For 27 years Concorde was a magnet for the rich and famous, sports stars, politicians, captains of industry. Rock stars Hollywood actors, supermodels and royalty. Concorde’s passenger list was an A-Z of the rich and glamorous: they all agreed that Concorde was the only way to fly.
Take a look at some of the famous people that few Concorde over the years: ~
And from pop stars to politicians it has attracted many famous passengers over the past 25 years.
In 1999 US soul diva Diana Ross made the headlines when she was arrested on Concorde after she assaulted a female security officer trying to search the star before she boarded the plane. Ms Ross was later cautioned and released – she went on to travel home in style – on Concorde.
When boxer Mike Tyson arrived in the UK for his controversial fight in June it was aboard a scheduled Concorde flight from New York.
Customs and Immigration officers went on board the jet to check Mr Tyson’s documents before allowing him to leave the airport. He was the last passenger off the flight.
The supersonic jet helped make rock history in 1985 at Bob Geldof’s 16-hour pop and rock marathon LiveAid.
Musician Phil Collins played on stage in London and then took Concorde to New York followed by a helicopter to Philadelphia in time to play drums for Eric Clapton before the televised event was over.
The head-turning Concorde club also includes celebrities such as Elton John, Mick Jagger, Joan Collins, Robert Redford, Luciano Pavarotti, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Annie Lennox and Rod Stewart.
The politician’s favourite
It was UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon’s fondness for travelling by the luxury jet at the taxpayers expense that earned him the sobriquet “Junket Geoff” when he was a junior minister.
UK Cabinet ‘enforcer’ Dr Jack Cunningham was thrown onto the defensive when it was revealed that he flew Concorde to Washington at a cost of £3,452, – when he could have caught a business class flight just minutes earlier at a fraction of the cost.
Since the world’s only supersonic commercial plane made its first French maiden voyage on 2 March, 1969, celebrities have always been attracted to the cachet of Concorde.
The Queen favours Concorde when she flies and the Queen Mother is even reported to have taken the controls of one of the aircraft during a test flight.
1985: Phil Collins used the jet to play both the London and Philadelphia Live Aid concerts
1999: Posh Spice Victoria Beckham flew Concorde for three wedding dress fittings in New York
2000: Robbie Williams dashed back to London so he could accept two surprise Brit awards in person
Some of the Famous Concorde Passengers-
John Lennon & Yoko
Dame Judy Dench
Dr Jack Cunningham
HM Queen of England
HM The Queen Mother
Diana, Princess of Wales
Sir Sean Connery
Sir Rod Eddington
Sir Paul McCartney
Prime Minister James Callaghan
Stephen de Sausmarez 1993
Sir Cliff Richard
Sir David Frost
Duchess of York
Tommy Mottola, CEO of Sony Music
Barbara (Amiel) Black
January 21st 1976
This was the date of the first commercial passenger flights for British Airways and Air France Concorde’s. They were synchronised to depart at the same time from London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports respectively, both flights were packed with dignitaries.
British Airways flight BA300 on G-BOAA was piloted by Captain Norman Todd, who flew Concorde over the Alps to Bahrain. Amongst those on board this flight were: ~
HRH The Duke of Kent
Peter Shore, UK Secretary of State for Trade
Sir George Edwards BAC
Air France flight AF085 using Concorde F-BVFA was piloted by Captain Pierre Chanoine who flew Concorde to Dakar then on to Rio. Amongst those on board were:~
Monsieur Marcel Cavelle, France’s Transport Minister
Pierre Giraudet, Chairman of Air France
General Jacques Mitterrand, Chairman and CEO of Aerospatiale
Mme Aurelie Ouille aged 82, who had throughout her life taken many significant inaugural voyages.
British Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan (later Lord Callaghan) flew on Concorde to an important meeting in Washington D.C.
November 2nd 1982
HM the Queen and HRH Prince Philip fly on Concorde for the first time.
HM the Queen and HRH Prince Philip embark on a 3 week tour of the Middle East beginning at Kuwait.
Phil Collins performs in the Live Aid concert in the UK then takes Concorde to New York and performs in the US version of the historic charity event.
August 6th 1985
The Queen Mother flies in Concorde to celebrate her 85th birthday.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (later Lady Thatcher) flies Concorde to Expo 86 in Vancouver.
October 5th 1987
Patrick Mannix of Reuters becomes British Airways’ 1,000,000th scheduled transatlantic Concorde passenger.
November 22nd 1987
Richard Noble, the one-time land speed record holder, marked the 10th anniversary of Concorde flights into New York JFK by setting a new record: he makes 3 Atlantic crossings in one day.
HM the Queen and HRH Prince Philip fly Concorde on a trip to Barbados.
May 2nd 1989
Pope John Paul II flies on French Concorde F-BTSC.
May 14th 1991
HM the Queen and HRH Prince Philip fly to Washington for the start of an official US tour.
December 3rd 1993
The Bee Gees create the ‘fastest show on earth’ by playing on Concorde as it flies supersonic around the Bay of Biscay – raising money for Children in Need.
September 25th 1995
The victorious European Ryder Cup golf team take fly Concorde back from the USA.
British Prime Minister John Major flies Concorde to Washington for a meeting with President Clinton.
July 1st 1998
David Beckam and other football stars fly from Nantes, France as G-BOAB brings home the 1998 England World Cup squad.
Barbara Harmer, the only female Concorde pilot, flies the Manchester United football team to their epic Champion’s League final in Barcelona. “I was thrilled and honoured to be asked to fly the team on their historic journey to Barcelona and felt quite emotional as I taxied the Concorde out to the runway, with British flags flying and thousands of people wishing the team luck on the way”.
September 21st 1999
Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal set a world record for a golf putt during the Concorde flight taking the European Ryder Cup team to the USA on the eve of the tournament. His 150 foot putt down the length of Concorde’s cabin went in the cup first time. With Concorde traveling at 1,270 mph, the ball was actually in motion for 9.232 miles. “On the eve of the Ryder Cup it’s great to be involved in a record for golf and for Concorde,” said British Airways Captain David Studd who had lent Olazabal his putter. The flight time of three hours six minutes was also a record for a journey between London and Boston.
November 7th 2001
British Prime Minister Tony Blair flies Concorde G-BOAF to Washington for a meeting with US President George W Bush. This day was significant as it was the return to service of Concorde following the Paris crash.
October 24th 2003
The final transatlantic flight is BA002 on G-BOAG and is packed with famous faces including:
Sir David Frost
Joan Collins and husband Percy Gibson
Piers Morgan, at the time the editor of the Daily Mirror
Bernie Ecclestone from Formula One racing
Model Joddie Kidd
Lord Marshall, Chairman of British Airways
Former model Christie Brinkley
Chris Gibson-Smith, Chairman of the Stock Exchange
Nigel Havers the actor
Chairmen and CEOs of several major corporations including GlaxoSmithKline, BAE Systems and Merrill Lynch
A traveller who had bought a regular ticket more than a year before not knowing it would be the last flight of Concorde.
“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…” They lowered their papers and magazines to listen with broadening smiles as Paul McCartney, perched on the cockpit jump-seat, picked away at his guitar. Now that’s what you call in-flight entertainment, the passengers thought. Only on Concorde!
The Beatle’s impromptu concert, at 60,000ft and 1,350mph, happened in the relaxed days before 9/11 and locked flight-deck doors. It was one of those special interludes that made flying in Concorde a lifetime experience rather than just a journey.
The Concorde era was the heady age when celebrities, from the Beatles in their heyday to the Queen Mother on her 85th birthday, travelled at over Mach 2, sipping champagne 11 miles above Earth on the blue-black fringes of space
Captain Peter Duffey, now 83, recalls flying the then prime minister, James Callaghan, in a new Concorde to Puerto Rico for the G7 conference in 1976. Their arrival in San Juan was a media sensation, eclipsing that of French president Giscard d’Estaing, who followed in a Boeing 707. “He was seriously miffed,” he recalls.
David Frost called Concorde his “time machine”, since it enabled him to fly to New York to record a TV programme and return to London in time for supper. It was equally cherished by businessmen with US meetings to attend. Captain Tye remembers the actress Anna Friel flying on the aircraft to attend the London premiere of her film Rogue Trader without missing a night’s stage appearance on Broadway. She invited Tye and his crew to see her show, Closer, in recognition of the achievement. In 1985, pop star Phil Collins did a similar double, flying in Concorde to perform at Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia on the same day.