Stewardess Spotting + The Queen

 One day I logged into twitter to find that an avid plane spotter and British Airways fan had not only managed to take a cracking photograph of The Queen, but a photograph of The Queen with yours truly on board. This photograph was taken on November 5th 2017 en route to Philadelphia on the BA067 (it seems that BA love sending me there! San Diego please!)

It was an honoured to receive this, and knowing that the time was taken to not only wait for my plane to take off, but to take such a magnificent photograph.  I shared this shot with the flight crew, and they were absolutely over the moon at having a photograph taken of the plane that they were flying at the time.

It only seems fitting that since I have this awesome photograph that I talk a little bit about the Boeing 747 and from a Cabin Crew point of view.

When you are a New Entrant here at British Airways, you are assigned both long and short haul aircraft. The short haul being the Single Aisle Airbus AKA Babybus, the Boeing 777-200 and -300, and either the Boeing 747, or the A380. As it stands more groups are getting trained on the B747 as opposed to the A380, since the B747 route network is larger and therefore the fleet size. As the B747 is slowly phased out, I would imagine a change in the structure of what aircraft we are trained on. It’s a pretty exciting day when you find out what plans you’re going to get because it opens up a different network of routes for you, and those routes can/will change.

On the B747 we fly to destinations such as New York, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Miami, Las Vegas, Nairobi, Cape Town, Boston and Chicago to name a few. The routes can change if an aircraft change is required and some routes are shared with the A380 (Vancouver and Miami which changed seasonally).

The B747 is then split into 3 types: the Mid J, the Hi J and the Super- Hi J. This indicates that the Business Class Cabin has either 52, 70 or 86 seats, which therefore alters the number of total seats on the aircraft. The Super Hi J, having 86 seats in Club World (Business Class), and taking up a considerable amount of space, means that there are 275 seats on board, whereas the Mid J has 52 seats, therefore being a much smaller cabin taking the total number of seats to 345.

We are the largest B747 operator right now, and we have a total of 36 of them in our fleet. I believe the oldest of the B747s are around 27-28 years old, and with that means they are slowly being phased out in favour of newer aircraft, for the simple reason that all good things must come to and end. It’s been proposed that our last B747 will be phased out in 2024 so we still have 6 years left with these iconic planes.

What are they like to fly on?

The Mid J is quite a challenge as the World Traveller Plus (economy plus) cabin is situated between First Class and Club World. For a passenger it’s a really intimate and relaxed cabin since it is situation away from the hustle and bustle of economy, for crew it’s a little awkward since you share a galley with Club World, so you find yourself getting in each other’s way, and fighting for space, but you do get used to it. Obviously, an economy plus cabin is usually an extension of economy, and this seperation only occurs on a B747  Mid J.

A lot of people are under the impression that First Class occupies the Upper Deck, where in fact it’s in the nose of the Main Deck. I absolutely LOVE flying in The Upper Deck, it’s a fantastic cabin to work in since there can only be 20 passengers, and I find that this gives you more freedom to have a chat and build rapport. You have the chance to visit the Flight Deck more often since those in the Upper Deck are responsible for getting the Flight Crew their tea and coffee, and food if they’re nice. Joking! They get a full on banquet when I am working upstairs. You get chance to see those amazing views and ask the pilots loads of nerdy questions about flying, which they LOVE ( it’s all about good CRM!)

Let’s get nerdy

The girl might be getting old, but she’s got some kick. The Queen can hit a maximum speed of 614mph or MACH 0.92, of course this depends on who’s in the driver’s seat, she has a range of 8357 miles, so London to Vancouver is roughly 4710 miles, and Singapore is 6760 miles to put it into perspective of the mileage this aircraft can do, and the plane takes off at around 180mph and lands at 160mph.

Another thing to note is that the plug sockets won’t give out any power until the aircraft is at an altitude of 10,000ft.

Just to let you know.

I really have spoke quite a lot there, but there has been quite the demand for me to write a post on the aircraft that I fly on.

Have you ever flown on the B747? Let me know below and stay turned for more blog posts and Cabin Crew Life, travel and aviation!




11 thoughts on “Stewardess Spotting + The Queen

  1. Flew BA 294 from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow on 19 November 2016. 747 service in economy – wonderful experience for my wife, son and I. We were in row 45 and while it was packed, the crew was incredible. Great experience!

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for the blog. Very interesting.

    Interesting also that you brought back from the future (November 5th 2018 to be exact) a picture of the Queen of the skies. How many will be left at that time in the future ? 😉 Did you, by any chance, bring back the winning numbers for the lottery from Nov 2018? Just asking….



  3. We flew on a BA 747-200 to and from ANU (honeymoon) in 1996 and also UVF in 1997. The upper deck was Traveller back then. We got an upgrade coming back from UVF due to a ticketing duplication at BGI where the plane stopped en route back to LGW. That was funny as the passenger who boarded at BGI who thought we were sat in his seat due to the mix up thought he was going to have an upgrade!!! The cabin crew were fantastic and gave my wife and me a bottle of champagne and a good quality red at the end of the flight at LGW! So, v. happy memories of the Queen! 21 years later our eldest son has his final assessment next week with easyJet as a cadet pilot. Love reading the posts and blog. Keep up the great work! Best regards

  4. I have flown on the -100 -200 -400 and I have not yet managed to get on an -800. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America I watched them being built from the time I was a little boy until we moved to the Midwest about 8 years ago. If you are an airplane nerd or just love airplanes in general you have to go to Everett Washington to Paine Field and go on the Boeing tour. Dreamliners 777’s 787-8,-9 and of course the 747-8. Go in the summer enjoy the scenery take a ferry boat ride to Whidbey Island Drive the length of the island drive across Deception Pass Bridge back down the interstate 5 to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where you can fly anywhere in the world. Happy New Year!

  5. I really enjoyed this story! How the aircraft us configured and its effect on the crew is fascinating. Best wishes for a great year and safe travels.
    I am a bit envious. Can my Golden Retriever be a crewmember? Lol. Incredible aircraft.
    Glenn, Somerset, MA USA

  6. It appears that Boston only gets the ‘Super Hi-J,’ which I guess means it’s a business-heavy Route. We also get the 777-300ER several times weekly, which always makes me wonder why BA doesn’t have more of them.

  7. I’ve flown on one 747 when I went to Singapore, apart from that I used to clean them when I left school best job I ever had and I believe that’s where I get my love of planes and listening to other stories and this year 2018 I get to take my two kids on there first ever flight to New York and I can’t wait

  8. I’ve just had two recent trips to San Diego on the 744 and irrespective of how much time you get down route you should try and get there! Both times flying outbound Traveller and Traveller Plus return although on the most recent return I was upgraded to Club World (I think there were several reasons for this, many of my work colleagues were also upgraded).
    I’d be interested to hear your opinion on working with the seating arrangement in Club World. I see it generates lots of comments on SeatGuru, not many positive ones I’m afraid to say. Whilst I appreciate the ability to get flat (so, so much easier to sleep!) it does seem odd that if you’re in the centre or window rows you have to step over the outstretched legs of anyone reclining in the aisle row. I was originally in a centre row seat (18E) and moved to an aisle seat (17D) because of this and also because you feel the space is more intimate in the centre, much more so than a standard seat in my opinion… Great for couples though! Of course this then means you have the peculiarity of the “modesty screen” (is there a proper name for it?) to allow food and drink to be served and which means you are suddenly facing your neighbour at meal times, not always the most pleasant view for either participant!
    Keep up the blogging, I look forward to reading about more.

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