Memories of Concorde

She halved the time of Trans Atlantic flights, setting a world record of 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds from New York to London and enabled civilians to break the sound barrier in comfort and style. Her pilots witnessed the sun rising in the west. When she was finally withdrawn from service in 2003, hundreds of thousands turned out to wish her a fond farewell. Whilst she undoubtedly saved her passengers time, there were many who wished the flight lasted longer.

Here reads the fond memories of those who experienced first hand one of the most famous and iconic plans in history - Concorde.

Concorde

"I was a senior agent on the ground working as a part of the Concorde Premium Team in T4. 

As for the special touches; the suiter service was always very slick, brand tags that were genuinely nice and well made, special boarding passes, the Concorde cellar as well as the cutlery and crockery from Wedgwood. I always remember the early mornings in the Concorde Room with the sound of champagne corks and a sprinkling of A-listers as well as business leaders.

It felt like a secret club, with the team and customers often on first name terms. I remember Lord Marshal sat on the reception desk with me once, laughing with customers about the 'trainee' which he genuinely seemed to enjoy also.

It felt special and we felt special being allowed to be a part of it."

 

Concorde

 

"I only managed to fly on Concorde once due to a family emergency. I was working in NYC at the time for BA and was at a meeting in Waterside when my wife went into labour. The CFO had to be found to authorise the use of Concorde to get back to NYC asap and by the time this came through I was rushed to the airport through the lounge and straight on to the aircraft. I had my video camera with me and filmed the curvature of the earth and the MACH2 sign. When I got back to my apartment, pre mobile phones, my wife was lying on the sofa - false alarm (she had pulled a muscle at yoga)."

 

Concorde

 

"I was crew on Concorde and there are a few of us still flying. A few memories include shaking hands with Michael Jackson. Kneeling down to pick something off the floor with Madonna and Magic Johnson both either side staring at me. The once in a lifetime passengers that had saved for a very long time for that special trip. It was a very special aircraft to work on with amazing crew and passengers."

 

Concorde at Heathrow

 

"I was Concorde cabin crew from around late 1998 to 2000. For me it was a really big achievement. I always dreamed of being cabin crew. I wrote to BA when I was 11 as I wanted to be the youngest crew member to ever fly on Concorde. Not sure I was the youngest, but I did achieve it in the end.

I did so many trips. The regular JFK’s were always exciting and it was like going to work with all your friends as we were such a small fleet. My favourite memory was taking Concorde to Lapland. It was tradition for the Concorde crew to sing a carol at the banquet for the passengers.

I also did a surprise flight for some of our shuttle customers to Edinburgh. It was to celebrate the opening of Scottish Parliament. The passengers thought they were getting on the regular 757 but Concorde turned up instead. Later on that day, Concorde did a fly past with the Red Arrows to mark the occasion. The Red Arrows got on Concorde after to have a look around.

We all met so many celebrities and many of the Premier passengers got to know us as they were flying on it all the time."

  

Concorde

 

"I did 3 trips on Concorde and like many staff I travelled as a courier taking over Cargo docs. My first trip was a day return…Concorde both ways. I took the bus to work as normal but then flew to New York and back in the same day! Quite an experience. Only staff could travel as a courier, so on another trip my wife took a subsonic flight whilst I took Concorde. I was there at T4 to wave her off at 08:45am, hung around for a couple of hours, then caught the morning Concorde at 10:30, overtook her somewhere over the Atlantic and arrived at JFK in time to meet her as she arrived. Quite a plane!"

  

Concorde

 

"I remember feeling like I was in a fighter jet as the aircraft banked out over Jamaica Bay right after take off, a move that I was reminded of every day, when several years later I had transferred to JFK. Every afternoon as I awaited the staff shuttle into the terminal for my 14:00 shift start, the afternoon departure would hit the air about 13:30 and set off all the car alarms in the staff parking lot. It's strange to think that in those days, the Concorde was just a daily part of one's life as a BA employee at JFK.

 And unless I'm imagining it... I'm sure I saw the curvature of the earth."

 

Concorde

 

"The flight crew used to come to the lounge beforehand to meet the passengers. I told the Captain about being a nervous flyer and he invited me to take off in the flight deck. The theory being seeing him in control would allay my nerves. It was totally scary but exhilarating! The shocked faces of the people on boats we loudly took off over was a picture!

I remember Mr B didn’t want champagne (it seemed to be the only thing on offer) so they rooted around and found an old can of Pale Ale for him! And yes, I saw the curvature of the earth."

  

Concorde pilots and flight deck

 

"My wife and I were very fortunate to have travelled on Concorde in October 1995 to Washington. If my memory is correct it cost £250 one way to Washington and £48 back to LHR on a 747-200 . It certainly was an amazing experience and I vividly remember the takeoff. It was like I imagine a jet fighter and you felt a little kick in your back when the afterburners were engaged!!
It was a similar experience when we were over the Bristol Channel the afterburners were engaged two at a time to start accelerating up to mach 2 as the pilot commented if he engaged the four at once it would have ruined the drinks service!! 

We levelled off at 59,000 feet and the curvature of the earth was amazing with different shades of blue changing from darker to light shades as you looked down. You could feel the heat generated by the friction if you put your hand on the window! Also looking down over the Atlantic you could see the contrails of the Aircraft flying below you. A surreal experience!"

 

Concorde

 

"I was very lucky and flew on Concorde twice on staff travel (yes, I am very old!!) The first time was to Washington and there were a number of US Senator’s on the flight. We were sat next to an Arabic customer who spoke no English. He was lovely – smiling at all the customers and crew – a genuinely nice guy. When the wine was offered, he took a full bottle of the red Paulliac. (goodness knows how much it was worth) Then he stood up and took 3 glasses from the trolley, and proceeded to pour a glass for himself, my husband (boyfriend at the time!) and me. We didn’t take long to polish off the bottle and another after that.

The second time was to JFK for my 30th birthday. Paul McCartney was on our flight with his wife Linda and their daughter Stella. They were chatting to all the customers. It was such a privilege to fly on the aircraft. The digital sign showing the speed and height of the aircraft was cutting edge in those days! When we got to Mach 2 and 55500 feet you could feel the aircraft jolt as you went through sound barrier."