Concorde: The dream of a lifetime

Andy Burton
ITC Luxury Travel Operations Manager

Concorde was always something I had a bit of an addiction to as a child, ever since it used to fly over our house operating charter flights from Liverpool on Grand National weekend.

As I grew older, it was always something I aspired to experience but never a priority to do...there were always more important things to be spending money on. And then suddenly, it was 2003 and the fleet was facing retirement and it became the most urgent thing I've ever had to do...I HAD to fly on Concorde.

So, after a few days scrambling to get the [not inconsiderable] fare together, I was booked on the BA002 from New York JFK to London Heathrow on 19th September.

I flew to New York on the British Airways service from Manchester two days beforehand and bizarrely, all I looked forward to was coming home again, when my childhood dream would become a reality.

So I spent my two nights in New York pottering around with just the journey home on my mind...but it only really hit me when I arrived in the Concorde Lounge at JFK, and there it was, parked outside, the aircraft I'd dreamt about for the last 20 years.

Needless to say I was a bit over-awed but pledged to 'play it cool' and not look like a rabbit in the headlights! Upon boarding the first thing I noticed was how relatively small and sparse the interior of the aircraft was. None of your modern day in-flight entertainment here. The entertainment for me was just being there, in seat 16D.

So off we went, the acceleration down the runway was like a racing car, the famous left turn after take off out over Jamaica Bay pinned us in our seats and out we went over the Atlantic. A few minutes into the flight and there were two barely noticeable nudges as the afterburners were lit and we accelerated through the sound barrier, up to Mach 2, over 20 miles a minute.

The next three hours seemed to go so fast (literally); it might have had something to do with the copious amounts of Champagne being fed to me but all too soon we were slowing down and descending into Heathrow, landing a measly 3 hrs 20 minutes later.

After a quick trip to visit the flight deck after landing and a lifetime's ambition achieved the journey back to Chester by plane, train and automobile seemed to be so slow, taking me longer than my flight from New York to London!

Just over a month later, Concorde was retired and the world became a bigger place again, but I'll always have my one special day, my one flight, something I'm so very glad I did.

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