In this special AvGeek series, Flight Chic guest writer Rida Khan has candid conversations with pilots who share their passion for flight and what inspired them to pursue a life in the clouds.
To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love flying, the sky is home. Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards. There you find your wings. All you have to do is FLY.
Jules Hotel is a 27-year-old pilot, based in Hamburg, Germany. Spending time with her family and friends is of utmost importance to her. In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling and staying active by doing sports.
Q: Did you always want to be a pilot? How did your family support and motivate you as you pursued your passion for flying?
Hotel: Becoming a pilot has been a dream which developed in my teenage years. During high school, I spent one year abroad. My host father shared my passion for aviation and introduced me to some glider and helicopter lessons. Still, the airplane caught my greatest attention.
My family has always encouraged my dream and career choice. I am truly grateful to have them in my corner as they supported me throughout the assessment process, the studies and application process.
Last year I was able to fly my Parents home from their holiday in Greece. I greeted them prior to our departure and they were so proud. I will keep that moment in my heart.
Q: What was your first flying experience when you joined aviation industry?
Hotel: My first experiences in the aviation industry started in 2010 when I joined Deutsche Lufthansa AG as a flight attendant. In 2013, I started my flight training. The job situation at that time in Germany had been quite unstable, therefore I decided to apply as a ramp agent right after completion of my training.
During the time I spent on the ramp I was able to gather new experiences and send out applications to airlines. I expected to wait several months or years for a job offer. Fortunately, the process took less time. In 2016, I joined my current employer as a First Officer on the A320.
Q: Would you like to share a memorable moment of your journey towards becoming a pilot?
Hotel: My first solo flight, where first time your instructor puts faith in your capabilities to be able to fly the plane all by yourself. You start the engines, request taxi. You move your little plane to the runway, you get cleared for take-off. You take a glimpse to your right side and realize there is nobody sitting next to you; there is no more safety net. It is just you and your plane, and then you take-off.
Q: How did you adjust your life schedule being a pilot while managing the responsibilities of your family?
Hotel: Adjusting your life around your schedule is not always easy. You have to set your priorities and plan your day accordingly. You may be amazed what one can accomplish when adjusting your time correctly. Otherwise, things may get left behind.
Q: How do you feel during times of festivals or family celebration when you are on duty and away from family and friends?
Hotel: My family and closest friends have adjusted to my irregular schedule and that I may have to work during birthday celebrations or Christmas time.
Ever since finishing high school, I have been a traveler, not only job wise. During those times abroad, I keep in touch with them and we talk on the phone or video chat. It is not always easy to be the person, who is gone so often. Still, we try to make up the lost events at a later time.
Christmas happens when the family is together, and not particularly on a specific date. For us, this means sometimes celebrating on the 27th.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
Hotel: Ok, this question is impossible to answer. There are so many things that I love, I am unable to pick just one.
Q: What’s your favorite destination to fly?
Hotel: I enjoy flying to airports such as Pristina as the approach procedures are demanding and challenging.
Q: What are the unique challenges faced by women pilots?
Hotel: The pilot industry is still a male-dominated industry. Still, more and more women chose this career path.
The challenges faced in this career are independent of gender and colleagues respect one another regardless.
Future challenges for female pilots could be the handling of family and career at the same time. Although this is also a challenge in different careers, the difficulties in the aviation industry differ. A female pilot—or also flight attendant—is gone for one to several days at a time.
Managing your time with your family requires a special responsibility.
Q: Do you think there are more opportunities now for women to become a pilot in the aviation industry?
Hotel: Yes, I do think so. Most female pilots that I have met still feel the urge to compete with their fellows on equal terms. They work hard in order to be acknowledged as pilots, and not just as ‘the pretty girl.’ Often this means their performance tends to be quite good, which earns them good job placements in the industry.
Q: Do woman pilots get the same opportunities to advance as men do in their profession?
Hotel: There is still a long way to go before female pilots step ahead of male pilots. Too few females apply for the job. The old thinking that it’s a “male domain” is still stuck in people’s heads. In my opinion, there should not be a question of which gender is the “better pilot.” We should focus on how can we qualify all pilots the best way possible, to keep our industry safe.
Q: Do you have any advice for our future women pilots?
Hotel: Study hard, be honest and pursue your dream. Do not let people decide which career is best for you. Remember, your career will take up most of your lifetime. Spend it doing the things you love. Study intensively and be thorough, leave no space for interpretation when it comes to knowledge.
Be honest with yourself and your fellows. Admit your mistakes and work hard to improve yourself.
Being a pilot is a responsible career, which is not to be chosen lightly. The job is not all about travel and great layovers. Those are merely the rewards for your technical knowledge, management skills, communication skills and risk assessment.
After talking to Jules Hotel, I can say that she is a focused and dedicated pilot who believes that to be successful you must accept all the challenges that come your way—not just the ones you like.
You can follow Pilot Jules Hotel on her Instagram account @usjulia
Guest writer Rida Khan is a foodie blogger with a hunger for a big slice of the skies. A native of Bhopal, India, Khan writes about food and aviation and is working on an airline in-flight food research project. She also posts healthy food recipes for pilots and travelers on social media.
You can follow Rida Khan on social media:Twitter : @mohd_ridakhan Instagram : @ridakhan_21
Food Blog: Innovative Dishes On Your Way