Presumably for the BA100 celebrations, back in June 2019, British Airways scheduled its Boeing 747 aircraft on three domestic routes to Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow. When the AvGeek community caught wind of this, tickets on these flights sold out within a matter of hours. Understandably, when the aircraft was later changed to the more standard shorthaul Airbus fleet, this caused a great deal of disappointment to those who had booked tickets on these flights.
For the RIAT airshow in July 2019, British Airways sent their BA100 BOAC retro liveried 747 for a flypast with the Red Arrows display team for a flypast. I think you can see what I’m getting at here…
The airline would have clearly known the interest in taking a 747 flight, so why not sell seats for the flypast?
They could have easily sold a whole 747’s worth of tickets on this flight, seeing as this wasn’t your standard domestic flight. How many people can say they’ve been a part of a flypast with the Red Arrows? Scheduling wouldn’t have been an issue – the plane arrived from Riyadh at 06:05 that morning, and wasn’t scheduled to depart to Washington until 17:10 that evening.
Therefore there was plenty of time to fit it in as a normal flight. Maybe they were concerned that people might not show up and delay the flight? Well, there wouldn’t have been any baggage to worry about, so simply have a firm departure time and once the doors are closed, that’s that. Like any other flight really.
Perhaps there are performance issues? Flying a fully loaded 747 at 500ft could prove troublesome for ops, but the aircraft has more than enough power to compensate.
I can’t believe that not a single person at BA management thought of this idea, so I suspect it would have likely come down to cost, or more likely health and safety. Who knows.
Either way, despite not being there personally, the pictures I’ve seen online from the event look pretty spectacular. Here’s to hoping the airline does something for their 100th birthday. They have been heavily publicising it for the year with the BA100 branding seemingly everywhere. Other than just a couple of sales, which from experience have taken place at the same time every other year anyway.