Luxury Travel: Remembering the Concorde in All Its Glory

There are two aspects of the flying experience that people in the aviation industry are constantly working to improve. One is the time it takes to get from one location to another, as a faster flight means less time in the air and more hours to enjoy a vacation or conduct a business trip. The other is the quality of travel — people want a luxurious and comfortable experience.

Below we take a trip down memory lane to learn more about the famous Concorde aircraft.


Related: “Ultimate Travel Guide to Vietnam”


The history of the Concorde

The British Aircraft Corporation and Sud Aviation had a joint mission in the 1950s. They wanted to make it possible for people to travel between the United States and Europe in half the time it took through commercial air travel. The British and French air companies worked for several years on supersonic travel, which eventually led to the development and building of the Concorde aircraft. The first flight took off in March 1969, and the world of aviation was changed forever.

In many ways, the Concorde aircraft was the epitome of luxury travel in the second half of the 20th century. It was a unique plane that could transport passengers to a long-distance destination faster than a regular aircraft, all while providing a luxurious and bespoke travel experience. The reason private jet flights have become so popular in recent years is that people are seeking an elevated flying experience, especially for family vacations and attending commercial summits.

An average trip from New York to Paris lasts eight hours. While people are happy to sit on a plane in first class for eight hours at a time, they would probably prefer it if the duration of their flights were half of that.

Revisiting the heyday of Concorde’s popularity

The Concorde delivered a lot of what it had promised the general public. People were amazed that an aircraft could travel so high in the air so rapidly, covering the distance from New York to Paris in a little over three hours. New York to London was possible in four hours — a remarkable achievement for worldwide travel!

The Concorde was not only associated with speedy travelling but also with style. The aircraft was kitted out with plush seats that had ample legroom, a bar, and other amenities. Passengers were pampered while in transit, and it didn’t hurt that they would reach their destination in record time.

Even though the cost of taking a Concorde flight was a lot higher than travelling on regular planes, people were willing to bear the cost. An individual travelling to Europe for a few days knew that saving eight hours over a round trip was very convenient. It was also convenient for businesspeople whose companies did not mind paying for Concorde flights if it meant that they could get to a commercial summit or meeting quicker.

Demand slows

Even though it was very popular for several decades, the aircraft was eventually phased out. The Concorde was not the long-term revolution the airline industry had anticipated. Various factors played a part in the Concorde eventually losing popularity. The first was the cost, as people were no longer willing to pay the exorbitant amount. Though it had the advantage of shaving a few hours off a trip, it was a trip many were not taking very often in the first place. The general public became a lot more wary about flying on the Concorde, especially because there were cheaper alternatives (such as subsonic planes) available.

Airlines eventually gave up on the Concorde project, with the high fuel usage during flights also impacting the profitability of the venture. The last Concorde flight made its journey in November 2003.

Is there a future for the Concorde in 2023?

Concorde enthusiasts are constantly checking the news to see if there is hope for the aircraft to return in 2023 or after. While there is some interest in bringing back supersonic flights, the reality is that we are still many years away from the possibility of a worldwide return to such rapid flights.

Most engine manufacturers are not interested in developing power plants to help build the engines and related components that would be necessary for such planes. There would also be a challenge with the public’s perception of supersonic travel, given how much fuel it burns. People around the world may not take kindly to a form of flying that is even more environmentally damaging than modern aeroplanes.

For the foreseeable future, travelling by private charter does appear to be the most luxurious, safe and enjoyable way to get from one part of the world to another.