Based in Barcelona – This is my life!

As some of you might know I am currently based in Barcelona. This means that I am working/flying out of Barcelona to all kinds of destinations.

The City
Barcelona is absolutely amazing! Ramblas, the market, Plaza Espana, the beach and the mountains. There are so many things to do. It’s almost impossible to get bored. Everything is cheaper, so bring an empty suitcase… you will need it, haha! And perhaps the most important, the sun always shines! A few weeks ago people walked around in T-shirts… in January, can you imagine? 🙂 I made a new video about my life in Barcelona.

My Pilot Housemates

After the Type Rating course in Amsterdam I met a few guys who were based in Barcelona for their Line Training. Of course it is way cheaper to share a house, that is why we decided to live together near the centre of Barcelona. We rented an apartment near Plaza Espana via Airbnb. We basically lived in the ‘Mercadona’ supermarket.
I shared the house with a quiet Italian guy, named Luca. Also called ‘The Ghost’. He was always in Barcelona but we did not see him a lot since he had an opposite roster. Smart guy, always reading some documents on his Ipad and eating Pasta Pesto.
The other Italian is Gabry. I think his nickname was Captain Italian or something… Anyway, I blamed him for snorring in the night (while it was actually the neighbour), for leaving his alarm on during the night (it was the neighbour as well) and for lots of other stuff. I felt so bad but I liked him and luckily we could laugh about it 😉 Me: ‘Gabry, I can hear you snorring, stop with that!’ He answered almost immediately: ‘Nope, I am in the bus’  Oops…
The German guy called Marc. A ”money bitch”, as he calls himself, and the biggest fan of the Global and all the other business aircraft. Girls are trying to date him all the time during work.. He has such a hard life. 😉 Sorry for starting conversations in Dutch with you, you just look a little bit like you are from the Netherlands. #3konly

                                                                 So basically I was very lucky with my housemates.

The Base
We fly to a lot of destinations from Barcelona. Some on a more frequent base than others. These destinations are Santiago, Vigo, Ibiza and Menorca. On a ‘lucky’ day we get to fly Bergamo & Stansted. On a bad day, we only fly towards Menorca which is about 30 minutes of flight time! In general we fly 4 legs per day, 5 days in a row. So we are pretty busy during the week. There is a standard taxi routing which gives you as a passenger the possibility to enjoy the whole apron. It takes ages haha! 😉 Taxi via S, M & hold short DS. E, J, K etc. Don’t worry, we always hope & ask for a runway crossing, just to save some time! When there are a lot of airplanes on final approach we have no chance and we taxi according the standard route. What a lot of people (passengers) don’t know about Barcelona is that we use the Airbridge there. This means that people in row 31 have to wait a long time before they can disembark once we arrive at the gate.

Off Duty

When I am off for a few days I always try to go home. Unfortunately there are no direct flights from Barcelona El Prat to my home country but there are other routes I can take to get there. 🙂 Normally I proceed via Dublin. I have to wait 3 hours for my next flight to Amsterdam. I always enjoy and like to eat something from the Staff Menu at The Garden Terrace (Terminal 1, After security, first floor)! 😀 And then finally.. we are back in The Netherlands.

Home sweet home!

10 thoughts on “Based in Barcelona – This is my life!

  1. I hope one day to see you wearing four stripes. You certainly will merit it. I tried here in the USA but because of medical issues could not qualify. Being you’re based in Barcelona I’m concerned for your safety with the political and social upheaval between the Catalan government and the central government of Spain in Madrid. God watch over you. If I could get a waiver I might be qualified at the private level but never commercial, and that bothers me as I had wished to fly air ambulance, medevac. But in the US to fly that you have to have at least a Second Class Medical certificate and a Commercial Pilot Certificate with instrument rating. ATP certificate is not required. Thank you for letting me write to you.

  2. Reading this post just make me so sad thinking about the good times spent together in Barcelona!!

    Your favorite housemate aka the snorring neighbour

  3. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for posting stuff like these. I read almost all of your writings and posts on insta I wanna ask what it takes to be a captain like the hours needed or does it have a age range or does it need to have four bars? just curious.

    Hannah from Philippines

    1. Hello Hannah,

      Thank you for your comment! First of all, a Captain always wears 4 bar epaulettes. Actually there is only one official requirement before you can become Captain. You need to unfreeze your ATPL. In short, you need to accumulate 1500 hours of flight time and it should consist of different sorts of experience. I can elaborate if you want more information about the exact requirements to unfreeze the ATPL.

      Besides the above requirement, a lot of companies have their own additional requirements. Experience is important and with most airlines you need to have 3000 hours total time (minimum) before you are eligible to become Captain.
      You should also be able to take command and have the right attitude. Some First Officers never become Captain because they are unfit to take command. Age is not really a factor, some Captains are very young but have the capacity and are able to sit on the left seat.

      The above is the case in Europe. Perhaps it is different in Asia and the United States.

      Regards from Barcelona.

  4. Hey Michel

    i was wondering how many hours your line training takes. And whether you need a safety pilot while training.
    – Don´t you guys fly to Eindhoven from Barcelona?
    Another question, why are some pilots wearing a 2 bar epaulets , i mean F/O are suposed to have 3 bars!!
    One last question : Can you choose the base to work from or it is given randomly?


    1. Hi Carol,

      I can’t tell you how many hours it takes to complete the Line Training because the Line Training is about “legs” (flights from A to B) instead of flight hours. In the end most pilots will finish their Line Training between 100 and 300 flight hours but this is just an estimate. I wrote an article about my Line Training. you can read it here.

      There are no flights towards Eindhoven from Barcelona El Prat at the moment.

      It is not uncommon for Pilots to wear 2 stripe epaulettes. Most First Officers have to wear those kind of epaulettes until they have amassed a minimum of 500 hours. At some airlines you even have to unfreeze your ATPL before you get 3 stripe epaulettes.

      Most airlines give you the opportunity to apply for a couple of basis. You will end up being based at one of those options eventually. Also this is different for every airline 🙂

      Hopefully I’ve answered all your questions, feel free to ask more 😉


  5. Hello Dear Michelle ;

    Thank You very much for sharing your Life time with us. I really thank You and appreciate You by your sharings. Because by this way ; You become useful for us. We learn many things about Aviation and about pilot’s life by your posts. At the same time These knowledges Which we learn from your posts are the main Questions on people’s mind.

    So I wish You enjoyable time both at your work at your private life. Kindly Regards to You.

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