Lonely Planet Writer

Airline pilot shows off her travels on amazing Instagram account

Maria Pettersson has a passion for travel – one that helped lead to her decision to become a pilot and start travelling as a living, which she documents on a hugely popular Instagram account.

A photo posted by Maria (@pilotmaria) on Aug 3, 2016 at 2:22pm PDT

Originally from Sweden, but living in Italy, Maria finished her flight training in 2012 and got her first aviation job in 2014. She has been a commercial pilot for the past two years.

“I wanted to do something where I could keep travelling. I have always been inspired by aviation but never thought of it as an option for me, and then I thought ‘why not?’ and gave it my all. Best decision I have ever made,” she told Lonely Planet. Now, she’s been documenting her jet-setting life as a pilot for Ryanair on Instagram, and it’s become a hit, garnering more than 250,000 followers.

A photo posted by Maria (@pilotmaria) on Apr 4, 2016 at 12:43am PDT

Maria says she used Instagram long before she started posting pictures about her life as a pilot, but eventually her friends and family at home started encouraging her to post about her job. It didn’t take long to see the “incredible” response to her pictures, and Maria hopes they help get more people interested in aviation.

But in addition to her many pics from the cockpit and of her travels, Maria’s also a yoga enthusiast – something she also posts about on her account.

A photo posted by Maria (@pilotmaria) on Jul 4, 2016 at 3:22pm PDT

“I love to push myself to learn a new complicated yoga pose and it is satisfying when I finally learn it. I love my job and am more than happy to share my love for others. I hope my future holds more aviation and more yoga”, she says.

A photo posted by Maria (@pilotmaria) on Feb 29, 2016 at 5:49am PST

She’s hoping to inspire more people to follow their dreams, noting that “if you see someone else do something you start believing that you can do it yourself”.

A photo posted by Maria (@pilotmaria) on Jul 1, 2016 at 2:23am PDT

The well-travelled pilot says she has a lot of places she likes to visit, but notes that a six-month backpacking expedition around South America remains a favourite trip. As for where she wants to go next, she’s hoping to someday visit the Philippines or Australia.