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How this 20-year-old built a high-flying career travelling the world testing first-class seats on brand-new planes

Alison Millington
Tuesday 09 May 2017 14:53 BST
(Alex Macheras)

While many teenagers make their pocket money working in shops or delivering newspapers, for Alex Macheras, things were a bit more glamorous.

Now 20, Macheras travels the world — often in first class — testing out new planes before they're delivered to their clients.

This involves testing the seats in every cabin, enjoying the food, and usually sipping on a glass or two of celebratory Champagne, then sharing photos of his experiences to his followers on Instagram and Twitter.

He told Business Insider that he's been interested in aviation as long as he can remember — and was approached to start providing aviation analysis to the likes of BBC, Sky News, and LBC from the age of 14, which eventually led him into the world of aircraft deliveries.

Here's how Macheras makes a living.

This is 20-year-old Alex Macheras, the aviation expert who travels the world in first class on empty planes, testing out every seat before they're delivered to their clients.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

He shares updates and photos of his fabulous, Champagne-filled life to his 13,000 followers across Instagram and Twitter.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

He told Business Insider that he's been interested in aviation as long as he can remember.

"I was born with the travel bug," he said. "There are videos of me as a toddler pointing up at the sky. It was never in my family — my parents worked in cuisine and motorsport, so I wasn't born into anything."

He studied aviation wherever he could, and even took flying lessons. "My family used to joke that at eight years old I could do the safety demo in five different languages," he added.

He was 'constantly reading about trends' in aviation and was inspired by Richard Branson, a hero he has since had the chance to meet. He read his book at a very young age.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

"I wasn't allowed to take it to school because it had swear words in it, but I was completely hooked to the connection he described with aviation, and about how he set up Virgin Atlantic," he said.

At only 14, he was approached by a UK radio station who had noticed his analysis on the aviation industry on Twitter.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

"I was [tweeting about] whatever was in the news at the time, and explaining everything on Twitter," he said. "They approved me to go on air. My age was an unspoken thing – I was doing LBC for years before anyone knew I was young."

When he was 16 — before even finishing his A levels — he appeared on Sky News, then signed contracts with other networks to continue aviation analysis on screen. He decided to finish school part time so he could take on more work.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

"At the earliest point I could leave education, I went full time," he said.

Now, he works closely with manufacturers to complete deliveries of new aircrafts, meaning he sees airplanes when they leave the factory...

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

...participates in test flights...

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

...and is there when they are delivered to the customer.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

He tests out all of the seats in every cabin — including first class.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

The planes are usually completely empty, so he rules the roost.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

When he isn't travelling, an average morning might involve talking about the latest aviation news on air, writing articles about a test flight, or participating in a Twitter Q&A.

"I always talk about the manufacturers on screen, during deliveries and test flights," he said.

When he travels, he gets the full experience, including business or first class lounges...

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

...luxurious pre-flight meals...

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)


...and even a pre-flight nap.

He's also experienced the best in on-board dining.

He gets to know the staff on a number of airlines.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

"It's about getting to know them as an airline and why they do things in a cabin in a certain way," he said.

Some crews are more animated than others.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

He even gets acquainted with the pilots...

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

...and, of course, the people serving the drinks.

(Alex Macheras)

He spends most of his time travelling from place to place. 'Sometimes it takes me four days just to get back,' he said.

But he's at home in the air. The location setting on his Twitter profile reads: "Usually at 38,000ft."

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

But he usually finds some pretty sweet digs whenever he's on the ground.

'It's flexible — not like the cabin crew,' he said, adding that there's usually enough time to get a vacation out of his travels.

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

His favourite destination so far has been Rwanda. "I was really keen to see as much as possible," he said.

Whether it's from the air or on the ground, he certainly gets to enjoy some great views.

At only 20 years old, who knows what's next?

(Alex Macheras (Alex Macheras)

Read more:

• The 33 richest people on Earth
• Flight attendants share 25 things they'd love to tell passengers but can't
• The CEO of a company explains what he did in his 20s to set himself up for success in his 30s

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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