Getting paid to fly all over the world – how does that sound? Working as a pilot is truly amazing. I’ve been flying since 2010 and I’m pretty sure this will be the love of a lifetime. Here are my 10 reasons why being a pilot is the best job in the world.
1. You get to fly planes as the pilot
It’s hard to describe what it’s like steering a machine the weighs more than 350,000 kg. The basics are the same for every aircraft, no matter how big or small: when you pull back on the stick, the houses get smaller, and when you push forward, they get bigger. Flying gives you a wonderful feeling of freedom. I’m very proud that, when I go to work, I’m allowed to fly the iconic Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747.
2. You get to see the world
Pilots get to see a lot of the world flying intercontinentally with the Boeing 747, 777 and 787 or Airbus 330, or crisscrossing Europe with the Embraer 175 and 190 or Boeing 737. Last week I braved the cold in Seoul, South Korea, and today I’m at the pool in Curacao writing this. I’ve been to places I could only have dreamed of ever visiting, as well as places I would never have considered. Sometimes I only have a couple of days, but that’s enough to give me ideas for longer holidays.
3. It’s a multifaceted job
You need to be able to assess the technical state of an aircraft, but also read weather maps, perform under pressure and strive to ensure seamless connections. Flying is not just a technical occupation, it’s a whole lot more. You want to work as efficiently as possible with a team of colleagues. All these different facets make it a unique and challenging job.
4. The view from your office window is incredible!
Pilots see the most amazing things from the cockpit. It’s like have a mobile office where the view keeps changing. You’ll see a superb sunset or a magnificent mountain range, and then you’ll fly past impressive thunderclouds. You get a totally unique perspective on landscapes and cities. The most incredible sight I saw from the cockpit was the Northern Lights.
5. A new team every day
KLM employs around 3,000 pilots and nearly 10,000 cabin attendants. That means I work with different people almost every time I fly. And let’s not forget all the colleagues on the ground and air traffic controllers. Together with all these people, we form a unique team that wants to make a difference for hundreds of passengers before, during and after a flight. There aren’t many office jobs that offer this kind of challenge.
6. Clothes make the man (and woman)
Do you spend hours standing in front of your wardrobe wondering what to wear? As a pilot, you get to wear the same whenever you’re working: an elegant KLM uniform. The only thing I need to think about is what clothes I’m going to pack – a bikini or my winter coat. I should mention that we globetrotters are very good at packing fast.
7. A pilot job is not a 9-to-5 job
Every day is different, which keeps the work interesting. My “weekends” are sometimes on Tuesday and Wednesday, which means I do my shopping in very quiet malls. There aren’t many Dutch people who can claim they celebrated their birthday in San Francisco or Christmas in Paramaribo. Sometimes I miss birthday parties, but fortunately my family and friends are very understanding.
8. When you’re off work, you’re really off
Working as a pilot means being away from home for extended periods. This is compensated by the fact that when you’re off work, you’re really off. When I get into my car at Schiphol and drive home, I leave my work behind until I sign in for my next flight.
9. You’re never too old to learn
Aviation is constantly on the move, just like you. As a pilot, you’re always learning. Sometimes procedures will change or you’ll have to prepare for a new aircraft type you’ll be flying. I always really enjoy acquiring knowledge, along with the technical aspects of the job. Why not try to learn a couple of words of the language people speak at our destination? I can count to ten in Japanese!
10. KLM = home
Whenever I step on board a KLM aircraft, it’s as if I’m stepping onto a little piece of the Netherlands. The familiar blue, the friendly crew – it’s as if you’re already halfway home. On board you get served traditional Dutch favourites like Douwe Egberts coffee and apple cake. I really enjoy that, because home is always the best destination, right?
If you’re an experienced pilot and you’d like to pursue your career at KLM, we’re looking for new recruits! You’ll find further details here (Dutch link!).