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May 1982 was my first time in British Caledonian Super Executive from LGW-LOS. The route was upgraded on the day of my first flight from the DC-10 which was the back bone of the BCal long haul fleet to the 742 due to demand on the route, mostly driven by the oil industry. I remember I was most impressed by the service and the charm of the tartan clad ‘bonny lassies.’ They never did forget you had a choice. The aircraft was their first 742 which I believe they bought from Lufthansa but it must have had a comprehensive refit as I remember nothing LH and plenty of tartan about it. I remember there was a very smart leather amenity kit with all sorts of things in it including a nice pen that I used for many years.

Lagos was a regular on my itinerary for quite a few years during the 1980s and right through to the end of 1987 when repainting was underway the sight of the lion rampant on the ground at LOS was always good to see, even after repainting started there were still quite a few of the crew dressed in tartan but gradually they were all replaced with the striped (and very smart) BA uniform of the time. My other frequent destination at the time was HKG and as that was also served by BCal I used them to there too mostly on the DC-10 with a stop in DXB.

Interestingly I read Nick Ridley’s memoirs a short while back, he was Transport Minister in 1987 and he was clear that allowing the BA take over of BCal in 1987 had been a mistake and that a lead should have been taken to bring together BCal, Air Europe and probably Dan Air to create a unified carrier at LGW which would provide a strong base and a viable alternative to BA at LHR which of course had just been privatised.

I wonder how things would have looked these days if that had happened.