We once flew the Atlantic with a carrier that no longer exists, surprisingly. It had one ratty old 747, ex-JAL, signs still in Japanese. As it landed and taxied, flakes of the white paint covering the JAL logo flaked off. It couldn't make it across in one go, so we had a fascinating refuelling stop at St.John's, Newfoundland, though it was a bit off-putting to hear the captain shout down from the top of the steps, "How much have you put in?" The answer was some large-sounding number; the captain's response was "Oh, was that gallons or litres?"
Coming back took 36 hours, with a visit to Shannon, where a diverted Aeroflot plane's passengers nearly started World War III when they tried to steal the food that had been laid on for us. They finished up our left-overs when we went off to buy Irish linen.
A walk through old Indochina
I was in Vientiane [capital of Laos] 10 years ago when it was still quite communist. My wonderful overriding memory, though, was of my wife and I standing in the main square doing aerobic exercises to martial music from a loudspeaker among thousands of people – brilliant!
I remember Concorde being flight tested in South Africa in the mid-1970s. Our school teacher used to check the flight-testing times from Jan Smuts airport and then we were all allowed on to the sports field to watch it fly over.
Concorde's demise was one of the biggest losses in aviation history. Those able to pay the fare flew LHR-JFK and back in a day, leaving Heathrow at breakfast and home in time for dinner! How fabulous is that?
Concorde was a massive waste of money. Passengers were wealthy elite and it delivered very little to the ordinary folk who unwittingly funded the whole fiasco.