I was just thinking about the Concorde fleet of supersonic, luxury jets that ferried moguls, industrialists and well, Naomi Campbell, across the pond in half the time of a 747.
Whatever happened to the Concorde? Granted their cost model wasn’t exactly profitable, but to have traveled by Concorde was a prestigious distinction that the vast majority of air commuters would never experience.
Surely in these days of multi-tasking, brand building and social networking, there is a new generation of time-is-money mongers only too willing to pay for the privilege of traveling in supersonic, mach-2 style? Maybe Richard Branson should focus his efforts less on inter-galactic commercial travel and more on pond crossing – view of the curvature of the earth included in the cost of a ticket.
A few fun facts about the Concorde:
- Two Concordes made simultaneous maiden passenger voyages on January 21, 1976 on two different routes – the London-Bahrain route and the Paris-Rio route
- The fastest Atlantic crossing by a Concorde was 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds – the average flight took under 3.5 hours
- The Concorde traveled at Mach 2, which means 2-times the speed of sound – the equivalent of 1350 mph
- The Concorde flew at an altitude of 60,000 feet
- The cabin was silent since the Concorde flew faster than the sound of its engines
- A ticket cost on the Concorde in 1979 was $1700 (the equivalent of nearly $6000 in today’s terms) vs $243 for a ticket on a 747
- The Concorde had four Rolls Royce engines, each capable of 38,000 lbs of thrust
- The Concorde capacity was 100 passengers and included two pilots, a flight engineer and a six-person cabin crew
- A NYC-bound Concorde flight carrying celebrities (including the always dapper Graham Norton) attending Liza Minelli’s wedding had to abort take-off due to
pre-mature (engine) acceleration
- The Concorde was forbidden to fly at full speed across the US because of the sonic booms, which could be heard for 30 miles
- The Concorde never earned a profit
- In 1977, the Concorde operated under two major airlines, and was thus painted with the BA logo on one side and the Singapore Airlines logo on the other
- The passenger experience was cramped with low ceilings and minimal leg-room. The bathroom to passenger ratio was not a bonus, though fresh flowers were always present in the lavatories; meals were served on specially-manufactured Wedgewood China.
- The final commercial flight from NYC to London took place October 24, 2003