Nostalgia corner – 40 years of BA First Class and Life at Heathrow in 1964

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I spent two days at a Loyalty Fraud conference this week (and a day at World Travel Market) so today you are getting a bit of ‘filler’.  However, in terms of filler, this is pretty cool.

If you have 9 minutes to spare today, this video is well worth a watch:

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It shows you what life was like at Heathrow back in 1964 ….

The world really has moved on in the last 50 years!

This old article from the Daily Mail is also worth a read – a series of photographs showing how First Class travel on British Airways has changed over the last 40 years.

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  1. It’s not the first time you’ve published this filler piece but I’m glad you’ve done so, the video of early Heathrow is great so it’s nice to give it a wider audience.

    Any idea when did people stop referring to Heathrow as ‘London Airport’?

    Funny that the Daily Mail article from 2014 said BA First passengers expected WiFi when in 2014 no BA aircraft had WiFi and very few do even to this day. The picture from 1989 is amusing – looks like a funeral parlour. Perhaps that’s what they’re trying to recreate in the CCR now!

    • Have to disagree it was never a funeral parlour it really was a stunningly comfortable and very exclusive environment and the service was exceptional. The crew were highly trained and BA industry leaders. No longer sadly

    • First time I’ve bothered to watch it however. Things certainly are different now!

  2. I remember those 2×2 seat and the video unit with tapes. At the time it was state of the art, very comfortable and the epitome of style. The seats however were never purple they were dark blue and BA boasted that the changed the carpet every 12weeks. It was fine dining with Chateux Talbot regulars on the wine list and the crew could make cocktails.
    Today’s first may be more technologically advanced by it has little style or panache. And fine dining it is not!

  3. Thanks for these links Rob – brought back memories! I’m of an age where I can not only remember the Heathrow of the mid-to-late sixties, but also BOAC’s first class on trans-Atlantic flights to the USA and Caribbean. Back then flying was definitely glamorous and even economy travel was tolerable!

  4. bigglesgirl says:

    I watched some fantastic 15min short films on the well hidden BA TV channel when I last flew a few week ago….well worth watching

  5. bigglesgirl says:

    I watched some fantastic 15min short films on the well hidden BA TV channel when I last flew a few week ago….well worth watching and so interesting too.

  6. “In a few years time, it wont be able to cope with the number of flights”…..so remind me, what’s been done in the past 53 years to increase capacity…The world really hasnt moved on in the last 50 years!

    Vote Boris Island!!!

  7. More interested in the slides from the Travel Fraud conference.

  8. Aleksey Solzhenitsyn says:

    Moved on?

    Stagnated and even regressed in some ways are the terms I think you are reaching for.

    Trained nurses and full-scale nurseries to look after the children? As an added bonus, the nurses weren’t obese either. Fresh food made by people, not machines and sprayed with nitrates to make it last for months in cold storage. No necessity for invasive security measures or paramilitary police. Peaked caps and sharp cotton uniforms instead of polyester fleeces and high-vis.

    My my, “progress” in action. How things have changed.

    • Not the same security, but:

      There was always a chance of a surprise visit by the PLO, or a holiday in Cuba, or even someone wanting to claim on their wife’s life insurance!

      That was the reality, but so was the lack of relatively useless knee-jerk reactions which are an inevitable part of today’s culture.

  9. Thanks Rob, these videos are gems *thumbs up*

  10. “Heathrow is known the world over as the pilot’s ideal of what an airport should be” !

  11. This might be of interest while we are looking back! We don’t wear jackets and ties now:-)


  12. In 1963, at 21, I got my first serious job after messing around for a few years..(My dad gave me a stern talking to).I couldn’t believe it when within a very few weeks I was sent to the US HQ. I don’t remember a lot about it, a bus journey somewhere to London airport, bussed out to what seemed a massive plane, got on board and had to turn right ! Loads of cigarette smoke, and I settled down with reading material that the company insisted I digest before the first meeting. I don’t recall any security whatsoever but I do recall a nice tray with lunch and no problem with drinks. And so started a long affair with 42 years spent flying the world. When I look back, the number of airlines, big and small, that have disappeared, particularly in the US is really sad as some of them offered a great personal service…. I guess it all really started to change when American introduced the first loyalty program, and the skies were opened up to one and all creating numerous competition. I have had many highlights and sadly, lowlights, but, I have always got to where I was going and returned home safely , thanks in part to each and every carrier I have flown….and believe me, some of my trips around Africa and ‘Russia’ left a lot to be desired, (I don’t think BA would allow live chickens on board !) Happy and safe travels one and all.

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