I flew them a lot from 1985 onwards with British Airways on their route to Kuala Lumpur. They were great to fly on as they were much more comfortable than the cramped 747s that were flying at the time. We always used to get the first few seats in Economy Class (as my family worked with BA
at the time) and these seats were the old BA
Super Club 'Convertor' seats which could be switched easily by pulling down the large centre armrest (in a set of 3 seats) when the plane wasn't full - so you got Super Club comfort for most if not the entire journey. These seats were only situated at the front of the Economy cabin. There was also a tiny rear cabin (as BA
operated the Series 200 and I gather series 250 (tweeked for performance) to KUL
) in Economy which was great and cosy but this was often the smoking section (ahh those were the days of recycled smokey cabin air!). I used to love the five rear toilets laid out in a semi-circle and remember thinking - that was such a design feature of the L1011!
We also thought that it was often easier to see the screen on the Tristar than on the 747 which in those days was a bonus.
The only thing about the TriStar was that we stopped usually twice en-route to refuel or pick-up/let down passengers. After some time, BA
reintroduced the one-stop service to compete with Malaysian at the time (and this flight carried on to Manila). The service soon reverted back to the 747 equipment in the early 1990s.
Take off was superb on the L1011 and as someone else mentioned performance I gather was supreme. I was however quite sick once as we circled in to land on a stormy Kuala Lumpur December day... although we glided smoothly, I was SO amazed with the flaps action (oh that's right - I seem to remember that they were always extended one by one on either side and they made a loud whirring noise as they rolled out) and the scenery outside with the storm clouds darkening the cabin - that I lost it and threw up all over - my brother - huh
Ahh I miss the TriStars...we often parked next to the giant SQ
747s flying between Asia and Europe and even next to BA
747s - whenever we refuelled in the Mid-east (usually at 2am local time) but I always felt special to be a passenger on THAT little one which looked so much cuter and cooler than the Jumbos. I will always remember a passenger who joined our flight at Bangkok during a stopover and she exclaimed, "That tiny thing is NOT going to take us all the way to London, is it?", as she arrived at the boarding gate - but it sure did and it did it in STYLE!!!
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Photo © Howard Chaloner
I also flew with Cathay Pacific Tristars although I remember their cabin was very different. On my first flight in the 1980s, there were very small overhead lockers above the windows but nothing else. They had large pockets to put magazines and stuff between seats in the centre section but otherwise the cabin was open. They also had great plastic 'things' (can't really describe them) but guess they were there to 'break up' the cabin atmosphere. The seats were also lurid - green and yellow and mauve - I seem to remember.
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Photo © Christophe Pattyn
Later in 1988, I flew again on a CX
L1011 but it was much the same as the 747 we flew out on the KUL
leg cabin-wise. Blue/Green upholstery with overhead lockers as we know it.