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BA001 Concorde: LHR-JFK September 2002  
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 17728 times:

I hope you don't mind me posting a trip report from a couple of years back but so far the highlight of flying career. I wrote this back when I was 18 and it was my first trip report so please bear with me!

After finishing my A Levels instead of like most opting to fill up a 65 litre rucksack and jump on the next Qantas flight out of Heathrow I opted to do something a little different. A city break to New York. As far as I was aware I was flying Club World both ways, no big deal but a couple of days before the flight Dad told me I was flying on Concorde. A very pleasant surprise indeed!
He chose to give me an extra day in New York and had opted not to take the BA002 flight home and opted for the BA116, leaving JFK at around 10pm. Glad I wasn't picking up the tab for these!




For those who haven't flown aboard British Airways finest, Concorde is the most hassle free way to fly you could come across. But then it has to be, I mean you could never have top celebrities or business executives lifting a finger could you!

The Concorde check-in is combined with British Airways First passengers (as well as other oneworld partner First Class and Elites) in a small alcove at the end of the departure hall in Terminal 4.



Concorde passengers take further priority over First passengers, this caused dismay as a 18 year student (myself) was jumping past executives queuing for the later Los Angeles and Dubai flights. Check-in was a no queue affair and 10minutes after arriving in Terminal 4 I was already in duty-free. Fast-Track immigration (open to Concorde, First and Business Class passengers) was worth its weight in gold as I breezed past the 1 hour queue for regular immigration.

I then made my way to The Concorde Room opposite Gate 10; exclusively for Concorde and British Airways First passengers.



The place was quite empty scattered with leather sofas and a great view over Concorde parked on the apron below.




As soon as I was seated I was greeted by waitors offering free food and champagne which I obviously accepted.




The Cattier Clos du Moulin was the same as served onboard and despite being a non champagne connoisseur I found it rather nice and coupled with my breakfast it got me through to boarding at 10.15am. Boarding was direct from the lounge and security on the jetway was tight as I was once again searched by security. Upon getting in my seat 16A (in the rear cabin)

I kept my eager eye out for any celebrities and film stars that frequent the transatlantic Concorde flights. There was one A-list actress who shall remain un-named as she did a pretty good job at avoiding recognition. The usual safety briefing over taxiing could begin and yet more champagne flowed this time Cattier Clos du Moulin 1996 Vintage (chosen from the Concorde cellar) I had a nice few glasses. During the taxi to the northern runway we had a briefing for 'Concorde virgins' on how the take-off run was a little sportier than your average subsonic plane. It certainly pushed you into the back of your seat more and then noise of the engines coming to full throttle was fantastic

Inflight you hardly notice the transition from subsonic flight and despite what some say I didn't feel the nudge of the afterburner pairs being engaged for the acceleration through the sound barrier.



The Concorde fleet had been refurbished while it was grounded throughout much of 2000 and 2001 and as such new blue leather seats had been introduced. The seat pitch on Concorde is about the same Premium Economy on British Airways (38 inches). There is not the usual First Class pleasures on Concorde such as personal TV, just good old radio but then on a three and a half hour flight you don't need movies or masses of legroom. The food was served on Royal Doulton china and began with canapes and a variety of upmarket brunch type meals. Several courses of what can be described as bonsai meals were served, all very delicious that wouldn't look out of place in a semi-decent London or New York restaurant.
___________________________________________

MENU:

Brunch

Canapes

Appetiser

Greek Yoghurt, fresh berries, toasted muesli and honeycomb

Entrees

Farmhouse brunch of scrambled eggs, pork sausage, grilled bacon, tomato and sauteed wild mushrooms

Sea bass with a leek and saffron reduction

Aubergine, red pepper torte with grilled courgettes, mushroom polenta, basil and tomato coulis

Caesar salad with free range chicken breast, quails eggs and shaved truffles

Dessert

Chocolate and banana mousse on a hazelnut crust

or

Cheese

Stilton, goats cheese and unpasteurised Kirkham Lancashire

Selection of bread rolls

Coffee, decaffinated coffee, a selection of tea with chocolates

As an alternative to the full menu, we are pleased to offer a selection of freshly made sandwiches including salmon and cucumber, chicken salad and pastrami

WINE LIST

Champagne: Cattier, Clos du Moulin

White Wine: Corton-Charlemagne 1991 Domaine Bonneau du Martray

Red Wine: Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafite 1994 Grand Cru Classe Pessac-Leognan

Port: Dow's 1978 Reserve Tawny Port

___________________________________________



The introduction of plastic cutlery aboard Concorde appeared somewhat comical compared to the rest of the food, but a necessary precaution after September 11. The toilets at 58000ft are pretty ordinary and short on space like trying to go in your wardrobe with all your clothes hung up in it is the best description I can come up with!

The view from Concorde is spectacular. The plane climbs slowly throughout supersonic cruise and reaches a peak of around 58000ft just before descent into JFK. The window though very small gave a great panoramic view across the sky.



The gentleman beside me said that on a day when the cloud, some 30000ft below is plain flat you can see the spots that are the 747s and 777s on the cloud below. He was a regular Concorde passenger as the cabin crew were freely chatting to him. He was from Paris and shared his time between his homes on Long Island and the French capital. He said he used to use Air France Concorde but found out the British Airways was more superior and now flies with them. He told me he flew from Paris to London that morning to catch BA001 and that he flies on Concorde around 30-40 return trips a year Above eye-level the sky became very dark and somewhat intimidating. The claims that you can see the curvature of the earth are probably just the windows playing funny tricks as it wasn't clearly visible from 16A. You can also see how long you can hold your hand against the window for as it gets pretty hot at 1300mph.

Upon arrival in New York I watched as the Concorde shadow appeared on the water below us and the Marilake displays did not continue to show the altitude. We made a speedy landing at JFK and the noise of the reverse thrust being engaged was near to deafening. During the taxi to the terminal my name was called over the PA system. What was wrong with me? I held tight as all the other passengers left the aircraft. My Dad who has contacts at British Airways managed to get Chief Concorde Pilot Mike Bannister for my flight which was a complete surprise. So after we landed I had a tour of the cockpit and a chat for around fifteen minutes with the man who in my view has probably the best job in the world.



I was due to pick up special stationary and pack of other goodies for Concorde passengers but the flight was near full (90+ passengers) so they had run out. The cabin crew did say they would send one to my house and they did, it had arrived by the time I got home four days later. Good old British efficiency!

Immigration was a breeze as BA001 is one of the first international flights into JFK so the terminal was clear when I picked up my cases and caught the limo into town! On the way home I had the reality check of flying at the back of a 747, didnt quite live up to the outbound leg!

A few bits from my flight....and what was sent afterwards:






"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlanespotterx From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 17337 times:

Hi Fbgdavidson what a great report, I sure would have liked to have been that french guy who flew on Concorde 40 times a year (man, to think I couldnt afford to fly on her, never mind 40 times per year.)
Your so lucky to have met Mr Bannister too, IMO he's one of the best Concorde pilots there were (apart from Andre Turcat and Brian Calvert.)
I was fortunate to have been on concorde at MAN when it made a stop there when I was about 15 (ish), It was parked round the Cargo apron, and as I was on work experience and was fortunate to be with airfield maintenace that day, myself and the guy I was with (I forget his name it was so long ago), we managed to spend 10 minutes on Concorde, visitng the FD, sitting in one of the passenger seats, as well as the pilots seat.
Then we made our way to taxiway G1 next to 24R in the direction where it was starting its T/O run.
I have to say, standing literally just a few meters away from where Concorde is taking off at full afterburner is a experience I will never forget, its sad that I never got to fly on her like you and many others did, but I can always dream and think of what it was like to be on, by reading great reports such as your own, to which I thank you for your experience...and I only wish they had kept just one flying, even just for display purposes.


User currently offlineAirbus3801 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1089 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 17280 times:

Excellent report in detail and after such a long time, great report.

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13170 posts, RR: 78
Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 16413 times:

Nice report, nice pics, nice memories, 9 days later I took a BA001, like you, on that trip no curve of the Earth view, by the pics it wasn't clear enough probably, but for me it was on OAE's last flight, to BGI, the last airtest, (OAE in August 2003), my first, a IAD-LHR in 1993.
Even so, glad you had a great trip, got some additional goodies and experienced the ultimate in air travel.


User currently offlineKDTWFlyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 828 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16366 times:

Great Report. I liked the pictures as well as the detailed text. How was the trip back on the B744?


NW B744 B742 B753 B752 A333 A332 A320 A319 DC10 DC9 ARJ CRJ S340
User currently offlineTupolevTu154 From Germany, joined Aug 2004, 2178 posts, RR: 28
Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 16301 times:

Amazing report mate!

You are soooooo lucky to be able to do that!

Toasted Muesli eh, dosent sound very post to me  Laugh out loud

Cant wait to hear more from you!

TupolevTu154



Atheists - Winning since 33 A.D.
User currently offlineLtbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13040 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 16288 times:

Great report! The pictures were great, and getting to meet your flight's pilot must have been a special treat. Do you know which Concorde you were on? (Registration) and where that a/c is now?

User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 16320 times:

Tupolev TU154, I was pretty lucky to do the flight then. This was way before the retirement announcement and I was actually booking a trip to IAD at the time the retirement came up. I was once again given the chance to fly onboard Concorde, LHR-JFK-IAD-JFK-LHR but chose against it for several reasons.

If you are interested I have posted another couple of Club World reports recently and also have a Club Europe trip down to AGP next month which I am going to write up.

Ltbewr, I was on G-BOAD and it is currently sitting on a barge not far from you on the Intrepid in Manhattan

[Edited 2004-10-26 18:01:47]


"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineFRAspotter From United States of America, joined May 2004, 2347 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 15470 times:

WOW!!! You were so lucky to have the experience you did. You would have to wonder how many of those certificates that French man has. A verry wealthy man indeed.


"Drunks run stop signs. Stoners wait for them to turn green."
User currently offlineMichaelJP From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 15466 times:

Awesome trip report,

Concorde meant a lot to me like a lot of other aneters and its a real shame I couldnt fly on her. Too young at the time to remember anything  Sad

My dad flew on her regulary with the Princess and Prince of Brunei and my mum flew on her a few times with my dad. I really would have liked to seen her from a little older age but I guess it wasnt meant to be.

And as far as the frenchy goes....obviously he'd be wealthy but I suspect that it was paid for by the company.

Mike


User currently offlineAirdolomiti From Germany, joined May 2003, 688 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 15419 times:

Great report! I flew Concorde after they had announced the retirement (June 2003), so my flight was already full with enthusiasts, but a fantastic experience nonetheless, one I will never forget.

After more than 1 and half years I have also picked up my video recordings of that day, and have finally managed to copy them on my computer - I will post them later in a separate thread here on the forum. Great to relive those moments, though I can't help but shed a tear every time I watch them - she had many more years of service left.

Thanks again for the report. I am quite envious of you getting to meet Mike Bannister though  Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Big grin

Federico


User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3701 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 15359 times:

You would have to wonder how many of those certificates that French man has. A verry wealthy man indeed

The only people that bother with the stationary packs and certificates are the first timers as the CSD told me they only carried a couple on each flight (as this was pre-retirement announcement). As there were none left they sent me a great pack of stuff which is pictured above which was at home by the time I arrived home from New York five days later. The Frenchman was very no-plus about everything, as was everyone else, reading the paper during take-off, refusing drinks and food and spent most of the time doing the crossword.

Before the retirement announcement was made Concorde was a business tool and I have to say I rather enjoyed flying it back then when it was just that.....



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineBA380 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 1466 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 15270 times:

great report. how jammy to get the mighty Bannister for your flight! wish i had flown on Concorde at least once, although I have always thought that flying eastwards would be preferable in F subsonic, so you could stretch out. Still -nice problem to have!


cabin crew: doors to automatic and cross-check...
User currently offlineZKEOJ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2005, 1006 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (9 years 5 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 14873 times:

Hey Fraser

you are one lucky guy - what a great dad you have! I envy you for this fantastic experience, which now is a piece of aviation history!

And btw, why are you apologizing for an old report? It is a great TR, interesting to read, and great pics along with it!

Keep smiling  Smile
micha


User currently offlineAirlinerfreak From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 5 months 14 hours ago) and read 14754 times:

Wow that was a great report for a great plane. My dream as a kid was to fly the 747 and the Concorde. I have flown the 747 many a times but the Concorde, never. It is something that I missed, and my aviation life will never be complete without that ride in the concorde.

User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4105 posts, RR: 51
Reply 15, posted (9 years 5 months 7 hours ago) and read 14717 times:

A lovely trip report, man I miss this bird,

Sam:DD



Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineBhxforever From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2001, 564 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (9 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 14690 times:

Fraser, nice report! You were lucky to get the man himself.  drool 

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