How the Other Half Flew
Secrets from the Concorde Trolley
On Thursday I finally realised one of my lifetime dreams. I found myself on Concorde. Unfortunately it wasn't quite as I imagined it would be, we weren't going anywhere, but these days it's the best I could hope for. I grew up near one of the airfields where Concorde was built and consequently, as a child, was totally in awe of and fascinated by this most beautiful and innovative of aeroplanes. I dreamt that one day I would fly on it.
Sadly, this beauty no longer soars through the skies. But, the very last Concorde to have ever flown supersonically is now temporarily based at Filton Air Field, close to my mother's house, so we decided to take a tour and get up close for a look. Booking in advance is essential. Check out the Concorde at Filton website for more details. When we arrived at the car park to pick up the little tour bus we were amused by the age of all the other visitors. Let's just say I was the youngest, Fred was the second youngest and my mum was the third youngest. Seeing as I am almost 40, this was no mean feat!
The rumour has always been that Concorde is incredibly small inside. It's not exactly huge, it's true, but the £14,000-a-pair luxury leather seats are insanely comfortable and the amount of leg room available put United's Economy class to shame.
Every Concorde customer was First Class and the menu reflects that fact. I talked to one of the volunteer guides who explained to me that the food, albeit minimalist in style, was always beautifully presented. He told me each plate would be artistically adorned with little squiggles and dribbles of sauce, presumably assembled in what are the tiniest airplane galleys I have ever seen. I pushed our guide a little further with my questioning. When he exclaimed that the food was as good as in a five star hotel I cajoled him. "Oh, c'mon", I said, "It can't be, it's all kept warm or reheated. How can it be?" He was adamant, "No, no, no, I've eaten both on Concorde and in five star hotels, they are definitely comparable." Eventually he added "unless you are one of those people who are really fussy about their food". At that point I just nodded and laughed.
Each passenger would have their own white table linens and fine china. It's a class above what most of us are used to when it comes to airline travel.
The most incredible aspect of what we saw was the wine list. Take a look at this. It was exclusive to Concorde. How about a Pol Roger Cuvee de Winston Churchill 1986? A Chateau Smith Haute Lafite Grand Cru Classe Pessac Leognan 1994? Or maybe a Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Clos de la Mouchere Domaine Boillot 1993? The wines were all chosen by popular journalist and Wine Master Jancis Robinson. Don't imagine, however, that the whole cellar was available for every flight. Instead, they would choose a red, a white and a sparkler that would feature as the selection for the journey.
A feature of Concorde was that every bathroom contained a single red rose.
PS. I forgot to ask what the Concorde sick bags were like. If the food was as good as they claim, perhaps they never needed them...?
|Archive Alert! On this Saturday in 2004 I was having dinner at The Blue Plate with Brit friends Penny & Kevin. Kevin now lives in the UK again and I was out with him last night.|
Food | Concorde | Airline Food How the Other Half Flew