is more dangerous? – going to the supermarket or flying on an airplane? Spoiler, it is the first!

The chances of getting the coronavirus on an airplane are existent but very minimal.  If this is the case why do people fear to fly at the moment. Let me give you an analogy. You probably recall that a lot of people were, even before the pandemic, afraid to fly in fear of an accident. The chances of having a fatal accident traveling by plane are so little. 1 in 29 Million. By bicycle it is 1 in 340,000. 85 times higher. Yet, I know so many people who are afraid to fly but I don’t know anyone who is afraid to ride the bike (except for me).

Blog post: Tips against the fear of flying

It is identical to current times. People jump easily to the conclusion that air travel must be unsafe because that thought-process has already been made in our brain before. We irrationally associate it with risk, even though an airplane is the one of the safest indoor environments.

how risky is flying
how risky is flying

Airlines do the best they can

Airlines do their best to make flying even safer. Cabin attendants are wearing special protective uniforms. Emirates provides a hygiene travel kit with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for every passenger. Social distancing procedures are in force during boarding and disembarking (some airlines free up the middle seat) Airlines use enhanced cleaning procedures.  

When it comes to infectious disease, airplanes have an excellent safety record because the air people breathe while flying is some of the most filtered air in travel, according to Joseph Allen, who directs the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

how risky is flying

Cabins: The safest indoor environment

The air in (many) planes is a 50/50 mix of outdoor air and recirculated air. The outdoor air is bled off the engine, conditioned and delivered into the cabin. The other 50% is recirculated air that goes through HEPA filters.

All major commercial jets have ventilation systems with high-quality HEPA filters capable of removing 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and other airborne particles with a size as small as 0.3 microns. For comparison, Covid-19 is thought to be between 0.06 to 1.4 microns.

Additionally, authorities have installed body temperature checkpoints at airports and implemented social distancing measurements. To numerous destinations you need a negative PCR-test prior departure which reduces the chance that a passenger infected with Covid-19 being allowed to board. (source: CNN)

how risky is flying
how risky is flying

Tips to lessen the risk

  • Wear the right mask at all times. Make sure it covers mouth AND nose.
  • Reduce the usage of the lavatory. Wait some time after another passenger used it.
  • Disinfect surfaces around your seat you may touch during the flight.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with your fingers.
  • Spread out in the cabin to create more space between fellow passengers.
  • Think about the full travel experiences and not solely about the flight itself.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly especially after using the lavatory.
  • The shorter the flight the less the risk of getting infected.

how risky is flying

The risks of getting infected are higher in security queues or on the way to the airport in the public transportation or when visiting the supermarket before the flight to get some snacks. So think about the full travel experience and not only about the flight itself. 

It is not about confining yourself and stopping doing things you enjoy but to use your capable mind to do research on the information that is just a google search away. Make the best decision for yourself, your mental health and others.

I hope you you find my article: “How risky is flying during the pandemic?” informative. Don’t forget to to like the post post and share it with users. 

Stay safe and healthy travels

Your PilotPatrick


corona vacation

What is it like to spend a vacation in Croatia in the times of Corona?

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Dear Aviators,
to be honest I was a bit worried to go traveling again after we had the lockdown in Germany and borders were closed. Numerous questions came to my mind when I thought about my first vacation in times of Corona. Is it really safe? Does it even make sense? Will the restrictions impair my vacation? What are the safety measurements in a foreign country? You might have the same mixed feelings when you think about your next trip. In this blog post / report I will share with you my impressions during my latest trip to Croatia.

Dubrovnik Airport

Coastline of Dubrovnik

Old Town of Dubrovnik

Traveling by airplane

I was curious to find out how air travel will be during a pandemic. I got a little glimpse of it when I flew on my way back from Australia via China to Germany in the beginning of February. Passengers started to wear masks and the service on board was tremendously reduced. (full video here on YouTube) Now a face mask is mandatory during the flight and there is almost no food and drink service. Direct flights are also reduced from Berlin due to Corona. So to get to Dubrovnik (DBV) I had to fly from Vienna (VIE) with Austrian Airlines.

It was great to observe that Corona has not only negative aspects. Flying has never been so easy going: No major crowds at the airport, quick security checks, no pushing of other passengers. Instead smaller and clean airplanes, respectful passengers, no panic while disembarking and everyone is trying to keep distance from others. Some measurements seem awkward but it is great to see everyone is obeying them.

Staying at the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik organized by Turkfluencer

Direct Ocean front

What to expect at the hotel?

Last time I flew to Dubrovnik I was still a flight student back in 2008. So I was thrilled to come back to re-explore the region. I stayed in the Rixos Premium Hotel Dubrovnik, which is situated at the waterfront not far from the famous old town. Waking up in the morning overlooking the calm Adrian Sea and having a coffee on the terrace lets you forget about all the terrible things happening in the world right now.

Covid-19 measurements in the hotel

The hotel staff wore masks. There are plenty of stations to disinfect your hands. At the buffet restaurant you were required to wear a face mask and gloves but besides that you did not have to.

I really enjoyed that all facilities of the hotel, like the outdoor pool, indoor pool, sauna, bars and all the food outlets were completely open. The Rixos hotel really spoiled me with their Turkish hospitality. I enjoyed a dinner show at Umi Teppanyaki, Dry aged meat at the Turquoise restaurant and a romantic dinner in their open air fish restaurant  by the sea.

Are restaurants open?

Most of the restaurants in the city were open even with a fewer number of tourists which normally would visit during the summer. Make sure to visit restaurants outside of your hotel as well. 80% of the people are dependent on tourism in Croatia. To go outside for dinner to support local businesses like the Gverovic Orsan restaurant, a traditional mediterranean restaurant which is also one of the oldest ones in Dubrovnik. Their signature dish is the black risotto and during all meals you can enjoy stunning views of the Adria. Don’t miss trying fresh oysters from Croatia.

Cabana day

Fish restaurant at the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik

Umi Teppanyaki restaurant at the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik

Protection is key

The face mask has become a mandatory accessory in our daily lives. You need to wear a mask whenever you get into an enclosed public building in Croatia. You are supposed to keep at least 1,5 meter to others but this is almost impossible in the narrow streets  and small houses of the old town.

Please do not to forget your other safe companion: sun protection. As you know I have a long lasting partnership with Eucerin to spread the awareness of the importance to protect yourself from the sun.

Why should you use suncare?
First of all not to get a painful sunburn. Secondly to lower the chances of getting skin cancer. Solely in Germany, 200.000 people became diagnosed with skin cancer for the first time in 2016. Additionally, the sun is the reason for many other skin damages. You should protect yourself during any #sunnymoment and it is never too late to start with it!

For your health and beauty

I never really thought about it, the UV- Light and HEV- Light does not only influence the healthiness of the skin, but also the aging process. The research of Eucerin revealed that the high-energy visible light (HEV) induces free radicals which also cause visible signs of skin aging and hyperpigmentation. About 90% of the visible skin aging is caused by UV- Light and HEV- Light.

Three easy tips for the proper protection

  1. The right product: Find the right product for you and your skin type. Eucerin Sun Protection has a huge product variety thus meets your age, preference, and needs.
  2. The right amount: Think of the size of a golf ball. That is the quantity you need to cover your whole body.
  3. Think twice: Best is to apply sunscreen twice, so you don’t miss out on any unprotected spots on your skin.

What are my favorite products?

Eucerin offers a wide range of sunscreen products for any age, skin type and occasion.
For the face: SUN OIL CONTROL FACE GEL-CREME
For the body: SUN OIL CONTROL BODY DRY TOUCH (NEW) and TRANSPARENT DRY TOUCH (refreshing)

All three products have an ultra-light texture and dry really fast on the skin. A big plus is that they are not as sticky as you know it from other suncare products. Additionally the Oil Control products have a mattifying effect so your skin is less shiny for your vacation photos.

Activities in Dubrovnik

Now it is the time to discover and re-explore  European cities which are normally over crowded with people. Normally, Dubrovnik is packed with tourists during high season. Thousands of day visitors come by cruise ships and it is hard to enjoy the full beauty of the city. In the last two years the city became even more famous because Games of Thrones and Star Wars used the scenic city as their movie set. This is summer, it is all different. I spotted only a few tourists strolling through the old town. I can recommend booking a city tour by @experiencedubrovnik, the official tourism board of the city and do the walk on top of the city wall.

Fun fact: Did you know that Dubrovnik was the first city to have a quarantine?
Back in the days mariner returning from their trips had to isolate themselves in a building for 40 days before they were allowed to enter the city. They never had the black death.

Old Town of Dubrovnik

Adria from the Cable Car

The Old Town Dubrovnik

What can you do?

I decided to do activities which did not require me to be surrounded by a lot of people.

  • Cable Car ride to have stunning views of the city, the Adrian Sea and the islands surrounding Dubrovnik. Do this prior sunset for the best light and pleasant temperatures.
  • A private boat trip. I chartered a Jeanneau 30 boat with @Dubrovnikboats for the full day. My skipper Frano showed me the old town from the waterside and took me to some beautiful bays at the Elaphite islands to go swimming, cliff jumping and diving into caves. Be sure to stop at Bowa restaurant for lunch.

Boat Day are the best days

Bowa Restaurant

Bowa Restaurant

Drinks on the island

Local Oysters from Croatia

  • Day trip to Montenegro. @finestluxurytours from Dubrovnik took me ona full day trip to show me the highlights of Montenegro. Within 10 hours I visited the picture perfect cities Perast, Kotor, Budva and Porto Montenegro. “At birth of the planet, the most beautiful encounter between land and sea must have been on the Montenegrin coast line” Lord Byron.

Luxury Mercedes Car of @finestluxurytours for the day trip

Sokol Fortress in Dubrovnik

Comfortable Montenegro day trip

Yachts at the Porto Montenegro

Perast, Montenegro

Verige 65 restaurant in Montenegro

Verige 65 restaurant in Montenegro

Verige 65 restaurant in Montenegro

Did Corona impair the quality of my vacation?

At no time did I have the impression that Corona impaired the quality of my vacation. Moreover, the hotel was not that crowded, reservations were not required for restaurants, less waiting time for attractions, the city was less crowded and activities were more affordable. The only thing I was worried about was that Croatia will be determined as a risk country which would require me to self isolate myself when returning to Germany.

Gverovic Orsani in Dubrovnik

Are you planning to go on vacation soon? How do you feel about it?
Let me a know in a comment below and please do not forget to like the blog post.

Happy and healthy travels

Your PilotPatrick


top 10 instagrammable spots in New York City

TOP 10 instagrammable spots in New York City

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Dear Aviator, 

it has been a while since my trip to the city that never sleeps. Instead of a straight forward travel blog post, I share with you my "TOP 10 Instagrammable spots in New York City". At a destinations I am constantly chasing for spots to create enganging content for you. This definitely looks a lot easier than it really is. Stick to my TOP 10 and you will get automatically a great overivew of the city and some nice shots for you feed. Pack your camera (not only your phone) and some good walking shoes, because I walked over 40 km in six days. 

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Times Square, a must-see in NYC at night, but very crowded

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Spectacular street canyons, but extremely busy and hard to take Insta shots

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1- The Vessel

New in town. The Vessel, an architectural artwork, which is unique and extravagant. Built to plans by the British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the elaborate honeycomb-like structure rises 16 stories (45 m) and consists of 154 flights of stairs and 2,500 steps. The Vessel is the main feature of the 5-acre (2.0 ha) Hudson Yards Public Square, which comprosmises a mall with lots of shoppping opportunities. It's worth a visit since the entrance is for free (check the website prior) and you can take some etravagent photos.

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The Vessel

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2- The Envue Hotel

Not quite in New York City, but only a 10 min ferry ride across the Hudson river. The Envue Hotel, which belongs to the Autography Collection of Marriott, offers unobstructed views of the New York City skyline. I stayed in one of their spacious and contemporary executive suites with a spectacular balcony (Instagram spot deluxe). You not necessarily have to stay at this 5-star hotel, to enjoy the view. As non hotel guest, you could have dinner at the at the NoHu restaurant or enjoy views from their rooftop terrace.

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Envue hotel lobby and bar

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Relaxing in the Envue Hotel

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Envue Hotel with ferry station in front

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3- Intrepid Air Museum

A must for every avgeek, is a visit at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The museum showcases the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, the cruise missile submarine USS Growler, a Concorde SST, a Lockheed A-12 and the Space Shuttle Enterprise. (just to mention some highlights of the exhibition). I visited the museum by night for the TPG awards hosted by The Points Guy. It is an award show which honors excellence in travel, loyalty programs and credit cards. Make sure to get a shot with the Concorde or on top of the aircraft carrier.

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The Intrepid Air Museum

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At the TPG Awards 2019

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On the red carpet at thr TPG Awards

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4- Neigborhood SoHo

Strolling around the SoHo neighborhood feels like you are straight in a smovie set of one of your favorite blockbusters. You can go shopping in boutiques, have a coffe, healthy food and take lots of typical "Newyork-style" photos with escape latters on the brick fasades.

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SoHo neighborhood

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Check out my YouTube channel PilotPatrick for more exciting videos about my trips around the world!

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5- The Oculus

Finally! Like the new Berlin airport (still not open) it took a bit longer and costed more money until the Oculus opened. The $4 billion Oculus station house, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, consists of white ribs that interlock high above the ground. Inside you find the transportation hub and a mall. The building has been praised for its design and its "instagramability". From the outside it los like that the construction has wings.

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The Oculus gave me wings

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The 9/11 memorial next to the Oculus

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6- Helicopter flight

Not an inexpensive experience, but worth if you want to see New York City from high above. Once in the air you can really spot the massive size of the city. I departed from the heliport in Lower Manhatten and went on a scenic flight for about 20 mins with Heli NY. In case this is not thrilling enough, you can go on a flight with the passengers open and you can lean out of the helicopter during the flight (only departing from New Jersey. That's definitely the Instagram photo of NYC.

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7- The Lexington

Stay where the stars have stayed! The Lexington Hotel was built in 1929 and is showcasing the design, architecture and style of that iconic period. Once home for many famous people like Marilyn Monroe, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and PilotPatrick ;).  I stayed in the Arthur Godfried Suite, he used to be a well-known TV and radio braodcaster. He was an Aviator as well. So this suite was a perfect match. You don't necessarily have to sleep at the Lexington, you book one of their theme suites for an event as well.

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The Lexington Hotel in Midtown

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8- Central Park

The world famous park. In the winter is it not that beautiful, but nevertheless it is worth to take a stroll through the park or go ice skating. It is a nice Instagram spot, since you can take photos away from the crowds. In the middel of  the souther end of the park is an elevation formed by rocks. This location makes a nice scenery since high tall buildings rise in the background.

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Southern End of Central Park

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9- cloudM rooftop

You don't need to spend a fortune to get access to a rooftop in Manhattan. Just by coincidence, I discovered the the cloudM rooftop in Soho. It is not a skyscraper, but you still have an unobstructed of lower Manhatten and Midtown Manhatten from an outside and inside area. Alternatively, you can now visit the Observatory at the One World Center, the Rockefeller Center or the Empire State Building. Either way, you spend a minimum of  35 $ per entrance.

 

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cloudM rooftop bar

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View from the cloudM rooftop bar

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Manhatten Bridge View Point

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10- Brooklyn and Manhatten Birdge

Probably the most Instagrammed location in entire New York City. Take a walk via the bridge starting from Lower Manhatten all the way to the other side to Brooklyn. The photo motives are endless and you definitely will see other who do it for the "Gram". My destination after the Brooklyn Bridge was the Manhatten Bridge Point of View. I have seen this location so many times on Instagram, but I was quite disappointed since it was really crowded. People were really rude and did not want to move out of your frame. So I walked to the Main Street Park granting a view of the Brooklyn bridge and the skyline in the back. Please always respect others when they are taking shots like you would expect it from others.

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Manhatten Bridge View Point

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Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn

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What would have been your favorite location in NYC? Let me know in a comment below and don’t forget to like my blog about the "TOP 10 Instagrammable spots in New York City"

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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differences between Captain and First Officer

What are the differences between Captain and First Officer?

Dear Aviator,

you cannot imagine how bad I feel that I have neglected my blog for a while. Lately my travels kept me very busy, therefore my productivity went doen. This fact and the packing are the two things I dislike most about traveling.  

Are you ready for another aviation related blog post? You probably have  questioned yourself what is really the difference between a captain and first officer. How many times have I heard people saying: "Ah you are the captain now, so you are finally allowed to fly the airplane!" In this blog post I will share with you the four major differences between Captain and First Officer.

 

Appearance

Age is not an indicator of whether a pilot is a Captain or First Officer. I have flown with First Officers who were almost double my age. Have a look at the number of stripes of the pilot uniform.  Three stripes stand for First Officer and four for Captain. In genral, the higher the number of stripes, the higher is the rank.

Sometimes you might spot two stripes on a pilot uniform. This is a Junior First Officer who is either still in training or has not reached a certain hours flown. You might have also seen  three stripes with a really thick one. This stands for a Senior First Officer. This pilot is very expereicend  and he/she can fly from the left seat during cruise flight when the captain is taking a break on long-range flight for exampl. Speaking about the seat position. The Captain is seated in the left side whereas the First Officer in the right. These positions must not be interchanged. However, Captains can receive a right seat check out (additional training required) which allows them to fly from the left as well.

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Check out my YouTube channel PilotPatrick for more exciting videos about my trips around the world!

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Duties

How many times have I heard people say: "Ah you are the Captain, so you are finally the real pilot!" What was I before an unreal or fake pilot?! Both crew members regardless of their rank can be called pilots.

This might surprise you: Captains fly their aieplane as much as First Officers. Before each flight the crew decides how is PF (pilot Flying) or PNF (Pilot not flying or pilot monitoring). The PF controls the plane, performs the take-off, controls the autopilot in cruise flight and does the landing. The PNF fills the flight log, communicates with air traffic control (ATC) and supports the PF. Usually, I leave the choice to my First Officers which role they would like to perform. The answer is always the same when the weather is bad or it is getting late: I prefer to do the next flight ;-)

There are cases where the Captain determines that he or she wants to fly due to weather or other special reasons. Addtionally, the there are some circumstances  in which the First Officer is not allowed to fly. (more in detail at a later point)

So why doesn't the Captain fly the whole time?

  • Fatigue is better distributed if both pilots fly.
  • First Officers gain experience they will need as captains.
  • Flying is not always the best use of the Captain's experience, training and time. In cases of abnormal issues such as a system malfunction, it may be better for the Captain not to be tied up flying. That way he/she  can concentrate and coordinate the appropriate actions.

The major difference is that the captain always has the responsibility. From the time the Captain boards the plane until he/she leaves the plane again (no matter who is flying!!!), the Captain is responsible for the flight and is in command of it. The First officer is the second in command.

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Operational Procedures

The commercial operation of an aeroplane requires a high level of standarization. Guidelines, regulations, limitations and procdues on how to operate an aircraft are written in the opertional manuals. This grants a high level of safety and allows a new crew composition to fly with each other since they follow the prescibed operational procedures.

It is the job of the Captain to taxi the aircraft on ground due to the fact that the tiller (steering wheel of the nose gear) is mounted only on one side of the cockpit. The Airbus A300-600 has also a tiller on the First Officer side. This feautre does not automatically grant the First Officer to taxi as well. Most airlines follow a philosophy that it should be only the Captain taxing since he/she is responsible of the aircraft. An outdated philosophy since one day the First Officer becomes a Captain without any practice taxing.

Coming back to the cases in which the First Officer is NOT allowed to fly:

  • Takeoffs below 400m runway visual range (RVR).
  • CAT 2/3. when the weather is below CAT1 which means in most cases an RVR of less than 550m with a decision height of 200m.

To sum it up: Everytime it gets more challenging it the Captains task to fly , because he/she is trained to operate in low visibilty (LOVIS) and usually has more expierence.

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Money

The topic that everyone is most curious about. Moneywise there is a big difference in the salary of a Captain and a First Officer. To have the entire responsibility for a multi-million Euro jet, the lives of the passengers and the rest of the crew, a Captain gets paid extra. A safe flight depends on the ultimate judgement and decision making of the Captain. As a general rule you can say that a Captain makes about 50% more than a First officer. So if a First Officer makes about 60,000€ a captain makes at least 90,000 €. It can be also more than double or even more than that if company affliliation is a longer or when a Captain has additional tasks and responsibilites (eg. instructor).

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Which question about aviation would you like to have answered next? Let me know in a comment below and don’t forget to like my blog about the differences between Captain and First Officer. 

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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