Following the merging of Boac and British European Airways in 1974, British Airways was formed. This episode charts the early years including the advent of Concorde and luxury flight in the truest sense of the word. We hear from flight and cabin crew who served on these flights and get a sense of what it was like to fly in this glamorous world. We feature unseen footage from the BA archives including staff training films as well as historical archive that depicts a world far removed from the no frills travel we experience today. We discover how British Airways rode out the hard times of the 1970’s and 80’s as passenger numbers declined by offering unique services (including a fight you could purchase a ticket for on board) as well as introducing ground breaking advertising campaigns.
The ad men behind the campaigns give us the inside story of how these campaigns came about and how they convinced BA to bank roll the world’s most expensive advert. We also uncover how BA coped with challengers to its crown as the nation’s flag carrier as well as more recent threats from the low-cost airlines. The episode also covers how British Airways inadvertently found itself in the midst of the first gulf war as a BA 747 landed at Kuwait airport the very moment the airport was surrounded by invading Iraqi tanks. We hear from passengers on board and staff back in the UK who reveal the terrifying true story of how hostages became human shields.
The episode concludes with the turbulent recent years of the airline. How the double tragedy of the Air France crash and 9/11 spelled the end of Concorde and how the carriers new home of terminal 5 had to deal with an abortive take off of sorts, as the state of the art baggage system collapsed only hours after opening in 2008.