Trip report: Concorde Museum in Barbados BGI airport

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Barbados Concorde Experience British Air Renes Points blog review (1)

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I have very few regrets in my life but missing my chance to fly the Concorde is a big one. Yes, it was VERY expensive but before they ended operations they offered some discounted flights and I still kick myself for not taking a flight. After all, how many people on the planet have flown faster than a “speeding bullet”!

Barbados Concorde Experience British Air Renes Points blog review (2)

But I had another regret and that was missing my chance to see the most flight worthy Concorde on the planet when my NCL cruise ship that was scheduled to go to Barbados left port with a broken engine and we could not make it. This week in Barbados afforded me the time to go for a proper visit.

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And I am so happy I did. The museum is walking distance from the main entrance to the airport. Unfortunately, if you are flying Delta in just for a mileage run, you will not have time to visit and catch your return flight. You would need to spend a day.

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The tour begins with a light and audio presentation superimposed onto the aircraft. It is a neat way to get a quick overview of the Concorde. I will keep my descriptions of the tour and facts to a minimum and rather share impressions so you too can enjoy the visit as I did.

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We boarded in the rear of the aircraft getting a neat and close up view of the afterburners and the gorgeous delta wing of the Concorde.

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Once inside I have to say the seats were what I expected. The Concorde, for all its impressive technology, is a very tiny aircraft.

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The seats are not much bigger than a modern regional jet. Then again, you were not paying for a huge seat, you are were paying for speed and luxury.

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They have done a great job of mocking up examples of the first class dining on the short flights from England to the USA and to Barbados that BA flew.

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The cockpit is walled off with plastic but it was still neat to at least glimpse the flight deck.

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After the tour we had a chance to enjoy the first class “lounge” area with an amazing collection of all things Concorde including some of the uniforms. Since I am almost 50 the 70’s & 80’s just don’t seem that long ago!

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I truly enjoyed my visit to the museum and if you are an AVgeek like me, and are planning on visiting Barbados, please take the time to enjoy this treasure of aviation history. Also be sure to walk upstairs as there is a viewing area of the airport and you can go outside and watch planes takeoff and land! – René

 

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3 comments

  1. Rene, I did fly Concorde (we always omit the “the”) and it helped determine my market value, since a client wanted me to speak at a conference so badly, they footed the $15K ticket plus my daily fee just to speak for an hour!

    The London outbound was most spectacular since you must fly over land (Ireland) at sub-sonic speeds. Then the pilot announced there would be a few minutes of silence while they raised the nose and fired up the afterburners. We “hung” there before suddenly racing to the heavens like the proverbial bat out of hell. The Machometer and Altimeter on the bulkhead announced our rise to 65,000′ and Mach 1.7. The captain even signed certificates detailing our flight. At the Concorde lounge gift shop, I bought a model plane, a sterling silver pen and lapel pin, and key fobs for the family.

    Since the seats were no larger than an office chair and there was no IFE, the only thing we could do for the 3-hour romp from Heathrow to NYC was eat. Each of the three cabins had a butler with a picnic basket who continuously brought us food and wine. Unopened Concorde champagne (brand name not the grape variety) were handed out at deplaning.

    As we sped along, the plane grew 10′ from friction, providing additional legroom (LOL). Through the small windows (they get very hot), you could see the blackness of space and the curvature of the earth.

    Several fellow passengers carried handcuffed briefcases which i assumed contained securities or diamonds. One very famous media mogul and staff occupied the first couple of rows. My seat mate was Carl Lewis (fastest man alive at the time).

    Downsides were few but significant. When connecting to Concorde in Heathrow from another BA flight (from Brussels, I think), I was escorted on foot for what felt like 100 miles of concourse. My connection in JFK to DTW had me pushing my luggage in a shopping cart along the airport service road to the NWA terminal.

    I vowed that if I ever got rich, I would fly again with my wife to dinner in Paris and theater in London. Well, I have failed on both accounts – Concorde no longer flies and I am still poor. I hear they may refurbish a few of them for charter flights, so you may still have a chance for that flight you will never forget!

  2. I also failed to fly on the Concorde, so I vowed when I heard that Delta was phasing out the B747 I wouldn’t miss another iconic airplane, I scheduled a Viking River Cruise through China just because Delta flew the B747 there last year, I had to cancel that trip after a stroke last year 2 months before the flight, but was able to reschedule the trip this year DTW-NRT First class upper deck, and found a Celebrity cruise from Japan to Honk Kong, so I scheduled a flight from HKG-ICN (Korean Air economy since we couldn’t get two sky miles tickets in First Class), and ICN-DTW with Delta First Class upper deck. People who aren’t AVGEEKS don’t understand scheduling a trip around an airplane, but luckily I’m married to a man who is also an AVGEEK, and we’ve enjoyed this trip immensely; I’ve been to a part of the world that wasn’t even near the top of my list because of an airplane and I’ve loved it.

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