Chris Pohl, known as ‘Captain Chris’ on social media, is an airline training captain that we can obviously name him as a pilot influencer! With the experience of thousands of flying hours and around 40 years in the sky, he is an Airbus training captain flying both the A330 and A350 aircraft. Captain Chris is one of the top content producers on social media about aviation and a pilot lifestyle. Especially with the ‘#Buy Airline Tickets Like You Bought Toilet Paper’ campaign last year, he showed his good cause to support and promote the aviation and travel industries by using the power of social media.
Biography of Chris Pohl
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Where does your passion for aviation come from? Is there any person or incident that inspired you to become a pilot?
When I was 12, I took my first flight. It was a family vacation from our home in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia to the Gold Coast in Queensland. As we boarded the TAA Boeing 727, my father asked if I could visit the cockpit. The next thing I knew, I was strapped into the jumpseat behind the Captian, beside the Flight Engineer. As we rotated into the sky on take-off, I was completely mesmerized. After take-off, the Captian asked what I thought, and I shyly asked if he got paid to fly aircraft. The 3 pilots laughed at me, and said: “of course”! From that day I remember nothing about the family holiday and was determined to become an airline pilot.
Your videos are so fun and entertaining! Are you editing them your own or getting any help? Is it challenging to be a pilot and an influencer at the same time?
I film and edit most of my films with my iPhone and edit on my iPad. Also, I sometimes film with a GoPro or Insta360 camera and edit these on a Macbook. I love putting together fun Reels and choose the music first, then see what clips or footage I have. I am currently learning how to use Adobe Lightroom to improve my editing. And, I need a better camera for quality images. At the moment during the pandemic, I’m unable to get to my home in France and therefore Instagram gives me something to occupy my time when I’m living in hotels.
Can you tell us about the story of ‘#Buy Airline Tickets Like You Bought Toilet Paper’ ?
I was in France at the beginning of lockdown in April 2020, unable to get to the UK until flights to the UK resumed at the beginning of June 2020. I was at home and thought “how can I use Instagram to send a message to people to support aviation by continuing to buy airline tickets?”. At this time, the world expected to be flying by Summer 2020.
My son suggested the pilot in uniform with a sign like someone out of work, which effectively I was, and so many of my colleagues around the world were becoming grounded. The message was hugely successful and was sent around the world via social media. I received so many messages from news networks all over the world, and many articles were written. This fun but serious message is still applicable today to get the public to buy tickets to show their trust in aviation and tourism.
Can you tell us about memory during a flight that you don’t forget?
I remember back in 1997 flying into the famous Hong Kong Kai Tak airport as a young captain of an Airbus A340 with my proud father and brother on the jumpseats in the cockpit. It was a cool curved approach that seemed like we were flying between the high-rise building. That was a great memory. I have since flown to Hong Kong over 250 times.
How do you see the future of aviation after the pandemic? Can we recover to the pre-pandemic period as it was the glamorous days of civil aviation?
For a start, everyone needs a holiday including me. And, right now there is a worldwide pent-up wanderlust. Also, many people are actually also wealthier (except for people in aviation, travel, or hospitality) than they were a year ago, as they have been stuck at home with less opportunity to spend their money. Plus, a business cannot effectively be done via Zoom. Real face-to-face communication and handshakes are essential to building trust. And, most importantly family! We are a globalized population with families all over the world. We need to visit these family members who we miss, and they miss us.
What are the hardest and best parts of being a pilot? Any suggestions for pilot candidates?
The hardest part is finding the training. I don’t come from a wealthy family and worked since I was 12 before. And, after school, I managed to save half the price of a Commercial Licence by the time I turned 18. The next problem was finding work as a 19-year-old commercial pilot. Then get enough experience to move up the aviation “ladder” towards an airline job. I was unemployed 6 times as an airline pilot and had to move about the world to find work. This unconsciously became the best part of being a pilot because I lived and flew to places I never imagine. My flying career has taken me all around the world.
The first domestic and international destinations you flew as a pilot:
- Domestic: Melbourne to Sydney
- International: London to Paris
Which airport made you say “wow”? What’s your favourite airport?
Hong Kong, the original Kai Tak airport with the famous curved approach between the highrise buildings.
The longest route you fly:
Hong Kong to London
The hardest airport for landing:
New York JFK, previously Kai Tak
Three adjectives to describe a good pilot:
Determined, Resilient, Self-Confident
Your favourite city to fly and have a layover:
Which aircraft type you are flying?
The aircraft I fly now the Airbus A350-1000.