While you might expect to find an iPad, sunglasses and a torch in a typical pilot’s flight bag, dig a little deeper and you may come across some more surprising contents, according to a recent survey by PrivateFly.

The private jet booking platform surveyed pilots of all kinds, including airlines, private aviation, cargo and military. Pilots were asked about their packing lists, travel tips and experiences, top destinations, and favourite aviation moments in history.

Tabasco sauce
Spicy sauce is a surprising addition to many pilots’ bags. [Photo: PrivateFly]
Findings from the survey include:

  • Top flight bag must-haves: iPad or other tablet, sunglasses, torch, batteries, spare headset, snacks and gym kit
  • Tabasco sauce was another popular pick. More unusual must-haves included a bike pump, nail polish remover, ramen noodles, and Lego
  • Packing light is pilots’ top travel tip. Many also suggested to be prepared for unforeseen eventualities when travelling
  • Over one third (36%) have held a different full-time job before becoming a pilot. Previous careers include a carpenter, a genetic scientist and a DJ
  • More than three quarters (76%) said they have wanted to fly since childhood
  • The average UK pilot has visited 39 countries, with the most well-travelled clocking up 190. Paris is their top-rated city to travel to, and Australia and New Zealand their favourite countries
  • Pilots’ favourite aviation moment in history is the first Concorde flight by Major André Turcat in 1969 [on 2 March 1969- Ed].

Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly and an experienced pilot himself, said, “Pilots are the consummate professional packer, travelling light yet ready for anything. When you’re on the move so much, you get packing down to a fine art.

“It was no surprise to see sports kit and equipment featuring highly, most pilots are disciplined types when it comes to keeping healthy. But it was interesting to see how many pack hot pepper sauces, to liven up one-too-many in-flight or hotel meals. A good example of how choosing your flight bag contents carefully can pack a powerful punch, for a very small amount of bag space!”

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PrivateFly Pilot Survey 2017