I love airplanes, I always have, for me the 747 is just something special. So when I saw an opportunity to spend a day visiting a now retired British Airways 747 I just could not resist booking a place.
Getting the opportunity to say a proper farewell to my favourite aircraft was a brilliant way to spend a day and something I would like to share with you.
So on Saturday 24th July 2021 we woke up early and took the short drive along the M25 to Dunsfold Airport (also the home of the Top Gear track).
The British Airways 747 history has spanned 50 years of service, with the first 747 entering service with British Airways in April 1970.
British Airways sadly retired all of the remaining 747s in 2020 with the pandemic bringing forward retirement in favour of lower costing and more fuel efficient aircraft.
After British Airways stated the aircraft was due to be scrapped, a campaign was launched to save it. After the campaign went viral the aircraft is now being preserved and will be an exhibit for the public!
Since entering service in 1993 the British Airways 747-400 we visited has completed 14,016 flights covering over 60 millions miles and flown for over 122,358 hours. She has the registration number of G-BNLY.
The aircraft proudly wears the Landor livery, in celebration of British Airways 100th birthday celebrations in 2019. Two other BA 747 aircrafts were adorned with the retro liveries – BOAC and Negus (G-CIVB). The Negus plane has also been given a permanent home – at Cotswold Airport.
Landor is located at Dunsfold Airport which is home to two further 747s:
- G-CIVW : Another former British Airways aircraft which will used as a film prop. Her final passenger flight was on March 28th 2020 from Boston to London Heathrow and arrived at Dunsfold in October 2020
- G-BDXJ – A former British Airways aircraft which arrived in Dunsfold in 2005. It has since been used for television and film including in Casino Royale and Top Gear. Whilst Landor has been only ever used by British Airways, G-BDXJ was sold to European Aviation Air Charter and used for charter flights.
As well as the Landor livery, the Royal Mail logo and ‘City of Swansea’ adorn the exterior of the aircraft.
It was great to get up close to the aircraft and see the detail of the plane that we would otherwise miss. From the tyres to the marks the de-icing liquid has left as well as seeing the 4 Rolls Royce engines we spent a long time marvelling at the Landor.
The event allowed all ticket holders to access all areas of the aircraft including areas that are often out of bounds to passengers.
From the 14 First Class seats including seats 1A and 1K at the front of the plane through to Club World, premium economy and economy classes it was great to be back on an airplane. Also on the ground floor is the location of the crew rest area which was great to visit. There are 8 bunks located up a little stairwell located to the rear of the aircraft.
We were incredibly excited to take the staircase up to reach the upper deck. This is where a large galley, Club World and of course the cock pit is located! Visiting the cockpit was a highlight and to see all the numerous switches that are required to operate the aircraft. Cabin crew and pilots were also present throughout the aircraft to share stories of operating the aircraft and share 747 memories.
Seeing the aircraft which has brought great memories and joy to thousands of people brought a big smile. Whilst it is sad to see the iconic British Airways 747’s retired, knowing that they are lovingly preserved brings hope.