BA 1 NostalgiaBack to Forum
How times change, fifteen years ago this week flew BA 1 to JFK, reminded of this after a clear out of old files last weekend.
Amex 2-4-1 redemption booking for my wife and myself, made by telephone, and received a letter (by post) from BA Newcastle with booking details. Booking was for BA 1 to JFK with return from SFO in CW. Total cost, 130,000 BA Miles (as they were called at that time) plus £90.80 “which covers all of the taxes, fees and charges for your complete itinerary”. That of course was for two pax!
At the time East Coast USA was lower Miles cost than West Coast, so break down was 80,000 miles for LHR – JFK, 50,000 for SFO – LHR. At the time of booking, less than two months prior to travel, I was able to select seats FOC (BA Blue at the time) for both flights, Row 5 on Concorde and top deck on 747 from SFO.
One of the two pax in Row 6 behind us was a BA staff member, prior to arrival at JFK the CSD told them to stay in their seats at the gate so that they could visit the flight deck, and as we could not avoid overhearing his instructions, he included us on the invitation, a very nice unexpected extra.
As a contrast my last BA Amex 2-4 1 booking to USA had taxes fees and charges of apprx £500.00 per pax, quite a hike since 2002, and no Supersonic anymore!11 Aug 2017
Awesome post! Concorde nostalgia!
As surprise for my 18th birthday my mum took me to New York, and obviously the best part was BA1!
Weirdly, it’s the small details that stand out for me. Namely, the view from the sereneness of the Concorde Room as you’d look down on this madly beautiful machine, and the boarding announcement was something to the tune of “we are pleased to announce the Supersonic Service to New York is now ready for boarding”!
Total geewizz moment there, followed by engine start up once on board, you know things are getting serious.14 Aug 2017
I totally agree, I was lucky enough to fly JFK – LHR twice on Concorde, and I always remember them taking away the coats on a coat rail to be stored elsewhere as there was no room on board, and once service started the almost impossible task of going to the toilet…. Then the kick in the back as the plane went supersonic just after clearing Bristol still one of the best feelings ever and of course looking out of the windows and seeing the curve in the earth as upwards was dark downwards was blue and the window being physically hot….. And then 3.20 to JFK the stuff of dreams for me!14 Aug 2017
As we all know, Concorde will never take to the air again, but there is a way of reliving the experience. Brooklands Museum in Weybridge has the first Concorde (G-BBDG) to carry 100 passengers supersonically, although it never flew in commercial service as it was used for testing and route proving, and has been fitted with seats and a static exhibition. The audio visual presentation and talk-through of a departure by Captain Mike Bannister is as realistic as you can get without leaving the ground.
It costs a few pounds on top of the normal museum entry fee, and is well worth it.
In case anyone thinks this is a commercial ‘plug’ for Brooklands, it’s a charity and as such relies on entry fees and donations to keep a huge part of British aviation and automotive history alive and accessible to the public. It’s a wonderful day out and there’s something there for everybody, boys and girls, young and old!14 Aug 2017
I managed 3 trips on the ‘rocket’ as we in ATC called it.
I took my mother for her birthday treat to IAD way back in 1987 on a staff ticket when I worked for an airline. I think it was 105GBP each return. At the age of 65 she was totally non plussed by the service, experience, or the fact we arrived before we took off. Now the BA B747-200 experience in F on the way back she totally enjoyed. Post flight though when we got her home she could not stop talking about the Concorde and the crew.
Later in life I had the dubious task of attending a conference stateside, the travel office where I worked called 2 days before and said BA had offered me the BA1 with a connection instead of the regular DC10 service from LGW. Did I refuse – no way, even though LGW was my local airport.
Finally in 1999 I surprised the better half by arranging one of the flights of fantasy Santa specials to Lapland as a birthday treat, amazing experience, 100 adults – no kids, supersonic up the North sea, mad day in the snow and return supersonic down the west coast of Ireland and in via the standard route to LHR.
As an aside in 1995 just before my mother passed I was working on the continent and took my parents there for a break – out by P&O ferry in Club Class and back through the tunnel – again mother non plussed – she preferred the ferry as a nice man brought afternoon tea, on the return she was disappointed she did not see fish – her idea of the tunnel was a glass tube on the sea bed, luckily in the le Shuttle carriage there was a drawing showing how deep the tunnel was under the sea.14 Aug 2017
One of my favourite writers, Laurie Lee (As I walked out one Midsummer Morning, Cider with Rosie ….) wrote a number of travel stories in a collection called ‘I Can’t Stay Long’.
The last story in the edition I have is called ‘Concorde 002’ and describes his flight on a press trip. A wonderful read, as is everything he wrote.14 Aug 2017
Whilst I know the current Concorde Room in T5 only uses the name and is not intended to replicate the original, I really liked the T4 lounge, especially as you boarded directly from their and did not have to treck back out into the terminal.14 Aug 2017
@esselle….”the Concorde Room in T5 only uses the name”….not quite! In the business section room, by the bar, the seats are real Concorde seats, seat belts still attached, cleverly fashioned into office seats! I doubt that many people notice, but a brilliant subtle memory of BAs supersonic, quality, past.14 Aug 2017
You’re right about the seats, but that wasn’t really my point. What I meant to,say was that the T4 Room felt special because of what it was, whereas the T5 Room doesn’t.14 Aug 2017
Managed BA 1 once. I connected in from Dublin and EI gave me boarding cards for both flights.
On arrival into the the Concorde room in T4, the green boarding card was promptly exchanged (without asking me) for a lovely Grey CONCORDE detailed one ! Agree that it was a wonderful feeling looking out on the aircraft linked to the lounge.
I have all the paraphanalia from the flight (the Smythson stationary and pen etc and inflight magazine). We had no idea that within 6 months the service would end.
@Captonian… funny that I am currently reading Laurie Lee’s (as I walked out…) I must look up the other title !
The current BA 1 is still a great flight and service… my favourite BA route…. but not in the same class as the original.18 Aug 2017
Never managed the BA1 however did manage a concorde flight & experience (x2) for launch of supershuttle…..
Was the days when Sir Colin was delighted to take photos. Chief engineer would do open tour whilst on the ground and you were allowed to sit on the wheels for a quick snap.
All the concorde trimmings / experience concluded in an hour.
What made the flight a little different was that with the aircraft being so light, the take off and climb was particular fast and furious.18 Aug 2017