To paraphrase rapper-stroke-musician Tinie Tempah and his 2010 hit song Pass Out: ‘I’m annoyed I never got to fly Concorde.’
As a keen global traveller, I have grown up in adulthood on a diet of short, cheap budget flights and economy long-haul.
The latter can make you feel broken and battered if you’re on it long enough.
While standing in the queue a budget airline recently watching worried people stuff their suitcases comically into those metal measuring devices, I said to my fiancé Danielle – ‘oh, the magic and glamour of flying’.
Futuristic history: Concorde was a piece of aviation magic – and I am envious of anyone who was lucky enough to travel on it
These days, most of our flying experiences see us treat airplanes like buses in the sky.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a cheap return flight to Europe, mainly because it costs less than a return train ticket that doesn’t go far in Britain and it has opened up the world to eager explorers like a juicy watermelon.
However, I have found myself lately pining after a more luxe way of travelling (if only my budget could stretch).
Then, recently, I was television channel hopping when a documentary about Concorde popped up and I couldn’t switch it off.
I was still at school when they went out of service in 2003. It’s a crying shame that such a technologically advanced transportation system – proudly designed and manufactured between Britain and France – is no longer around.
There are not many industries that have gone backwards or stood still the way the airline industry has.
Proud: The Concorde documentary on Channel Five featured staff such as pilot Jock – their passion for the plane is capitvating
It feels like something of the future, not the past, to say you could fly London to New York in three hours.
And now British Airways, who along with Air France ran Concorde services, announced this week it is to fight back against the low-cost carriers such as Norwegian and Wow Air with super-cheap no-frills fares from next month.
The plan includes paying extra for stowed luggage and seat reservation.
Furthermore, it is shrinking seats on long-haul by around 10 per cent.
BA used to ooze elegance and class. To fly, to serve. But it’s gone from running Concorde to battling airlines that offer the chance to fly across the Atlantic for peanuts squeezing us into shrinking seats.
Our national airline is transitioning into a budget airline.
Tinie Tempah: His lyrics about not ever being able to fly Concorde may strike a chord with younger people
The Concorde documentary, aired on Channel Five, is well worth a watch.
I have always been fascinated with planes, growing up close to an airport which houses a Vulcan bomber and it was an intriguing snapshot of futuristic history.
Luckily for my fiancee, she has first-hand memories of the supersonic passenger airliner: Danielle flew on Concorde six times when she was younger to and from Barbados for Christmas holidays.
A similar age to me, she must now be one of the youngest passengers to be able to recall that incredible experience – a far cry from stuffing your bag into a measuring device and being dished up a soggy cheese toastie on board.
WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF CONCORDE?
Did you fly Concorde when it was in action between 1976 and 2003?
Or perhaps you were part of the crew or an engineer.
Let us know your experiences in the comments box below.
She has vivid memories of getting on the Concorde for the first time.
Her parents dressed her up in a matching royal blue two piece for the occasion in the early 90s.
She told me: ‘I was only young and I look back and feel so privileged to be part of a time when flying was truly a magical experience.
‘It took off like a fighter jet and was smooth when cruising.
‘I remember being told that we were flying faster than the speed of sound and it is something that will always live with me.
‘It was a time capsule to sunnier climes.
‘The service on board was impeccable and nothing was too much trouble to the staff.
‘All the adults quaffed champagne and I remember the delectable food – a far cry to what is offered on most long-haul flights today.
All aboard: Danielle in her matching two piece with her parents and brother on one such trip on Concorde
‘It was the finest linen and sterling silver cutlery all the way. We were each given a special gift and I specifically remember the Wedgewood plate that matched my outfit!
‘I guess at the time I probably would have preferred a colouring-in book but to this day I still have my giftset along with my certificate safely tucked away.
‘I would love to be able to do it all again.’
Booklet: The Concorde guide given on flights is fascinating to read with all of the vital statistics
Danielle’s parents have kept the Concorde information booklet handed out on the flights.
The introduction reads: ‘British Airways Concorde is the supreme expression of aeronautical excellence and the ultimate time management resource in today’s world.’
The last page, titled ‘the future’ reads: ‘As we approach and enter the new Millennium, Concorde will continue to reign supreme, not only as the fastest civil aircraft in the skies, but also as the pre-eminent time management tool for the international traveller.
‘In an era when the contours of the world map are changing and high-technology is taken for granted, Concorde remains the indispensable link between Europe and North America.
‘Concorde’s continuing success is assured.’
The future: The back page of the guide has a piece about the future – but little did the team behind Concorde know that it would soon be out of service
The Concorde was grounded over safety fears after the Paris crash in 2000 and BA has previously said that the ‘technical and safety challenges’ mean it is unlikely to return.
But surely with improving technology and fuel consumption, air travel could go back in time and head to the future?
Yes, it was an incredibly expensive way to fly – but time is money as they say and the Concorde is a mystical beautiful beast that many, who have never been fortunate enough to fly on it, would love to see take to the skies once more.