I walked down the corridor and saw the immortal words Concorde Lounge on top of the door frame.
Front door of Concorde Lounge at Heathrow Airport - Terminal 4
Next to the tall double mahogany wooden doors which had white frosted glass in them there was a young British Airways 20 some thing receptionist standing behind a tall brown coloured 2ft wide by 5 ft high desk, I went up to her and nervously asked
Can I . sorry could I go in ?
She politely replied
Can I see your ticket and passport sir ?
I showed her these items, she checked them and with a smile said
and I was allowed in to the lounge.
As I walked through the double doors, almost tripped my self up and nearly fell over as I was that excited about my flight. On my right hand side next to those doors there was another reception desk I went over to the desk and the receptionist asked
Can I see your ticket and passport sir ?
I gave her both and after she checked them out all was fine.
Concorde lounge reception desk at Heathrow.
From the receptionists desk I looked at the windows, out of the windows I saw an empty Concorde parking bay.
I asked British Airways staff
Where is she (Concorde) ?
She hasn't come in yet.
I was relived because I knew I still had time left before she was pulled over.
As I walked in to the lounge I looked at the magazine rack and saw 5 yes 5 Concorde celebration magazines, I wanted to grab the whole lot there and then but I didn't do that because I didn't want to look a dodgy geeza.
I stood there for a while and I was in awe of the whole place but I also felt a bit out of place like Eliza Do-Little from the film My Fair Lady where she says in an East London cockney accent the rain in Spain stays mainly on da plane .. I felt like her as I have never ever experienced any thing so posh.
Because of the bad luck I've had with finding a full time permanent job I never visited such posh places simply because with out any decent money coming in on a regular basis I just cant afford it.
When ever I was in work I was in short term contracts or temporary jobs so even if I was earning good money after the tax man took almost HALF my wages in tax (coz he loves picking on contract staff), after taking away living expenses I would have to put some of the remainder of the money in to the bank.
Some of that money would be saved for my Concorde flight and the rest would be saved for a rainy day (like being out of work when you really need the money), I would not ever spend any of my money on a posh restaurant, posh hotel, posh car or posh clothes as I cant justify the expense as I simply cant afford it.
Because of lack of full time work and thus lack of money I'm more use to standing outside eating my sandwiches from Sainsburys or Tescos, than sitting in a posh restaurant being served by high class waiters. I think the poshest restaurants I ever went to where Pizza hut and McDonalds, I could never afford to go in to posh restaurant like the Ritz etc.
Also when I had work I was more use to sitting next to Mr Halitosis (some one with bad breath) on the train home from work or in Romford shopping centre munching away my sandwiches than sitting in a very posh place having cordon blur lunch.
Every one else in the lounge looked like they earned a million or a billion £ a year, me apart from the occasional temp work I currently earn £0 per year. I never saw any celebrities in there, I guess because I had been on TV and because I had a BBC London crew filming me I was a sort of celebrity but I didn't feel like one as celebrities get paid loadsa money, have BMW M3s and have pretty 18-36 year old girls chasing them all the time.
Me I am skint cos I aint had a full time .I.T. job in 2 ½ years, no one's paying me any money for anything, I don't drive a BMW and I don't have any pretty 18-36 year old girls chasing me. Instead the only birds I do have chasing me are pigeons at home who dive bomb the car all the time and leave pigeon dirt on it (they even do it 5-10 minutes AFTER I have finished cleaning the car . the little swine's. Mr Police officer please arrest those pigeons under the terrorism act for terrorising and dive bombing my car with pigeon dirt J).
The atmosphere in the Concorde lounge was very calm, relaxed and very quite (like being in a Japanese's garden), there was no hint of the excitement of what was going to happen on Concorde, there was no hint that in a few hours time we'd be flying at 58,000 feet and at twice the speed sound on a supersonic plane, there was no hint at all that this was going to happen in anyway, it was just extremely quite, relaxed and calm.
In the lounge I felt great as I knew there was no turning back, my dream of flying on Concorde was slowly but steadily becoming true.
The Concorde lounge was the 2nd part of the Concorde experience I was very happy, I felt excited but in a very cool and calm way as for the first time since the 4th and 5th year at school I felt truly happy and content, I forgot all my job hunting worries, I forgot all my other worries and I concentrated on chilling out, relaxing and living my life long dream of flying Concorde.
While I standing there I heard the following on the tannoy
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen this is a boarding announcement for British Airways flight BA115 to New York JFK. The flight is now boarding at gate 20...
This is a final announcement for British Airways flight BA115 to New York JFK now boarding at gate 20 passengers please make their way to gate 20 as the flight will be closing shortly thank you.
I tried crossing my legs but I was bursting to go to the men's room.
I went up to the reception desk and with the look of like some one was crushing me some where private, I asked the receptionist
Would I be allowed to go to loo and where is it as I am bursting ?
What's a loo ?
In my east London cockney accent I embarrassingly said
You know the bog . the toilet.
She now understood what I meant, she smiled and happily replied
Yes you can go.
and pointed me in the right direction, I ran like the clappers to that place, when I got there, I dropped my trousers and let it rip god it felt so good aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhh.
The men's bogs (loos) where very posh, they had white marble floor, nice moody lightning which wasn't bright it was dim, the mirrors above the sinks had a 1ft long white tube lights above them which gave a clean white light and the bogs smelled good.
They smelled of posh expensive aftershave and not ³ human ³ – bad eggy smells. I never had posh aftershave as I use Lynx and Insignia aftershave or I use cheapo bargain basement ones from Sainsbury, Superdrug or Tescos (simply because I can't afford the expensive stuff) but the stuff in the Concorde men's room was very posh stuff.
I thought :-Wow this feels good wonder if I can live here it was that good as the loos I go to at Liverpool st station or Stratford station are very dodgy and they stink like hell of cabbage, ³ human ³ sounds and smells, but the loos in the Concorde lounge where like the Rolls Royce of men's loos.
I washed my hands and used posh smelling soap wow I thought :- if I used this stuff in Romford perhaps I could pull some pretty Romford birds (no not the pigeons but Romford girls)
I walked out of there, headed towards the huge plate glass windows and waited for my Concorde. I went to get a Concorde celebration magazine but they where all gone .. doh
Andrew Winstanley, the BBC camera man and British Airway's press officer came in to the Concorde lounge, Andrew said
Jet I want to film you going in to the lounge and checking in.
I didn't mind doing this so I went outside the lounge doors.
Andrew and the BBC camera man set the TV camera and sound recording gear up, they filmed me 3-4 different times and at 3-4 different angles walking in to the lounge and checking in, after that I was left alone for a while to mingle with my fellow passengers.
There where a mix of people who where flying on her, some used Concorde as an ³ exclusive ³ way to fly away from the ³ riff raff ³, others where like you and me where they got the tickets in a once in a life time trip, Andrew filmed me talking to some people in lounge.
There was a stunning dark haired girl who was in her 20s standing near the windows I thought :- Corrrrrrrrrrrr what tasty looking girl I hope she's single, I went up to her and started talking to her.
I tried to use the chat up line of
Hi my name's Jet, can I show you my afterburners ?
But I didn't want to get kicked in the nuts so I spoke to her normally.
She turned out to be from Essex, there was a guy sitting next to her at first I thought he was her brother and asked her
Is that guy sitting next to you your brother or your dad ?
She happily laughed and said
No he's my husband .. DOH !!
I thought :- Oh no, not again .. not another pretty girl who's ³ married ³ or got a ³ boy friend ³, why cant guys leave some pretty single girls for us single guys who want a relationship with those girls, why are ALL the pretty girls I fancy ALWAYS taken .doh.
I spoke to both of Essex couple and they where a very very nice couple.
I asked them
How did you get the flight, how do you feel about Concorde, are you regular Concorde travellers ?
We wanted to fly on Concorde for ages but never had the time to do that.
In April 2003 we heard the very sad news about Concorde being retired and felt we both had to go on Concorde as this was a once in a life time thing which we could not let go, so we got the money, booked up the tickets and here we are J
We've seen you on TV.
How did the flight happen ?
How was the money raised ?
I explained how Sparky, WesternDH and others on Concorde SST website had made this dream real.
They Essex couple both said
That it sounds like an amazing and wonderful story, you must have a great set of mates and we are very happy for you J
The BBC camera man asked the girl
Do you mind if we film you and Jetinder talking ?
She happily replied
I'd don't mind, I'd like to do that.
We sat next to each other on a huge soft brown leather sofa opposite the plate glass windows facing Concorde and for 10-15 minutes where filmed chatting about Concorde.
On camera we spoke about how I got the flight, about Concorde and about how she and her husband very sad to see Concorde being retired.
The BBC camera man then said
Cut .. that's great, thanks for your help.
Overall I really enjoyed talking to her and to her husband they where both very nice couple.
I felt hungry so I asked the British Airways press officer
Am I allowed to get a bite to eat ?
With a smile she said
Yes fine get what ever you want to eat.
That for me was the green light and I started to think like Homer Simpson mmmmmmmmmm food, mmmmmmmm sun dried tomatoes and chicken Caesar salad, my tummy was getting excited, so I calmly went over the bar.
Asked the bar tender
I'd like to get a bite eat, have you got anything light ?
The bar tender told me what they had so I ended up getting a glass of mineral water and a chicken Caesar salad sandwich.
When she placed the food on the plate I asked her
How much is it ?
The bar tender replied
Nothing its free.
I thought :- free, my eyes lit up and I was going to order more food but decided not to as I didn't want to look fat like a Boeing 747 and his podgy cousin the Boeing 777.
I munched on the sandwich, it felt good and was very very tasty, my tummy and taste buds wanted to eat 3 more but I didn't want to pig out so I stuck to my one and only chicken Caesar salad sandwich.
While I was eating the sandwich on the tannoy I heard the following said in a lady's posh English accent
Ladies and Gentlemen, final call for those passengers travelling to Vancouver this flight is closing now at gate 7.
May I please request passengers if they are travelling to Vancouver on BA085 to please make their way to gate 7 as the flight will be closing shortly thank you.
I stood near the front doors of the Concorde lounge and was talking to the BA press officer she asked me
What do you think of the Concorde lounge.
I was expecting the lounge to be all hi tech and futuristic like mission control at Nasa, the bridge of Star Trek or 2001 Space Odyssey etc with symbols and photos of Concorde, supersonic flight and ³the future³ but the lounge wasn't like that at all, It looked like a board room of a CEO working for a merchant bank in the City its nice.
She wasn't to impressed by what I said but to me that's how the Concorde lounge looked like, it wasn't rubbish it was a very nice place but it wasn't as ³ Hi tech and futuristic ³ as I had expected the ³ Concorde ³ lounge to be it looked more like a lounge for 1st class passengers on a 747 than a supersonic plane's high tech lounge.
I asked the
British Airways press officer
What can I take from my flight ?
Within reason you can take what
ever you want.
guessed meant a few celebration magazines and a few Concorde collection
How did your interest in
Concorde start ?
At the age of six I saw
Concorde on TV, after pestering dad for countless weeks and months to take me
to Heathrow dad finally gave in and took me to see Concorde.
We got on top of
Terminal 2 and Queen's building plane spotting area where I saw my first ³real³
from that day on my interest in her grew and grew and I came
to Heathrow as much I could to see her.
Later on in life
when I got my first camera I came to Heathrow and took as many photos of her as
impressed with my commitment, interest and enthusiasm for Concorde.
where chatting Andrew Winstanley was stood next to us he tried to put in a
good word for me with her and with British Airways he said
Jet's a very good
photographer, I've seen his photos and they are stunning.
In a ' so
what ³ manner of speaking British Airway's Press officer politely replied
We have Adrian Meredith as our official
photographer, he's very good and his Concorde photo's are excellent so we
don't need any one else.
You haven't seen Jet's Concorde photos,
they are very good.
British Airways press officer didn't seem interested in chatting about my
photos. I wasn't bothered, I wasn't worried about it all, I didn't care
as I know the photos I took of Concorde and I know some are good or better than
other professional photographers.
After I finished eating my sandwich Andrew said
Jet we want to film you taking photos of Concorde being pulled in to the parking bay, but we don't want to do it from the Concorde lounge we want to do it from a different area.
British Airway's press officer checked with her bosses and got clearance to do this, we went outside the Concorde lounge, past the departure desk and up some steps, to some thing which was airside facing stare well with plated glass, it looked like a L shaped greenhouse and we could look down at the Concorde parking bay
These are those steps I walked up with the BBC filming me.
The BBC set their cameras up, we had British Airways's press officer and British Airways's security watching me and the BBC TV crew.
We all waited for Concorde, when we saw her the BBC and British Airways staff allowed me to run wild around that area with my EOS 3, I was let loose to take as many photos of her as I wanted while the BBC filmed me doing this. I felt like a kid in a toy shop and within 10 minutes I used 1-2 reels of film.
Slowly parking Concorde .. now that's what I call ³ parking ³.
I asked Andrew and the BBC camera crew
Can we go back to the Concorde lounge as I want to get a different angle of her
coming in ?
Andrew and the camera man said
I ran down the stairs as fast as I could and headed straight to the wall of plate glass windows in the lounge which faced the Concorde parking area. Andrew, the BBC camera man and British Airway's press officer quickly followed me.
When I got to the lounge the rest of the passengers had all gone to the windows and where watching and taking photos of our plane being towed in. At first I panicked and thought :- I aint going to get any more photos of Concorde from here, but I found an empty space and took more photos of her being pulled in head on.
Andrew, the BBC camera man and British Airway's press officer finally caught up with me, they could see what I was doing and they allowed me to carry on taking photos of her.
To me she felt like she was ³ my ³ plane and no one else's, I felt like British Airways had specially towed her in for me.
At that point in time apart from being like a rich kid in sweet shop with daddy's ³ platinum ³credit card I felt extremely special, very privileged and very very very lucky to experience this phenomena as it felt like it was my Concorde being pulled in to greet me, to take me swiftly and safely to New York.
While I was taking photos of her being pulled in I saw a second Concorde G-BOAG (the youngest Concorde in British Airway's fleet) in the back ground behind my Concorde and knew she was my back-up plane in case my Concorde went bad.
My Concorde G-BOAD, on the right my backup Concorde G-BOAG
I felt so so privileged and so incredibly lucky to experience all this and not to have one but two British Airways Concorde's at my beckon call, I never imaged I'd have two supersonic passenger planes waiting for me (second one being used in case the first one broke down) wow it felt so so brilliant, I felt like I was the King of England.
I knew that this was the only chance I was ever going to get to take photos of her so I took as many of her as I could while I was doing this on the tannoy I heard the following announcement echoing around the lounge
Ladies and Gentlemen, this a boarding announcement for British Airways 219 to Denver, this flight is boarding at gate number 1A.
Just to advise you that today you are going out to the aircraft by coach so an early arrival at the gate is appreciated.
After my Concorde was parked up, I started to chill out and relaxed but I still had the BBC crew almost constantly filming me and I had other passengers still talking to me about how I got the ticket etc.
Airside outside the Concorde lounge
When Concorde was securely parked next to stand V14 the Concorde engineers who'd worked on her in the Concorde hangers drove over to Terminal 4 with their tool kits and did the following checks
· They walked round both Concordes and checked that she had not been hit anything on
the way over.
· Re-checked all the tires and tire pressures to see if the tires had picked anything up which
could cause tire and wheel damage or to cause the tire to loose pressure.
· The mechanical LAE checked Concorde's fuel tank gauges to see how much fuel was left in her after her last flight, he then hooked up the fuel pipes and start refueling G-BOAD for the long flight a head.
· After this the mechanical LAE went to the flight deck and checked to see if it was all ok, when he was satisfied he walked through the entire cabin to check that everything in there was ok.
· On the flight deck the Avionics' technician checked the switches and started to set up Concorde's navigation systems for the flight a head.
· When this was ok the mechanical LAE signed the final C.R.S. (certificate for release) certifying G-BOAD was fit and ready for flight and readied the technical log to be handed over to the Captain Mills to check, verify and sign.
· The Engineers then readied them selves and waited for pushback.
By this time the crew of my flight (Captain Andy Mills, SFO (Co Pilot) James Bedforth and Senior Flight engineering office Peter Carrigan) had turned up.
Captain Andy Mills, SFO (Co Pilot) James Bedforth where looking over and checking the inside of Concorde and her flight deck while Peter Carrigan was walking around the outside of Concorde make sure all was ok.
G-BOAD was now out of the Concorde Engineers hands and in the hands of my pilots and crew.
· On the outside G-BOAD the toilets were serviced at the terminal by Terminal 4's waste company, the Concorde engineers the checked to see if it had been done to a satisfactory standard.
· Inside G-BOAD the toilets where checked, cleaned and re-stocked with posh smelling soap and bog roll (toilet roll) as British Airways didn't want their passengers to have skid marks on the inside of their underpants due to lack of bog roll at mach 2.
· The Carpets where hooverd, the windows and every thing else where cleaned and polished.
· All the seats where cleaned and checked to make sure the safety belts worked and the onboard entertainment system worked. They where then re-stocked with Concorde celebration magazines, Concorde gift catalogues, safety cards and sick bags.
· All the galleys where cleaned and checked.
When this was done they where all checked and inspected by British Airways quality control staff to make sure that Concorde immaculate inside and out, to make sure Concorde was up to the high standard people always expected from the flag ship of the fleet (Concorde being the flag ship plane of British Airways).
In the Concorde lounge
British Airways press officer and I chatted about
Concorde's future and saving her. At the time I was 100% convinced that within
1 year of Concorde being grounded, with enough public support we could
bring Concorde back to full passenger service.
I asked her
So why's Concorde being grounded ?
using the " official " British Airways line of
Concorde is too old and to ³ expensive ³ to operate, maintain and keep flying.
So after 24 October Concorde will never.
believe her and said
I know the " truth " about why
Concorde's been grounded, we will get Concorde back,
we cant just let her die like this.
No it would be too costly.
In the end we both
happily agreed to disagree on this issue as I was convinced that Concorde was
going to come back and I was determined to do what ever I could to try and get
Concorde back, I really really felt we had a chance to get Concorde back and
stick two fingers up at the CEO of Airbus who (through his actions) grounded
Concorde for life, The British Airways press officer was convinced that
Concorde would never come back.
Some of my fellow passengers started to get a bit cheesed off with the BBC crew filming the lounge and a bit cheesed off with all the media attention I was getting.
I said to some of them
I'm sorry for having the BBC camera's in here filming me, I don't want to upset you or
any one else.
After this most of the passengers where ok and happy about it all.
I apologised to them as I didn't want to upset any one, I didn't want any trouble, I didn't want to be kicked off my dream flight because some one had complained to British Airways about the BBC filming me, I didn't want this to happen at all, hence why I apologised to every one to cool things down.
We all sat there chatting to each other, amongst other things people asked me
Why is Concorde being retired ?
Some openly and angrily blamed British Airways (with British Airways staff within hearing range hearing all these comments made at their airline) but I said
Its not British Airway's fault, I've heard roomers that the CEO of British Airways (Rod Eddington) went to Airbus countless times even in the last month of her life asking the CEO of Airbus to reconsider, but the CEO of Airbus refused and I feel it's Airbus's fault for grounding her and NOT British Airways.
People who didn't know that BAC/Aerospaceal (now Airbus) made Concorde now understood how I felt they said
We are very very unhappy and sad that this is happening.
Its great shame, a great pity that some thing as wonderful as Concorde has to end like this.
Isn't there any way that she can be saved and continue fly ?
With out Airbus's support there is no way she will ever fly as Airbus make all the major parts for her, they decide when she gets serviced, when the parts have to be replaced. They have all the blue prints, all the plans and expertise to keep Concorde flying and to upgrade her, they have the airplane's version of an M.O.T. certificate.
So if Airbus say no then it really means no and she will never fly again.
Some people asked
What about Richard Branson and Virgin isn't he trying to save Concorde ?
Couldn't he get her back ?
I calmly replied
Richard Branson couldn't save Concorde in a million years as British Airways and Air France refused to lease or sell him any Concordes.
Even if he could have got hold of some Concordes I heard Airbus refused to give him any support or backing to fly Concorde. So with out Airbus's support there is no way she will ever fly, let alone carry passengers at mach 2.
This saddened people a lot .. I didn't want to depress people as for me this was a trip of a life time, this was going to be a dream come true, but when they asked me questions about Concorde I couldn't lie and say it was all going to be ok, when the truth was it wasn't going to be ok at all ..
On the tannoy in a Scottish accent we heard
Good evening ladies and gentlemen this announcement is for passengers travelling on British Airways Concorde supersonic flight BA001 to New York.
If any passengers have coats they would like for us to hang aboard the aircraft can they please bring them to the Concorde boarding desk together with the boarding pass.
I would also like to advise passengers that storage space is extremely limited on board Concorde if you have any items like hand baggage that you do not require please bring them to the boarding gate thank you.
The waitresses came over offered us all caviar and salmon on small round Ritz like crackers with large glasses of Champaign.
When I saw the black caviar I felt like throwing up as I aint use to eating posh food, I know what caviar is and how they get it. I never had Champaign in my life I didn't know what kind of reaction my body would have had so I gave it and the caviar a miss and continued to chat to my fellow passengers.
While I was standing gazing at Concorde in awe and excitement more people came up to me and happily asked me :-
We've seen you on TV, How did you get the trip ?
So I happily told them how people on ConcordeSST had helped to make my dream come true, they all said
Where amazed by how all your friends have done this for you.
Although I was surrounded by friendly happy people as I
looked around I saw that every one where either in Couples, Families or Groups
Although I was extremely happy to be flying on
Concorde I felt like I was the only one who was totally on his own.
I know I had Andrew Winstanley and British Airways press office to chat to but
Andrew and British Airways Press officer where not coming with me on my flight
so I could never share with them the happiness and joy I knew I was going to
experience on my flight.
While standing in the lounge at times I did feel a bit
lonely, I know it sounds strange but that's how I felt during some parts of my
stay in the lounge.
While Concorde was parked in front of the huge windows I saw a food truck from Gate Gourmet standing next to her and loading her with food and drink for our flight.
Food Truck from Gate Gourmet loading our food for the flight.
While this was going on a few people where standing in front of the window and having their photos taken in front of her.
It was 5.15pm and I knew I had to put a post on the Concorde SST forum about me in the Concorde lounge, I tried to find a spare PC in the Concorde lounge but believe it or not it only had 2 PCs in it the other 4 desks just had a phone on it, the 2 PCs where being used so I had to wait and .. wait ..
Only 2 PCs in Concorde Lounge and both where being used as a guy
who was using the PC facing us was behind me while I took this photo.
Computer room in Concorde Lounge no PCs here . Doh.
While I was waiting for a PC to become free I spoke to a retired American pilot who was also waiting for a PC, he was in his late 60s, 6,5ft and average build, he was a very nice guy (I did NOT say that in a gay way as I aint gay).
He smile and said
I've been flying for many years and I've flown all sorts of planes, but I really love Concorde as she is unique.
I'm very sad to see her being ³ retired ³ as there was no need for this to happen
I agree with you but there isn't much we can do about it as I feel Airbus are the ones who are forcing British Airways to ground her, by charging British Airways to much for parts and servicing.
Is there any thing we can do to save her and to keep her flying ?
I'm sorry but no unless Airbus change their mind, she will never fly again .
I looked at my watch and it was getting late and none of the PCs in the Concorde lounge where free, I urgently needed access to the internet so I could let my friends on Concorde SST know where I was and what I was up to. I had to get access to the internet to do that as on Concorde SST it was tradition for their members to say where they where via the internet so I didn't want to let my friends down by not doing this.
I went back in to the main Concorde lounge and found the British Airways press officer talking to Andrew and the BBC camera man.
In a calm but worried voice I asked the British Airways press officer
Can I get access to the internet from any where else ?
Go upstairs to the normal First class lounge there should be some free Computers there.
When I got to the First class lounge it was ok but compared to the Concorde lounge, the First class lounge looked and felt very ³ busy, crowded ³ and above all very ³ hectic', unlike the Concorde lounge which was chilled out and relaxed.
I asked first class lounge receptionist
Where are the PCs as I need to get access to the internet.
The receptionist checked my ³ Concorde ³ ticket and pointed me in the direction of where they roughly where, I quickly walked in the direction she pointed me in and found the Computers, but I was amazed to see that they where all being used.
I expected the First class lounge to be more sedate and relaxed than I guess economy class, I expected the First class lounge to have a lot more computers with internet access than they where as this was ³ First class ³ not ³Economy class³, but the first class lounge only had 5 or 6 and there where people queuing up to use them. I never expected this at all in first class.
Time wasn't on my side instead of waiting in a queue until god knows when I started hunting for a free Computer, when I finally saw one which wasn't being used, I quickly went over to it and tried to use it, but it didn't work doh.
The computer screen was frozen and hence why no one was using it. I tried to do press CTRL+ALT+DEL keys to do a warm re-boot and unfreeze the computer but that didn't work, the computer screen was still frozen.
I looked at my watch and realised that I didn't have time to fluff around with this computer, I didn't have time to wait for some one to leave another computer as time was short and I couldn't wait other wise I would have missed my flight.
I raced back to the Concorde lounge found the British Airways press officer standing next to Andrew Winstanley and the BBC camera man.
In a polite happy but semi out of breath and panicky voice I said
Are there any other computers I can use as all the ones up stares are either not working or they are being used by some one else.
She happily replied
You can go to the business centre room next to the lounge to use the PCs in there.
And gave me the code number for the door
Thanks you're a diamond J
and rapidly walked out of the Concorde lounge and quietly and repeatedly saying to my self the code number for that door so I didn't forget it, when I found the business centre I typed in the door code and got in thereYES J
Next to the right hand wall I saw 10 Computer keyboards with screens and a individual mice sitting on a thin brown table (made like breakfast bar), two where being used by business men and the others where free, great news I could actually use a PC J
I sat down and I finally logged on the computer by this time I was very hot and had sweat coming off my bold head, the top of my head look liked a shiny gold Christmas tree orb.
The two business men sitting at their PCs laughed and asked
Where have you been ?
I was trying to get my breath back, I smiled and said nothing because although I wanted to talk to them I didn't have time for chit chat and hence waste more time by chatting as my number one priority was get access to the internet and make sure my friends on Concorde SST got a post from me in the Concorde lounge.
When I logged on to the PC and had access to the Concorde SST website my panic was over, I chilled out relaxed I didn't have time to read the other posts on Concorde SST so quickly put a note on the forum of how I felt etc.
This is what I actually wrote
Jetinder in Concorde room – by me
Jetinder in Concorde room
Edited by: Jetinder at: 21/10/03 5:47 pm
Here is the internet link to the website
When people on Concorde SST saw my thread they wrote the following
God speed and enjoy
Re: Concorde room
Jetinder believe this is happening yet or does he think someone will say in a
little while excuse me you cant go on that.
Re: Concorde room
is like CDG you only get to Concorde room after passport control.
After I wrote the message I logged off the internet and raced out of there back in to the Concorde lounge as fast as I could, people where starting to get their things and I knew I didn't have much time as the boarding time was around 6pm, it was now 5.57pm.
I was standing near the window gazing out in utter awe and excitement at my Concorde,
The retired American pilot (who I'd spoken to in the computer room) came up to me and said
Can you take a photo of me in front of Concorde ?
I happily said
Sure no worries, where's the camera ?
He gave me his digital camera which was silver and looked the size of a credit card. He told me how to use to it. I took one photo of him standing next to Concorde, he came over looked at the picture on the camera's mini TV screen and didn't like it. I took a second photo he looked at the picture on the camera's mini TV screen and happily said
I really like the photo, thank you for taking that photo of me.
I asked another person to take a photo of me in the same place but he didn't know how to use my EOS 3 camera and took a photo of Concorde with me a bit blurry . doh.
Me next to my Concorde in Concorde lounge.
On the tannoy we heard in a male English accent
Good evening ladies and gentlemen this announcement is for passengers travelling on British Airways Concorde flight BA001, this flight will shortly be ready for boarding.
Passengers who wish to take photographs during the processing of Concorde may come to forward to the errr boarding gate please, we just remind you that we will boarding shortly thank you.
When we heard this the atmosphere in the lounge felt like it had gone up another and started to get more exciting and vibrant, people where in a happier mood and where laughing and talking more to each other more as we where all excited looking forward to the flight.
On the tannoy Captain Andy Mills said the following
Good evening this is Captain Andy Mills it is my privilege to be flying you to New York this evening on Concorde, for the last time err in my case .
The weather this evening is err ok it's errrm perhaps quite good, the weather in New York is errrm strong winds from south west and partially cloudy with the odd shower in the evening.
Flight time is 3 hrs and 34 minutes quite long flight today
Thee crew with me today Senior First Officer James Bedforth, Senior Engineering officer Peter Carrigan and in the cabin senior cabin crew member is Andrιa Larta so we errr look forward to welcoming you a board shortly thank you for your attention.
I tried to find a set of spare set of AA batteries for my camera, I suddenly realised that I'd left a brand new set of 24 AA batteries in my clothes bag and not in my camera bag, the clothes bag was already loaded aboard my flight so there was no way I could get that back just to get my batteries doh.
I knew the EOS 3's current batteries where running low, so no matter what happened I had to get a new set of AA batteries for the flight as it would have looked really stupid if I went on the flight and run out of battery power half way across the Atlantic on my once in a life time flight.
I asked the British Airways press officer
Can I get the a set of AA batteries for my camera ?
In a slightly concerned voice she replied
Fine but you have 5 minutes to come back or you will miss the flight.
I didn't need to be told twice I legged it (ran) out of the Concorde lounge as fast as I could (I was surprised I didn't nicked by Heathrow Police's speeeeeeeeeeeed camera for running so fast).
I wanted to find Superdrug, Boots, Sainsbury or Tesco's as they sell cheap ³ good value' items but instead I found Dixons and HMV.
Dixons prices where rather high so I ran to HMV however they didn't have the batteries so I ran back to Dixons and raced to the back of the shop, found the AA batteries for the EOS 3 and bought 2 packs (4 Duracell AAs) and got 1 pack for free (which I thought was great value).
Actual batteries I got from Dixons and which flew with me on Concorde.
Receipt for my batteries
The guy at the counter recognised who I was and said good luck, I said thanks, I didn't have time to chat I looked at my watch and I knew had to get back very rapidly so I ran back to the lounge as fast as I could and was sweating when I got back to the lounge.
While I raced to get a spare set of batteries for the EOS 3 my crew (Captain Andy Mills, Co pilot - James Bedforth, SEO Peter Carrigan) and cabin staff had already boarded G-BOAD ready for our flight.
On the flight deck
6.02pm Captain Andy Mills was sitting in the Captain's seat he contacted Heathrow ATC.
Captain Andy Mills
This is Speedbird Concorde one.
Speedbird one go
Captain Andy Mills
In half hour we'll be ready to be pulled.
And we'll be out to watch you depart as a matter of fact.
Captain Andy Mills
Very good and I'll try and wave good bye as we go past.
Understandable while your there.
Captain Andy Mills
Its err far useful . Roger..
Speedbird one back alpha sorry I forgot your plan it was right in front of me all the time, an a three two one Q and H is one zero one zero on stand one Oh four, confirm ?.
Captain Andy Mills
Confirmed one oh four zero near as possible.
Thank you, Thee studio Manchester Woburn two Foxtrot corpiouse sector three zero three ..
Captain Andy Mills
Studio Manchester Woburn two Foxtrot corpiouse sector three zero three confirmed..
One seven zero V correct, for push back clearance ground one two one desperado
In the Concorde Lounge
I got back just in time to the Concorde lounge to hear a male voice on the tannoy say
BA001 to JFK is now ready for boarding, we shall be boarding the flight by seat rows this evening so passengers seated in rows 5 to 10 please make their way to boarding at the far end of the lounge.
On behalf of British Airways may I take this opportunity to wish you a very pleasant and fabulous journey.
I don't know why they didn't announce :- Would passengers in rows 1 – 5 please make their way to boarding at the far end of the lounge, they just said the above which to me didn't sound logical.
I watched the first set of passengers starting to leave and board the plane, phew I got there just in time I was a bit out of breath, hot and had small beads of sweat forming on my forehead but I got here just back in time and that's all that mattered to me.
On Concorde British Airways had a procedure where they boarded passengers buy calling for passengers in row 1 to say 15 to board first, once they had boarded they called for the rest of us to board.
I was lucky that Heathrow had a place where they sell batteries, If I had not got the spare batteries I know the EOS 3 would have run out of battery power ¼ of the way in to my flight so I had to get them.
After I got back I went to the men's room for one final time, Then got all my stuff together and made sure I had every thing with me including my passport, ticket, EOS 3 camera, BBC camcorder etc.
Then I calmly and patiently waited for my row to be called, while this was happening I took photos of the Concorde lounge from 4-5 view points, but forgot to take photos of Andrew and the BBC film crew and British Airway's press officer.
Views of Concorde Lounge looking towards windows
Views of the Concorde Lounge.
On the tannoy I heard
Final call for all passengers travelling through the gate at far end of the lounge.
When I heard this I thought :- right this is it, my heart started to beat faster and faster, I started to feel numb.
I wanted to get my bags and go as fast as I could towards Concorde, I couldn't wait to get on her, I just couldn't wait I was so excited but Andrew said
Jet wait until every one has gone through the departure check-in as we want to film the last moments of you checking in before you board Concorde.
I happily replied
Fine I don't mind J
While people where boarding Concorde Andrew explained what he wanted to do, I said
Ok no worries J
And we all patiently waited.
As all the passengers boarded Concorde, the lounge became very quite as all the laughter and happiness of people was now on Concorde and not in the Concorde lounge.
While we waited for the last passengers to board Concorde I wanted to thank the staff in the Concorde lounge for all the support they gave us, so I said
Thank you for all your help.
I wasn't being arrogant by saying this but these guys had made me feel as welcome and as comfortable as I could be and I felt I had to thank them for doing this for me.
The staff all smiled and happily replied
Your welcome and enjoy the flight.
I couldn't wait to get on Concorde but I kept my cool and acted like the Fonz from Happy Days J
When the last passengers had left the departure desk, we got the signal from the British Airway's Press officer to start walking towards the departure desk.
Departure desk in Concorde lounge
As I started to walk to the departure desk Andrew and the BBC camera man where a few feet behind following and filming me. As I walked towards the desk my eyes and ears could hear and see what was going on, but my mind and soul didn't believe I was here.
I felt like I was day dreaming and I'd wake up to find my self standing next to runway 27R waiting for Concorde to take off I didn't feel like I was actually in the Concorde lounge waiting to board Concorde.
On my way to the departures desk I saw a few Sunday Express Concorde magazines, I asked British Airways press officer
Can I have them ?
She happily replied
Yes take as many as you want J
Right to me that was green light and a grabbed 3-4 very rapidly and put them in the BBC's camcorder camera bag.
When I did this every one suddenly cracked up laughing but I didn't care as I let the celebrations magazines go but the Sunday Express Concorde magazines where not gonna get away from me . Oh no they where not J
I saw the funny side of all this as well so while I was taking the magazines I cracked up and laughed with them, it was one of those innocent and funny moments of laughter which just happens out of the blue, but its some thing special which you remember.
The Sunday Express Concorde magazines
I took before my flight.
My heart started to beat faster and faster as I was excited to be finally being allowed on her, but I also knew how hard every one had worked to get me on the flight so I didn't want to muck things up, I didn't want to let any one down, I didn't want to make a wally out of my self so I tried to play it cool.
The out side of me was cool, calm and collected but on the inside my heart and soul was jumping up and down with joy and happiness but I knew I could not show this as every one would think I was a nut case when I wasn't, I was just enthusiastic and very very very happy to be on her.
As I slowly walked towards the departure desk, the BBC filmed me 3-4 times at different angles which included
· Me walking down a short corridor to the departure desk, handing my ticket and passport to the departure clerks.
· The departure clerks then handing it back to me etc with my boarding pass.
Andrew filmed many of these over 3 times as he wanted to get the right shot, but I didn't care as I had a smile on my face as wide as the sun, on the four and final time the Andrew Winstanley said
Fine and cut.
While the BBC where filming me all the British Airways Concorde lounge staff came in to the departure desk area, it felt brilliant, I felt like I was some one ³ special ³, I felt like I was a ³ some body ³ instead of being a ³no body³ which I am because through no fault of my own I haven't had a full time .I.T. work in over 2 ½ years.
At the departure desk I felt really really good, I felt really really happy and content with life, I felt at peace with my self, I also felt humble as to how I had got here.
On the forth and final time when Andrew said
Fine and cut.
I definitely knew I was on my way to see Concorde as now there was no turning back, no one could stop me from living the dream of flying on Concorde.
I shook Andrew's hand, his TV camera man's hand and the British Airways press officer's hand, I wanted to kiss her hand but I didn't because I didn't want her to knee me where hurts so I played it cool and I said
Thank you for all the help you've given me during the course of today.
I wanted to thank all the British Airways staff standing at the departure desk and I happily
Thank you for all the help you have given me as you have all made it a very very special day for me.
Every one smiled at me.
My boarding pass was given to me
My Concorde boarding pass.
Once I had this in my hand the tension of all my happiness built up, I tried to play it cool but it was no use, my heart started beating faster and faster, I felt like a volcano ready to explode with happiness and utter joy.
In front of every one with my camera bags next to me, with my ³ Concorde ³ boarding pass in my hands I did a gazza (Paul Gascogoin in a 1990's world cup), I went on my knees, put my arms in the air, I exploded, I erupted with utter joy and happiness.
In loud high pitched voice as in the film Harry met sally I said
Yes yes yes
Me saying yes yes yes.
Every one started giggling and laughing at me in a happy way, I didn't care what people thought of me, As I was happier then I have ever been and I could not help how I felt and I automatically showed the world how happy I was, I was utterly joyful yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
I could not help my self from feeling so so so happy.
When I got off my knees and stood up I happily said to every one
I'm sorry if I made a wally of my self but could not help it as flying Concorde was a life long dream which I was going to live.
They all just smiled and I guess they understood how I really felt about her.
Then it was time go before I left the departure desk I again said
Thank you to all of you for making this happen and for making this a very special day.
Andrew Winstanley, the BBC camera man and the British Airways Press officer all happily said
Good luck and enjoy the flight.
Then I slowly walked through the magic doors behind the departure desk and slowly but triumphantly started to walk down the grey corridor which lead to Concorde's front door.
In my right hand I carried my trusty EOS 3 camera in its bag and in my left hand I carried the BBC camcorder in its bag :-
The corridor to heaven (Concorde).
While I was walking down the corridor it was very quite and for the first time in weeks I was completely and totally alone as no one else was in that corridor, Apart from still being extremely happy for the next 2-3 minutes I didn't really feel any thing.
As I took each step I got closer and closer to the end of the corridor and I knew that in next number of steps I would be steeping aboard Concorde, I knew that every single step I now took would get me closer and closer to the dream, this made me feel even more excited about the coming flight and excited in the knowledge that a life long dream and love would soon be finally realised and full filled.
I just couldn't wait to get on her, I just couldn't wait but I didn't run. I calmly walked to Concorde in a dignified and adult manner as I didn't want to step on to her all hot and sweaty, I wanted to step on to her dressed to impress in a cool calm and very collected mood, I wanted to video my self going down the corridor and boarding the plane but I didn't know how to use the camcorder and figured I could play with it on my flight as my main aim was to get Concorde and walk through her magic door and in to the land of dreams.