BA Concorde Cabin Crew & Stories
During the initial years of Concorde all the crews both flight deck and cabin crew were sourced from BOAC/Overseas Division of BA. Cabin crew originally came only from VC-10s or B707s and worked exclusively on Concorde. However in the eighties this changed and as far as cabin crew were concerned Concorde was a short haul aircraft and cabin crews were recruited from aircraft such as B757 and other aircraft.
Crew on Concorde at BA were either “Lifers” who were always on it or others who were interviewed and selected to fly it for a two or three year period. It was shorthaul fleet (believe it or not) and crew who flew it were also 757 and A320 crew! One day you could be on the Supersonic 002 from JFK and the next day you were doing a Manchester shuttle. The cabin Crew compliment for Concorde was 6 (CSD, PUR and 4 main crew)
It was very hot being cabin crew on Concorde, with the cramped galleys, one at rear and mid cabin, and doors baked in heat rather than being cold as on a normal aircraft, this was due to the speed and air friction caused by supersonic flight. Trip patterns were two days long for a JFK return with 24 hours there. The weekly Barbados BGI on Saturdays meant the crews either positioned out or back on 777 from LGW and operated the other way.
Crews wore hats and silver Concorde badges that other cabin crews didn’t; this made them stand out from crews on the rest of the BA fleet. The charters flights were fun for the crews, when they went somewhere different and off network where crew were treated like celebrities signing autographs for people just because they were Concorde Cabin Crew
BA Concorde Cabin Crew Stories
MBA Concorde Stewardess Lorraine Longden
Lorraine took charge of her crew for the last time as she went supersonic on the day that Concorde made its final voyage.
Mrs Longden, of Wynbury Drive, High Wycombe, was picked to fly on a trip around the Bay of Biscay on one of the three planes that heralded the end for Britain’s flagship aircraft.
She said: “It was all very emotional and one of my crew couldn’t stop crying.
“I felt very proud that I was chosen to work that day and I was privileged to be part of something so special.
“But I feel very sad for the aircraft. It made aviation history and there’s nothing to take its place.”
Mrs Longden, 36, was the youngest cabin service director on Concorde for the five-and-a-half years she worked on it.
Before that she had studied travel and tourism at Amersham College and it was there that one of her tutors told her she would never get a job on an airline.
She said: “And now I’ve flown on the last Concorde.”
Mrs Longden’s first-ever trip on Concorde in 1998 was a visit to France to pick up the England football team after they had been knocked out of the World Cup.
She said: “That was great but the team were a bit low and we all had to be very careful what we said.”
Her husband Peter, 41, also worked for British Airways for 13 years and the two met when they were promoted at the same time.
Mr Longden and the couple’s three sons were all watching as the Concordes touched down for the final time on Friday afternoon.
He said: “It was a cracking day and very emotional. I went on the plane afterwards which was great.”
To mark the day, Mr Longden bought his wife a limited edition print of the Concorde and then had it signed by the flight crew from all three planes and by British Airways chief, Lord Marshall.
Peter Chadwick (BA Cabin Service Director, Concorde)
I joined BOAC in 1957, and flew on Concorde from 1976 to 1983 as a Cabin Service Officer, a title that was later changed to Cabin Service Director. I completed some 500 flights aboard Concorde, during which we carried many celebrities, film stars and fascinating people.
It was the era of Terry Wogan’s radio and television heyday, and the broadcaster was filming a series where he went off to experience other people’s jobs. One of these was to be an air steward aboard Concorde. British Airways told me I was to meet Terry at the Skyways Hotel and take him to our uniform section to be kitted out.
He was then to proceed to the Cabin Crew Training Centre, where he would be instructed in the rudiments of the Concorde cabin service. He was also to be trained in Air Sea Rescue. After this was completed, Terry was ready for his Concorde trip to Washington DC.
Our crew on the day, including Terry, consisted of seven people, and we had a pre-flight briefing before boarding Concorde. I took the briefing and asked Terry if he had any languages other than English. “Irish,” he replied. We discussed passenger numbers, special diets, possible VIPs on board and other flight details. I pointed out that there would be no eating, no drinking or sitting down during the flight, and that we must remain on duty at all times. The estimated flight time was three hours and 28 minutes.
We boarded Concorde and Terry was told he would be operating in the rear cabin with three other crew members. On this occasion, there were 57 passengers on board.
Terry greeted the passengers cheerfully as they boarded the aircraft, showed them to their seats, labelled their coats and took their drink orders. Some passengers seemed to recognise him and gave him a smile; others seemed to half-recognise him, but remained unsure. He served drinks and meals with great style and was an instant hit with passengers and crew.
In my final briefing before landing, I announced that Terry Wogan had been operating as an air steward on the flight and that the programme would be broadcast at a later date. A spontaneous round of applause broke out among the passengers. I thanked Terry for a job well done and despite him naming me ‘Mr Bossy Boots’, we had a lovely picture taken together in Concorde’s rear cabin after the passengers had disembarked.
Terry had a colleague with him that day monitoring events; a lovely lady named Helen Fry. The next day we all spent some time together and went to see the White House. We said our goodbyes and Terry and Helen flew back on a scheduled BA 747 flight.
We had an excellent crew on Concorde that day – as always – boosted by the presence of Terry, or rather, now Sir Terry Wogan.