The End of an Era

... or Perhaps Two
May 30, 2003

We had always planned on someday flying on the Concorde, and now it's about to retire. Actually, Air France's last flight is tomorrow, but British Air is continuing into October.

Some years ago I had read that there were about nine years remaining, because of course they're no longer making parts. Then, when they were grounded after the crash, I feared it was all over. When they started again, I relaxed, but I guess the high rollers who used to fly it, and still have wealth, now have their own jets and can come and go whenever they want—the schedule isn't as suitable to business on both sides of the Atlantic as it used to be. Also they have less hassle with security. I'd read that the load factor was down to 20% before they decided to throw in the towel(s). Of course, the service never even broke even, but I guess France and England finally figured it was too expensive to keep flying just to demonstrate to the world their advanced technology capability.

The decline in tourism is also still affecting the QE2, so we've found that we can cross on the QE2 and return on the Concorde for less than half price. The QE2's last crossing is next year, with the new Queen Mary 2 (QM2) taking over that route. The QE2 will continue to serve the British cruise market, but this is probably our last crossing on her. (Our first was on our return from Frankfurt in 1991; see Das Ende.)

© Copyright 2003 Jack Ludwick - All Rights Reserved