Some thoughts about long-haul vs. short-haul

One of the reasons why I wanted to become a pilot was that I wanted to see the world. I love flying long-haul because on long-haul flights, you usually get to spend a night or two at the destination, so you can rent a car and go sightseeing. On short-haul, you often do not get to see anything else than the airport, since you are flying turnaround flights most of the time.

I also remember the turnarounds on short-haul flights to be very stressful. After landing you have less than an hour to get new catering on board, get the aircraft fueled and cleaned and get the first load of passengers off and the next load of passengers on. Sometimes you have to change plane on the turnaround, which makes it even more hectic. However, the good thing about short haul is that you get at least one landing or take-off a day. On long-haul flights, it can be a month between when you get to land the aircraft. I also like sleeping in my own bed each night and this is another thing I miss from when I was flying short-haul flights. Furthermore, you are never jetlagged on short-haul as most flights are within the same time zone.

Planes used for short haul flights in Europe are mostly smaller aircrafts, and I am 2 m tall so fitting into the cockpit was always a challenge. Now I am flying the Dreamliner, and it is an amazing aircraft with plenty of space on the flight deck:)

I really like the long-haul operations. When you are flying over the Atlantic, it is not so busy on the radio, so you can really relax and enjoy the flight. Furthermore, we are usually at least 3 pilots on board, so you do not run out of subjects to talk about.   

The biggest drawback regarding long-haul operations is that you are away from your family for many days. Some of my slings can be up to 12 days long. My son is 4 years old, and to him 12 days are like eternity.

Right now, I am commuting between Amsterdam and London, and it is really tough. After landing from a long overseas flight, I sometimes have to spend many hours in the airport, waiting to catch a flight back to Amsterdam. Though I will get Paris as my home base soon and I am really looking forward to that. Then I can just take the train back to Amsterdam after landing, without having to worry about passport control and checking in luggage.