Suneil Banerjee, British Airways pilot, has a dream job on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. But what's it really like travelling the world every day and what do we really know about the people that fly us to and from our favourite destinations?
So, Suneil, What's your favourite thing about travelling to so many different locations?
Food. I love food! No matter where you go in the world, there’s always something unique to eat, something different to try. I think that the food is a massive part of a culture’s identity so you haven’t fully experienced a culture until you’ve indulged in its food. Leave your inhibitions at the door and throw yourself in!
When was your earliest recollection of wanting to be an airline pilot?
When I was 9, I was going on holiday with my family to Cyprus. During the flight my brother and I went up to see the flight deck and I instantly fell in love. The view, the sound, the light. Since then, there was only one thing I was going to do.
Doing something that you love and have always wanted to do must be an amazing feeling. But what's the thing that you love the most about your job?
I love flying for British Airways. The history, the exceptional standards of training and safety, the great people I work with and some incredible destinations to explore once I get off the aircraft. I’ve also got friends and family around the world so I love being able to see them on work time!
If you had to choose, where would you say is your go-to destination?
At the moment, I can’t get enough of Japan. Tokyo is just the most incredible city to explore at any time of year, the food, the culture and the people will all blow you away. I also head up to Hokkaido every year in the winter with my brother for some of the best skiing anywhere in the world. The powder is just a different class!
You must be a pro-packer when it comes to travelling. What are the essential items that you can never fly without?
I hate packing! Pack, unpack, pack, unpack, wash. Repeat 4-5 times a month... and still I manage to forget things! I try (ha!) to pack as light as I can but there are a few things I can’t do without. The first thing that always goes into my suitcase is my gym stuff. Saying “there’s not enough time” or “I’m too tired” is not an excuse to avoid exercise when away. It actually helps with the tiredness. My noise cancelling headphones are always within easy reach in my bag to help zone out on long bus rides or get myself to sleep whilst resting. Sleeping well is also such an important part of my life that a good set of eye shades to block out the light when you need to are never far away either.
Is there any place that you've yet to visit, that you're dying to go to?
So many places! Santiago is top of the list of our current destinations; I’m hoping to tick skiing in the Andes off my bucket list. I’d also love to explore more of South America. Peru and Argentina have always had such a massive appeal. I’d also love to spend more time exploring Japan to the south and I’d love to go diving in Indonesia. Enough to keep me busy for a while I think!
Finally, we can imagine always being in the cockpit for so many hours must get a little lonely. How do you combat this?
I take after my granddad in that I love meeting and chatting with new people so joining the BA Pilot Ambassador Programme was a great way to do this. The Ambassador events are a great way of connecting with people who trust me to get them safely to their destinations. Every person is different and everyone has their own story. It’s fascinating the different kinds of people I get to meet.
Suneil is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner pilot for British Airways. You can follow his fascinating adventures on his Instagram (@The787dreamlife).
LUXOS is proud to announce that Suneil will be joining our wonderful group of contributors to keep you up to date with his favourite travel destinations, tips and inspirations.
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