Jonny the Pilot

Commercial Airline Pilot. Vlogging Europe. Loving life. Ironman. Feminist.

Tag: pilotlife

6 days in Los Angeles 🇺🇸 ☀️ 🌴 🏄🏽‍♂️

Cue packing, taxi, airport lounge,  the almighty British Airways Airbus 380, and a seat that transformed into a bed on the upper deck of this contravercial (when it comes to looks) aircraft bound for California. I was fortunate enough to have a week’s holiday in LA – the city of stars, surfers and sunshine!

Cue packing, taxi, airport lounge,  the almighty British Airways Airbus 380, and a seat that transformed into a bed on the upper deck of this controversial (when it comes to looks) aircraft bound for California. I was fortunate enough to have a week’s holiday in LA – the city of stars, surfers and sunshine!

Picking up the rental, I couldn’t help bargaining for an upgrade (if you’ve read some of my previous posts you’ll know I’m not adverse to the odd sports car!). Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a Corvette – that was it. Papers sorted, over to the Corvette we went…to discover the boot (AKA trunk if you’re American!) isn’t really designed for two  bulky suitcases plus hand luggage 🙈

After masterfully rejigging the luggage, we were off in the tightly packed Corvette, the ride that got us around LA and the surrounding area for the next 6 days – what a holiday!

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3, 2, 1… GO!

From strolling along the beautiful Crystal Cove beach in the south to a luxurious stay in the West London Hollywood Hotel in Beverly Hills to a rather eventful mountain biking session in nearby national park, Big Bear Mountain resort, it really is the city with it all.

Some of our adventure was caught on film by British Airways – check it out on YouTube.

Otherwise read on for some of the best places we came across during our adventure. In no particular order…

Huntington Beach – get that quintessential California lifeguard pic 🏄‍♀️🏄‍♂️

It’s not necessarily beautiful but it was the first beach we visited and, given it’s pretty iconic life guard huts and live video feed in every Holister store, the huge expanse of soft sand under our feet got us off on the right foot of our adventure; this beach is quintessential California.

A shamelessly big, long beach, you’ll find a long concrete pavement winding along the coastline (otherwise known as the Ocean Strand) with people of all ages cycling, jogging, walking and occasionally rollerblading along. On the beach itself groups of people of all ages congregate around big fire pits while in the sea you get a view of surfers ripping up the waves around the Huntington Beach pier.

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Crystal Cove – 🌊 

A beautiful beach in an upmarket part of the city. If you head there you might be sat next to the odd BA pilot or cabin crew – it’s a firm favourite!

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Head here for a more peaceful and beautiful beach experience compared to Huntington – it feels less like mankind has intruded although there are a few buildings along the beach edge including The Beachcomber café at Crystal Cove which is worth a visit. This place serves its food with a view! We visited during the week and even then this little café was busy serving brunchtime food to tourists and locals. Apparently it’s also a beautiful place to visit in the evening for dinner whilst listening to the ocean.

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The Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove 👌


Big Bear – exploring the great outdoors!
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On our first full day in LA we awoke to a cloudy sky – not the weather we’d expected in California! (June gloom) Subsequently we decided to jump in the Corvette (did I really need an excuse?!) and head two hours north winding up through forest-covered hills to break through the clouds surrounding Big Bear mountain.

2000m above sea level, we weren’t disappointed – the valley views were SPECTACULAR as we broke through the clouds and the sun beamed down on us.

We grabbed some food before considering how to make the most of our afternoon in this year-round holiday (I should say ‘vacation’) resort.

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If you like the outdoors then you’ll love Big Bear. In the winter you can hit the slopes on your skis or snowboard. We were there in spring and had so much choice – kayaking or boating on Big Bear lake, horse riding, hiking…

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In the end we plumped for a couple of hours of adrenaline-fuelled downhill mountain biking. Gear sorted, we headed up in a chair lift to then wind down the wooded mountain trails on two wheels, hanging on for dear life.

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Claire got a bit over-excited on the final run and ended up displaying her acrobatics before coming to rest on the far side of a bend, splayed across the bike trail…! 🤦‍♀️ But after a quick dusting off, we both agreed it was such an awesome place! We only wished that we could’ve stayed for a few more days of fresh mountain air to get our adventure on!

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Oooouch

El Matador State Beach – hidden gem 🏖 

This Malibu beach was a gem of a find and topped our list as the favourite sandy strip we visited!

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Beautiful El Matador State Beach

We came across it by chance, parking on a busy highway and following a trickle of people down some steep steps to a beautiful, sandy and quiet beach dotted with huge rocks.

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It felt personal, exclusive and like a well-kept secret! There were also some modest waves to play about in if you fancy a dip.

Venice Beach – California on steroids 💪

If you love people watching then this is the beach for you. It’s such an eclectic mix of people and just stuff going on – from people working out at Muscle Beach to people blasting out music as they rollerblade to music Mr Motivator used to play to quirky shops selling merchandise along the edge of the beach.

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The long stretches of concrete pavements make it an ideal place to skateboard. After all, this is where it all began… We were also lucky enough to see Sky Brown hitting the main skate park – there’s a reason why she drew the crowds, she’s incredible and only 10!!

Pink’s hotdogs – you’d better like big sausages 🥪 🐶

Watch the British Airways ‘Inside Los Angeles’ YouTube video and you’ll spot Claire and I stuffing our faces with some enormous hotdogs…seriously tasty! We even met the owners – what an awesome family! We were plied with every merchandise imaginable…

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This place has been around since 1939 and always in the same family. There’s always a queue – if you’re hungry this is the place for you!

Santa Monica 🎣 🎡 

This place is probably most famous for its pier and being officially the last stop on the famous Route 66 – aka the metaphor for the American Dream! If you’re road tripping then this beach is a must visit – gaze out at the beach views from the pier, chat to the locals doing their best to catch some fish and jump on a fairground ride for some old-fashioned fun.

Runyon Canyon – get your sweat on with the stars

Your in the foothills over LA alongside the infamous Hollywood sign. If you’re looking to get your sweat on with a jog/walk then get yourself over to Runyon Canyon.

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We were in LA in June and it was HOT. Don’t go around lunchtime when we did – the hottest part of the day.

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Downtown LA in the distance. Exploring the canyons in the hot summer haze

Clearly the weather doesn’t deter locals from pelting up and down these canyons – sturdy trainers needed!

I like to think I’d be as fit as the locals if I lived in LA…truth is I think I’d be splashing around in the sea and cooling off!

Still, definitely worth a visit for that view over LA – awesome!

GET YOUR ADVENTURE ON…

So this was pretty much a long list of some of the things we got up to. But in short LA was FANTASTIC. If you’ve got bundles of energy then there’s just so much to do here and we barely scratched the surface!

Let me know what you think and if you’ve been to LA. I genuinely can’t wait to go back!

@TheKevinGreene – Epic capture

I also recently came across a handy blog I wish we’d looked at before we went – a genuine abundance of tips and ideas for your visit from a Californian local: California through my lens. Check it out and let me know how you get on!

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24 hours in New York, New York! 🍎 🚕

A couple of days off…what to do?? Where to go that’s not too far, somewhere I’ve never been and I can jam-pack full of adventure?

Flight booked at 5.55pm. Uber arrived at 6.05pm. Horrendous traffic at peak commuter time (move out the way!!). Check in online en route. Heathrow Terminal 5 at 7.10pm. Flight departs at 7.50pm….it was close!

A couple of days off…what to do?? Where to go that’s not too far, somewhere I’ve never been and I can jam-pack full of adventure?

Flight booked at 5.55pm. Uber arrived at 6.05pm. Horrendous traffic at peak commuter time (move out the way!!). Check in online en route. Heathrow Terminal 5 at 7.10pm. Flight departs at 7.50pm….it was close!

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Hello First Class!

So off I went. Ushered into my seat, 5G, on a BA Boeing 747 where I was plied with champagne, water and delicious food for the next 7 hours.

Before I knew it I was disembarking and getting very confused about which immigration queue I needed to be in. Third time lucky – there I was stationed at the end of the longest queue! 🙄

Collected my bag and walked out of JFK airport to miles of yellow cabs. I’d arrived – I was in NEW YORK CITY!

An hour later I was in Mid Town Manhattan, a stone’s throw from Central Park and Times Square. This place is nuts!


I literally couldn’t stop saying WOW. Everything is so big – the cars, the buildings, the lights, the food portions – just WOW. People everywhere, sirens on steroids, sights, smells…

Even though it was 12.30am EST the place was buzzing. And those lights – it could be daytime! ☀️ 😎 I headed out for a couple of Long Island Ice Teas – why not?!

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I was wandering around in awe. And it felt so different to London! The people are so friendly. They actually want to chat and say hi which is pretty nice (…unless you’re in a hurry 😉)

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My plan for a fresh morning jog around Central Park quickly went out the window. Instead I found myself waking up and heading towards a local diner – The Morning Star Cafe – to get the real authentic American breakfast experience 😜  Waffling down some huge portions, we were told by a local on the next table that our accents “were like music”. Ok, thanks I guess!

We jumped on some bikes and went for a cycle. Great way to see the city. Don’t even think about driving. The place is gridlocked!

We headed south on second avenue towards East Village and Lower Manhattan – cool area. A cross between London’s Soho and Brixton. Loads of old school bars, cocktail lounges, alternative restaurants. At all times I genuinely felt I was on the set of Friends – in fact for some reason I felt like I was on a film set the whole time. It was all so surreal.

Food’s never far from my mind and we were near the infamous Katz’s Delicatessen – the number one Deli in NYC. This place was founded in 1888 and each week it serves 6800kg of pastrami – that’s CRAZY. Upon entry were given a ticket and chose our meal.


The place was rammed – so many people, so busy, staff everywhere behind the counter carving and carving that pastrami and corn beef. A healthy helping of grub in our stomachs, we paid with our tickets on the way out. Nice.


Then hello Central Park – an oasis in the city and even bigger than some countries (apparently it’s 6x larger than Monaco!). And everywhere you look in the distance there are these huge, towering sky scrappers rising above the trees. We’ve all seen it in the movies but it’s something else in real life.


At this point I headed to Uptown to meet some friends. Made a new acquaintance too, hey Melinda (apparently her and Bill are big fans of The Crown!) – and then off I went up one of the tallest buildings in NYC…the Empire State building.

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Again WOW! What a view from the top. You literally have a 360 degree view of the city. Top tip – pay a bit extra for the fast track otherwise you queue forever for the lifts!

First lift takes you to 80th floor where you get an amazing view. Then it’s another up to 86th floor where you can go outside – awesome.

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And then you can go up even further to the 102nd floor (not for those with a fear for heights!). From there it’s like there’s nothing in New York you can’t see. Except where I parked my bike 😉

The Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler building, the Flat Iron building, the Rocefella building, the Hudson River (where good old Sully landed), Central Park, the list goes on….

Then it was time for me to leave the city that never sleeps. Boarded a Boeing 777 bound for Gatwick, wheels up, lights out – I slept all the way to London. (The White Company duvet made it especially comfy – good partnership BA).

Gorgeous morning in London – what a nutty 24 hours adventuring over the other side of the Atlantic.


Am literally still BUZZING from the whole experience and can’t wait to go back – just definitely go with deep pockets because the place has a steep price tag!….but it’s worth it. Just WOW!

Any tips on where to go and what to do when I next visit let me know.

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Top 5 perks to being an Airline Pilot👩‍✈️ 👨‍✈️

Ever wondered what makes a pilot tick? There are many great things about a career in commercial aviation. I’ve picked out my top 5. Here we go… TRAVEL What’s not…

Ever wondered what makes a pilot tick? There are many great things about a career in commercial aviation. I’ve picked out my top 5. Here we go…

  1. TRAVEL

What’s not to love about a job that takes you all over the world?

Whether you’re short haul (like me flying around Europe) or long haul (flying to Hong Kong one week and Miami the next), the opportunity for adventure, to explore new cities, countries and meet new people is undoubtedly the biggest draw of the job.

While it does mean you’re often away from loved ones, it’s even more of a reason to make the most of the opportunity this career affords.  Wherever I’m staying I always try to make the most of getting out there and soaking up the sense of the new and the unknown.

Plus I always love a quick chat meeting local restaurant owners or hoteliers with local knowledge and advice – a smile and a laugh always goes a long way and I always feel incredibly warmly welcomed.

  1. FLYING A MULTIMILLION POUND JET

I’d be lying if I said flying a multimillion pound jet wasn’t one of the key reasons I became an airline pilot.

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📷 | @berlin_planespotter[[

With great power (and these really do have a lot of power!) comes great responsibility. Every time I walk up to our aircraft I feel proud not only of myself, to have worked so hard to reach the position I’m in, but to know I’ll be pulling back on the sidestick at 160 mph taking to the skies in such an incredible machine. 🛫

Even after a year and a half of training and nearly 10 years flying commercial jets, the sense of being in control of something so powerful always gets my heart pumping – ask any pilot I know and they’ll only agree!

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  1. THE OFFICE VIEW!

Freedom in the skies! Undoubtedly what attracted me to becoming an airline pilot is the chance to be above the clouds.

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I’m an island boy at heart and the ability to experience that sense of wonderment and freedom comes with this job whilst still operating in such a regulated and safety conscious industry.

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Guess which mountain range?

Living in the UK in the winter there’s really nothing better than when you break through the clouds, gaze out at that vast open expanse of the skies and feel the heat of the sun on my skin. No seasonal affective disorder (SAD) here!

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  1. TIME OFF

It varies airline to airline but pilots generally receive a good number of days off – not necessarily over the weekends but it’s still generous compared to most jobs.

That’s not to say we don’t work hard! If you’re on short haul like me then it’s often 2, 3, or 4 sectors (flights) in a day, while long haul pilots will be away for potentially a week or more. But the opportunity to recouperate, explore or take up other hobbies is fantastic.

Check out my blog on Canada vs France if you’re a keen snowboarder or skiermg class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-3022″ src=”https://jonnythepilot.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4518.jpg” alt=”IMG_4518″ width=”2736″ height=”1824″ /> In the winter I can’t keep away from the slopes!! ()[/captio

I’ve flown with many an interesting Captain all able to lead diverse lifestyles due to work patterns (not your typical 9-5 job) – e.g. part-time dentists, on-the-side property developers, semi-professional athletes, etc…

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As you know, I’m pretty keen on jumping on board another plane to continue exploring new places or getting my adventure on whether at home or abroad (or back on the island of dreams…AKA where I grew up on the Isle of Wight!).

  1. THE UNIFORM

Ok, so being a pilot today isn’t always as glamorous as in the movie ‘Catch Me If You Can’ but putting on my uniform certainly makes me feel great!

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A year and a half of solid study and examination led to me getting my Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL) so it undoubtedly feels satisfying! And on the plus side it means not having to worry every day I go to work if I have clothes to wear – just whether I have clean ironed shirts lined up in the wardrobe and that I’ve remembered to pick up my uniform from the dry cleaners. Oh and the hat, I’m always loosing that. Thankfully it’s like a homing pigeon.

Being a Pilot has been my dream since childhood and I feel very fortunate to be living it! Any thoughts on the perks let me know!

Of course there are some downsides as with any job. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll share my view.

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A very swanky 4th July Party 🇺🇸

If you’ve ever been to America you’ll know that Americans don’t do things by halves! It’s that time of year and what better excuse to party than to celebrate the…

If you’ve ever been to America you’ll know that Americans don’t do things by halves!

It’s that time of year and what better excuse to party than to celebrate the country’s  independence in serious style.

It was time to sharpen up

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Taken by the amazing Mark Harrison 📷

I was lucky enough to receive an invite to the swankiest party in town. The US ambassadors annual 4th of July celebration at Winfield House set in 12.5 acres of Regent’s Park…

I approached the 15ft high iron gates around which there is a serious level of security (lots of black suits and sunglasses). After an ID check I was ushered through to the Ambassador’s garden where there is absolutely everything I love about America. We’re talking a Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Gin cocktails, a Jim Bean whiskey tent and a Craft Beer Motel!

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People danced the night away to a fantastic live soul band (The Soul Jets) on a centre stage fit for a music festival with a mix of familiar faces from TV, Radio and politics, all dressed to impress.

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The garden was lined with Marines in uniform who entered the party in true military fashion providing quite the show. Check out my Instagram TV for the video.

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The incredible Laura Wright sang the National anthem and the party began…

Mr Ambassador, Robert Wood Johnson (Woody) then gave a fantastic speech joined on stage by his wife and 2 sons in suave matching Ralph Lauren outfits.

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Thank you Mr Ambassador for putting on such a great party.

A spectacular firework show drew the evening to a close.

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Happy 4th July! 🎉

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Tartan at the ready but no kilt…

Travelling to Edinburgh to visit the capital as a pilot with British Airways. Edinburgh is my favourite place to visit in the UK. with so many flights a day it so accessible

My Instagram TV now has a video from the top of what I think is Arthur’s Seat. It was a big hill either way and I could hardly breathe. Don’t miss it… 😆 Instagram.com/JonnythePilot #IGTV

I’m always asked the best places to stay or where to eat, what bars to visit and even which side of the aeroplane to sit on for the perfect picture as we come in to land.

So where better to start than the beautiful Scotland.

Edinburgh 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 

The Scottish capital has to be my favourite UK destination. There is the famous castle, built on top of an extinct volcano. Climbing or running up to the 822 foot peak of Arthur’s seat when I have enough energy is one of the best starts to the day. The panoramic views are simply stunning. On May Day its traditional for young women to wash their face with the morning dew of the hill to make them beautiful. I’d argue that regardless of your gender it’s a pretty stimulating way to start your day any month of the year!  ☔️  🏃

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A run up to Arthur’s Seat in the rain is a great way to blow out the cobwebs. I may or may not have washed with the morning dew… 😆

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It was a lovely surprise to bump into Legolas, displaying his skills not with a bow and arrow but some bagpipes. Multitalented

Did you know there are more restaurants here per head than any other city in the UK. So depending on what you’re feeling like you could visit one of my favourite spots, ‘the Devil’s Advocate’, hidden just off the royal Mile. Minutes from the castle. An old Victorian pump house. Think bare brick, beams and wood with a fantastic bar, mixologists, whisky selection and dimly lit open plan restaurant that serves food that will quite honestly set the benchmark for the rest of your meals in Edinburgh. The place is always buzzing. The cocktails alone will certainly keep you going on those cold wet Scottish evenings. Not one to miss out on. 🍸

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A fantastic shot of Princes St taken from Calton Hill. You can see the Balmoral Hotel with the clock tower. Excellent afternoon tea. 📷 |@EdinburghPhotoWalk

I usually stay up towards Calton Hill and the Old Town. The city isn’t really that big so it’s easy to walk around but get those thighs ready as its anything but flat!

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If you’re standing in front of the Waverley train station in the centre of town, you’ll most likely be looking straight at one of the most luxurious hotels in Edinburgh. The Balmoral Hotel. If you stay here, you wont want to wake up anywhere else, ever! Make sure you ask for a room with a city view and don’t miss out on the afternoon tea!

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I’m still not sure if I made it up to Arthur’s Seat or if thats the one behind me…😆

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You can even have design and have your own tartan registered. So if you fancy joining Legolas on the royal mile this the place to come.

We usually land on runway 24 which generally means a flypast before making a 180 degree turn over the coast to head west. Sitting on the left side of the aircraft offers a fantastic view of the estuary and the bridges that span across to North Queensferry are a pretty spectacular sight as the sun sets.

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Slight word of caution, flying into Edinburgh can be a bit bumpy if there is a strong wind blowing over the hills so buckle up if we pop the seatbelt sign on.

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Iceland 🇮🇸 ⛄️

Hello everyone, Sorry I haven’t posted a blog for ages. I’ve been jetting around Europe with my day job and also recently headed up to Aberdeen to surprise a brilliant…

Hello everyone,

Sorry I haven’t posted a blog for ages. I’ve been jetting around Europe with my day job and also recently headed up to Aberdeen to surprise a brilliant young man called Finlay. It was a magical moment as part of BAMagic 

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I’m also writing a travel piece on the top 10 cities to visit in Europe. You’ll be able to see that in one of the National newspapers soon.  Hope you’ll find it useful.

In the meantime, if you’ve ever considered a short visit to Iceland then check out the blog below written by Kay Burley for the Mail on Sunday. Looks awesome.

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You can fly with me from London or British Airways also fly from London City

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Spectacular views of Iceland as I flew into Keflavik airport with British Airways.  Jonny says sit on the right of the aircraft for the best views.  He was right!

 

Iceland is on everyone’s bucket list.  Or at least that’s how it appears.  Every time I mentioned I’d spent a few glorious days in this curious country I was met with:  ‘I’ve always wanted to go there.’ Followed swiftly by: ‘Did you see the Northern Lights?’

The answer is, yes I did.  Sort of.  But, there really is so much more to Iceland than looking upwards.

Whale watching, Icelandic-horse riding, snowmobiling, all terrain vehicle tours, caving… They’re all available for the more energetic traveller. Or, for visitors more like me, there’s absolutely breathtaking scenery enjoyed from the sanctuary of the tranquil Blue Lagoon!

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Blue Lagoon is heaven on earth

The lagoon is a spa that was created from a nearby geothermal power plant – almost all of Iceland’s hot water is generated from the earth’s core – and has been developed into one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions.

I visited on an absolutely freezing November day and the tentative sub-zero steps from the main building to the water’s edge took my breath away, but the shivers quickly melted as I eased into the 100 degree biothermal lagoon.  The waters are said to work wonders for the skin and in addition a silica mud mask is a must. I was a little embarrassed about wallowing around sporting the brilliant white mask, but everyone else in the lagoon was doing the same!

Steam gently rising from the crystal clear waters was so relaxing I wanted to stay submerged forever, so I compromised and treated myself to a half hour in-water massage.  Floating on a yoga mat in scenic surroundings while having my shoulders manfully manipulated by a brilliant masseur will, without doubt, be a life memory for me.

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The lagoon is heated by a geothermal power plant.  As is 95% of Iceland homes.

Of course I wanted photos too but was worried about keeping my phone dry. I shouldn’t have been. There are plenty of staff who will take a souvenir snap on an iPad and email them to you – free of charge.

If you’re planning a trip to the lagoon then go early would be my strong advice. It does become very busy later in the day. I went at 9am by shuttle bus, around 50 minutes from Reykjavik, and had the waters almost to myself for an hour or so.

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Any road trip offers spectacular views of the countryside.  Locals say if you’re lost in a forest in Iceland – stand up.  Vikings cut down 99% of trees!

If you only have a few days to spare then travelling by bus is an excellent way to get around the country.  Less than a third of a million people live in Iceland with around 120,000 in Reykjavik. However, business is booming and after the challenges of the financial crisis brought the country to its knees, its rebuilding quickly and tourists are flocking there. Two million visited this year and that number is predicted to grow by 40% in 2018, so go soon.

Hotels in Reykjavik – the Smoke City – cater for all wallets, though be aware that Iceland is relatively expensive.  A G&T cost me £14 and supper for us more than £100. Do not buy bottled water.  Tap water is excellent. And free!

The new harbour is a bustling part of town and there’s a strong party scene if that’s your thing.  Restaurants are plentiful and there’s lots of fabulous food to choose from, including a ‘world famous’ hot dog stand where tourists and locals alike queue around the block.

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Reykjavik is a functional rather than beautiful city…

Architecture in the capital is not so much of a draw if I’m being brutally honest, but nevertheless I enjoyed strolling around the small city and a two-hour walking tour conducted by a local historian, was informative and fun.  However, I wanted to see much more than geothermal swimming pools even if Ryan Gosling and the cast of the Game of Thrones had been seen wallowing in one of the outdoor public baths while I was there.  So, I left behind the heated pavements of the capital – no necessity to shovel away snow- for a Golden Circle Tour of Geysers and waterfalls.

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Hot, old geysers everywhere

The scenery is second to none.  Hot, old Geysers putting on a regular show are a popular stop for tourists. In addition, visit Pingvellir, a picturesque world heritage national park which sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of two tectonic plates and is the site of the oldest parliament in the world.

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Pingvellir is a world heritage site where tectonic plates collide

Not my thing, but it’s also said to be one of the best spots for diving in Iceland.  I preferred to visit the Gulfoss waterfall where the power of nature sees chocolate milk-coloured water flowing at 2,000 cubic metres per second.  Don’t stand too near the edge though.  Some have, with fatal consequences.

Gulfoss waterfall is chocolate milk coloured.  Jonny described it as Nesquik on tap.  Wish I’d thought of that.  Perfect description

Of course, I couldn’t not mention the Northern Lights.  Tour operators are certainly geared up for the spectacular phenomenon and on a daily basis they measure magnetic activity to proffer reasonable predictions on what might happen on any given night.  Be prepared though to stand in the freezing cold for a long time waiting for Mother Nature to put on a show.  I was in the United States in August waiting with eager anticipation as a total eclipse was promised. The moon nibbled at the sun, the second it had been predicted to, right on cue.  That doesn’t happen with the Northern Lights.  There’s a lot of looking up towards an inky-black sky in eager anticipation.  It was absolutely freezing the night I was there and just when I could no longer feel my toes and thought I needed to call it an evening and seek refuge in the warmth of the tour bus, the magic came.

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There they are, but be prepared to stand for hours in the cold waiting for the magic to happen

However, it doesn’t always, so build in time to make sure you can boast to your friends back home that you saw the Lights.  My tip would be try early in your visit and if you’re unlucky the first night then you have options.

So, in summary, if the most you knew about Iceland previously was that it was home to an unpronounceable volcano that caused airport chaos around Europe back in 2010 then now’s the time to visit this stunning part of the world.

The phrase locals used to me time and again was:  Take nothing from us and leave nothing behind.  I think I may have left a little part of my heart there.  I’ll definitely be heading back soon to find it…

In the meantime, if you visit before me, could you please visit the square outside the parliament building and just check on how my snowman is doing?

There’s more on my Instagram feed…

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1 Comment on Iceland 🇮🇸 ⛄️

Glasgow 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 & Bologna 🇮🇹 for a night

Hi everyone, This is a look back at a post that became lost back in June 2017 within the desolate depths of the cyber world. I thought is would be…

Hi everyone,

This is a look back at a post that became lost back in June 2017 within the desolate depths of the cyber world. I thought is would be sad not to share the adventure unless of course you already know which city celebrates producing popes, painters and sausages..?

Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to leave a comment 😊

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Cheers!

Let me start by saying that, without doubt, I have the best job in the world!  Travelling around Europe as a British Airways pilot and enjoying the sights and sounds of more than a dozen different countries is a dream come true.

Many of you are kind enough to comment on my social media photos and videos via Twitter: @jkp320 and on Instagram and Facebook: @jonnythepilot so I thought I’d bring them altogether into a weekly blog.

Do let me know what you think.  Any suggestions about what you’d like to see more, or less of would be greatly appreciated.

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Relaxing with my sister @CharlottethePilot at @lakes_ByYoo in the Cotswolds

Here goes…

Started my week with my little sister Charlotte who is also a pilot. I absolutely love this photo of the two of us chilling together at Lakes by Yoo. We’re lucky to have a friend who lives on the 850 acre estate and so took the opportunity to visit for a couple of days when it was just too hot to sleep in London. You may have seen our videos on Instagram including this one…

 

Before trying to build a Kayak tower… 😆

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Hot, hot, hot. Wet, wet, wet.

Anyway, back to the day job.  As I may have mentioned, I really do think I have the best job in the world travelling around Europe in the front seat of a British Airways Airbus 320. This week I went to Brussels; Belfast; Glasgow; Copenhagen and Bologna!

Let me share with you my time in Bologna:-

I absolutely love Italy, but had never been to Bologna before so I was super excited. It has an amazing cafe culture, architecture and arcades.  And I don’t mean the arcades where you’d find lines of 2p slot machines but those of architectural magnificence, adjoining arches that stretch a staggering 38 kilometres across town.

I decided to hire a scooter and see the sights.  A white automatic Vespa from Paula at Travelhoo was just the ticket to zip around town.  You can find Paula right in the centre of town and hire bicycles as well scooters at a very reasonable rate. Vespa rental was 40 Euros for 3 hrs plus petrol.

 

Bologna is celebrated for producing popes, painters and sausages.

                                                                                                                        – Lord Byron 

If you’re unsure about renting a scooter then there’s plenty of opportunity to stroll though the arcades instead. They stretch for miles so don’t worry if by some miracle its raining and you’ve forgotten your brolly.  You could cover most of Bologna’s city centre without even getting wet (minus the odd road crossing).

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 One of many arcades in Bologna

Leaving the rest of the flight crew relaxing at the hotel I took the opportunity to meander the streets and stumbled across a weekly market selling everything and nothing I needed!

But my mission was to find the birthplace of Lamborghini. As I headed to pick up my Vespa, I stumbled across the iconic twin towers of Bologna.

The Asinelli tower at 97 metres stands taller than the leaning tower of Pisa and her sister Garisenda has an even greater lean than THE famous tower.  Have you been?

Asinelli and Garisenda are the city’s only remaining towers from the 13th century.  If you fancy the exercise you can climb a rickety spiral wooden staircase up Asinelli for a spectacular view of the city.

The time had come to swap two wheels for four.  I could hear the sound of the raging bulls, the Lamborghini museum was calling my name. In true Italian style, I adjusted my sunglasses and hopped on the Vespa to head 40 mins out of town through the picturesque countryside in the 38 degree heat. The breeze was a welcome delight.

My friend @wolfiekutner, an absolute genius when it comes to anything cars had pointed me in the direction of super-car heaven and I was only too delighted to take a few photos for his Instagram page.

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Mind blown…

The guided tour of the Lamborghini museum was incredible – made even more unique by the fact I was the only one on the tour on a Saturday afternoon believe it or not

This experience absolutely sits at the top of my Bologna to do list and only cost 20 euros.

They also run tours on the factory floor Monday to Friday.  Note to self:  Another visit to Bologna plugged into the roster in the next couple of months.

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Did you know only V12 Lamborghini’s have scissor action doors as standard

Check this beauty out: The Reventon.

It has a V12 engine with scissor action doors and 668 Hp.
An F22 fighter jet inspired look with its forward-thrusted air intakes up front, hungry-looking scoops on the side and the 4 glass louvers offering a view of the racious V12 engine.

Only 20 were ever made and were over a million euros to buy in 2007…

Any guesses how much they go for today?

I’ll keep saving…

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With a heavy heart I headed back to the Royal Carlton crew hotel in the centre of town to prepare for the serious job of flying an Airbus 320 for British Airways from Bologna (BLQ) to London Heathrow (LHR)

We took off, headed west and chased the setting sun for two  hours over the Alps and across Switzerland and France up to the UK.

The transfer to the airport was quick and easy only taking 20 mins.

Arriving back into Heathrow we disembarked the passengers before programming the aircraft for our next flight and deciding on how much fuel to load.  Meanwhile the bags were being loaded and the catering replaced.  Did you know we now offer a Marks and Spencer inflight service?  I love Percy Pigs and Pals.

It was a quick turnaround and 50 mins later we were ready to go.  Time to swap the glamour of Bologna for the grittiness of Glasgow (GLA).  Flight time time: 1hr 5mins

Joking aside I love visiting Glasgow, its one of my favourite destinations. Always a friendly welcome, a great hotel and a curry to die for!

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Buchanan St – Glasgow

Have you been to Glasgow? I often travel to Scotland’s second city and would be delighted to welcome you aboard next time I’m flying up. Keep checking my tweets for the next time I am scheduled there. Maybe even a selfie in the flight deck.

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Pre-flight relaxation

Lots of people ask about pilot training.  The job, stresses and tensions in the cockpit.

It’s so important to be able to manage your stress levels and state of arousal at work in such a busy and dynamic environment.

There can be many challenging factors throughout the day such as no fuel tanker arriving at the aircraft on a 45 min turnaround, a missing passenger, adverse weather – be it thunderstorms activity causing delays and diversions or cold weather requiring de-icing, the list goes on but the most important thing to remember is that safety comes first.  Making time to compose yourself and stay relaxed is paramount.

 

The time to relax is when you don’t have the time for it

                                                                                   – Sidney Harris
Another overnight stay and then next morning we returned the A320 to Heathrow (LHR) and swapped it for a slightly smaller A319 aircraft. You may not notice the difference as a passenger.  It’s a tiny bit smaller!

To finish the day we flew to Belfast City and back – ‘a link’ in pilot parlance. A quick flight but nevertheless an enjoyable one.

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A short runway and beautiful views of the the Irish coastline and of the docks where the Titanic set sail.

If you’re planning a visit I highly recommend the Titanic museum and the dock tour, just a stone’s throw from BHD City Airport.

I hear the tour of the old prison in the centre of town is also a popular attraction and of course the ‘perch’ bar in town is a trendy place to try a cocktail or two.

 

So, there you go, that’s my week.

How was yours?  See you next time.  Happy flying.

 

 

1 Comment on Glasgow 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 & Bologna 🇮🇹 for a night

Ever fancied sailing the Med? ⛵️

Hi everyone, What a month it’s been! Despite September often being associated with the end of summer and the drawing in of longer autumn nights, Heathrow has been buzzing with…

Hi everyone,

What a month it’s been!

Despite September often being associated with the end of summer and the drawing in of longer autumn nights, Heathrow has been buzzing with sunshine-seekers and city-breakers, all looking for a quick adventure before winter truly sets in.

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This means I’ve been busy zooming back and forth all over Europe and have been lucky to fly to some great destinations (mainly in the rain it seems if you read on below!), as well as squeeze in a couple of amazing trips with some great friends. It’s all part and parcel of a pilot’s life – making sure you seize every day!!

Here’s a snippet of what I’ve been up to inside and outside the cockpit over the last couple of weeks…

It all began with a trip over to a city that oozes elegance and is arguably Italy’s gastronomic paradise. The original home to balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and Bolognese sauce. It is also home to the oldest university in the world!

Got it yet?…

🇮🇹 Bologna

Fast cars, great food, graffiti-embellished piazzas and medieval terracotta buildings. I simply love this place.

I went the other month for the first time and spent a morning travelling by vespa to the Lamborghini museum – if you’re a car enthusiast like me, then you’d absolutely love it!

I didn’t manage to head out that far this time, but I still love the city…even in the pouring rain!!

 

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Popped out for lunch and went with the recommended Spaghetti Bolognese… I gave it the thumbs up, along with the owner.

 

🇩🇪 Hamburg

A new night stop for me this month was Hamburg, now my favourite city in Deutschland. Of course, it decided to rain during my visit 🙄 …but it still looked beautiful!

And you’ll know that the rain doesn’t stop me from getting out and exploring the city…

Tip alert: pay attention to the signposts – don’t be a numpty like me and walk in the designated cyclist path…!

Beyond these trips I also flew to Vienna, Manchester, Gothenburg, Aberdeen and Madrid, managing to capture a few great photos from my office along the way 😉

Now to the times where I squeezed in some leisure…

I’ve travelled a lot with work this month but it certainly doesn’t stop me wanting to jump back on a British Airways flight for an adventure with some friends.

Popping over to the beautiful island of Mallorca in early September, I was seeking a different mode of transport to my usual Airbus….a 48ft yacht.

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We weren’t quite sure which of the Bond villains this belonged to… any ideas? We had to take a closer look as we sailed out of Palma.

Sailing from Palma to Barcelona over two days with two of my best mates who I met when I lived in Lyon was epic! It was just us, the sunshine and the waves for 32 hours….oh, and some dolphins about 2 hrs off Barcelona. Made the four hour shift pattern completely worth it – what a magical moment!

 

I’ve got to say that as much as I love being in the sky, the freedom of being at sea is incredible. Hadn’t had the opportunity for a year or so and I think I’ve got the bug back…!

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Kate and Leo, eat your heart out 😛 ⛵️

A couple of weeks later I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Edinburgh – and yes, it rained…! This time I was there for a stag do for one of my best friends from my training days in Oxford. Can’t believe it’s been nearly ten years since we were training there!!

 

 

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Yes, the stag wore a pilot outfit… 👨‍✈️ Here’s when the stag met Forrest Gump…

Anyway, there were 12 of us with an appetite to show the stag a good time. We spent a fair amount of time meandering the streets and then hunkering down in a number of pubs. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the names of any of the pubs but am keen for recommendations for my next visit so please let me know!

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Had to have a pic with this chap – he was belting out the tunes! Will have to give it a go myself one day – get your ear plugs ready! I also quite fancy my own tartan 😉 Did you know British Airways has its own tartan?

Selfie of the week…

 

 

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What a good looking team 😛  This is the Captain and me with the fueler. He may look like Mickey Mouse but without this guy we’d be going nowhere ⛽️

And another for good measure…

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It’s not strictly a selfie…but after six days working on the trot, I was super excited to attend a charity day for The Brainwave Children’s Charity and bump into this lady! She didn’t have any cakes on her 🙄 but she was still pretty awesome and up for a pic. Thanks Mary! You can find out more about the amazing work that’s being done to support children with disabilities to achieve greater independence here.

After a jam-packed roster and a few bits of personal travel squeezed in, I’m now looking forward to nearly 3 weeks off….that’s right!! I absolutely love the day job but sometimes after jetting between different countries and cities, some R&R is required.

So it’s off with the wings and on with the tourist hat…here’s to some autumnal adventures…

You can come with me if you like?

All my daily adventures will be on my Instagram story, Facebook Page and for those that love to tweet – Twitter 

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As always love to read your comments and suggestions.

See you soon!

 

2 Comments on Ever fancied sailing the Med? ⛵️

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