Experience Transat

The Léopold Family: Proud Air Transat Pilots Across Generations

Share the article

Sébastien Léopold, who has been with Air Transat since 1997, is not afraid to admit that his job gives him a great sense of fulfilment. Not only has he made his passion for aviation part of his daily life, but he now flies the Transat star with his two children, Stéphanie and Charles-Antoine, who coincidentally are also pilots. But he would never have imagined that they would follow in his footsteps. “I didn’t plan it, but it sure is a lot of fun,” he says with a smile.

The Léopold trio is the perfect embodiment of Transat’s family values. Today, they share their unique story as a family of Air Transat pilots.

A contagious smile

2 famille Léopold pilotes Air Transat pilot - Crédit photo Archives MédiaQMI inc.
Crédit photo: Archives MédiaQMI inc.

The family patriarch admits that the idea of becoming a pilot came naturally to his two children, without him pushing them in that direction.

I didn’t come home with miniature planes and say ‘this is what you should do with your life’. I was respectful of their career choices“.

Sébastien Léopold

Sébastien Léopold’s ambition was always to work with aeroplanes. After studying at the École nationale d’aérotechnique in Saint-Hubert and spending a few years flying small charters in the United States, he finally got his hands on Air Transat’s Lockheed L-1011. “It was quite an aircraft! I flew it for almost four years, and then other types of aircraft were added to the fleet, including the Airbus A310, a beautiful aircraft that I flew for 15 years. At the moment, I’m flying an Airbus A321LR,” he explains.

It’s hard to ignore the stars in the pilot’s eyes as he recalls the highlights of his career… It is clear that his love of aviation has made a strong, positive impression on his children.

“We often travelled with Dad when we were younger. I remember going to Lyon in 2005 and watching him work in the flight deck. Experiences like that definitely helped us to love aviation and love Transat.” The young pilot admits.

His sister adds: “My whole life I have seen my father thrive in this profession. He would go to work and come back from work with a big smile on his face, no matter what time it was. He was a great role model for all of us.”

Two children, two different paths

Charles-Antoine was the first to choose aviation: “It was clear since ninth grade that I wanted to be a pilot.” His journey began in 2014, when he began his pilot training at the Aéro Loisirs school in La Macaza on a Cessna 150 owned by his father. He then worked for about five years with Air Inuit on a Dash-8.

“I had bought a small plane in anticipation of all this, thinking that Charles-Antoine could train on it. It turned out to be a great investment because it ended up training two Air Transat pilots!” Sébastien says proudly.

For Stéphanie, the path to earning her wings was a little different. She started an undergraduate degree in biology at the Université de Montréal to pursue her dream of becoming a marine biologist. “But after the first semester, seeing my brother and father made me question everything.”

I went on a flight with them, just to give it a try. After that, it was hard to ignore the butterflies and what it felt like to fly. Flying was just too strong a calling. I’m the last in the family to enter the profession, even though I’m older than my brother.”

Stéphanie Léopold

She followed the same training as her brother before being hired by a Toronto-based mapping company to do aerial photography in the United States. She then moved north with First Air, spending five years in Yellowknife and Iqaluit.

Flying with Air Transat, a family affair

It seems that the passion has indeed been passed down from one generation to the next, as Charles-Antoine also speaks highly of his profession. “When I go to work, I know I’m going to have fun. I have never once thought ‘This is so boring’.”

Sebastien was lucky enough to have the opportunity to fly with each of his children: from Montreal to Cancun with Charles-Antoine in 2022 and from Montreal to Toulouse with Stephanie in May 2023.

How does a father feel when he first sees his children next to him in uniform?

This is your child. You’ve rocked him to sleep so many times, and one day he’s at work right next to you. I had the same reaction when Stephanie became a pilot. It’s a very special thing“.

Sébastien Léopold

“You know, a flight deck is a very procedural place. There’s lots to do, buttons to push, rules to follow.
And then, at some point at cruising altitude, you get up, and when you come back, boom, your child is sitting right next to you. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling at the same time!” he confides.

Because sometimes it is the most unexpected dreams that lead to the most wonderful adventures.

Photo credit: Archives MédiaQMI Inc.

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

You may also like

Read the story of two passionnate Air Transat flight attendants, Line-Josée and Hunter, who happen to be mother and son.
What if your dream of flying an airplane became a reality? That’s the case for the 14 aspiring pilots who make up the first class of Ascension Academy with Air Transat.
Proud of a career that spans more than 30 years with Transat, Lucie Sickini is an experienced avionics technician who openly admits that she has loved her job to the end.
Are you unsure which carrier to choose for your trip to Canada? Learn more about the in-flight experience with Air Transat in this article.

Travel with Air Transat