This week, instead of bringing you news or a review about a tag, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my flying history. Aviation has been a passion of mine for a great number of years now, but that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when railways ruled my world, that was until I went on my first holiday abroad.
I must have been about 8 or 9 at the time, as I distinctly remember telling everyone in my class I was going away for a proper summer holiday. The honour of my first ever flight fell to a certain Air 2000 Boeing 757-200 from Manchester to Heraklion. I definitely remember how colourful it looked, as back in the early 2000s, Air 2000 was still carrying its “Tapestry” livery, a multitude of white, green, blue, yellow and red.
I was nervous getting on a plane for the first time, but as soon as those delicious Rolls-Royce RB211 engines spooled up for take off and I was glued to the back of my seat, I was hooked. My family then took several consecutive trips to Crete, mainly flying on Monarch. The black and gold livery of G-SMAN and the sheer size of an aircraft like the A330 (at the time, the biggest thing I had flown on) converted me into a huge Airbus fan from a very young age. We also flew with Britannia and Excel a few times, B767-300ERs mainly but Excel did surprise us one day with the slightly shorter B767-200 variant.
My flying history since then has been somewhat sporadic... As I got older I never really had the time or money to go abroad. When I was about 20, I decided I would fly with British Airways to Heathrow. I still had the flying bug well and truly in me. If you were to look at my entire flight history from 2013 onwards, none of it would be deemed as very exciting. Mainly A320 family aircraft within Europe. A couple of flights to Faro. Day trips to Belfast and Geneva. Long weekends in Berlin and Munich. There is however one flight that was very special to me - ZB300.
ZB300 was a farewell flight organised by Monarch to wave goodbye to their ageing Airbus A300 aircraft. G-OJMR took off from Gatwick and headed north. It did a 1000ft flyover of Manchester before turning east slightly and finally landing at Birmingham. Champagne was served on board and everybody left with a commemorative ticket and safety card. All in all it was a very nice, pleasurable flight even if it was only for an hour.
It was good to fly on an aircraft that has slowly faded away from passenger service in recent years, and every time I think about it, reminds me how lucky I was to get a ticket. It does however also make me think that I should try and fly on aircraft that don’t have long left in the skies. The chances are I will probably never fly on a B747, or an A340, and definitely not on any of the Tri-Jets.
Hopefully once the pandemic is well and truly over we can all get back to doing what we love, I for one will certainly be grateful to get back in the air, and needless to say, hopefully on Airbus.