This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse the full series of 100 stories in numerical order, by theme or by decade.
Founded in 1986 by former BA staff members Patricia Pearce MBE and Derek Pereira, Dreamflight is a registered charity that raises funds to charter a BA Boeing 747 carrying hundreds of children with a serious illness or disability on a once in a life time trip to Orlando, Florida.
Approximately 200 children travel on each annual flight together with BA cabin crew and a dedicated medical team, including doctors, nurses and physiotherapists who are on hand 24 hours a day throughout the trip. The flight is also supported a team of BA volunteers who assist with its departure at Heathrow.
Paralympians Natasha Baker MBE and David Smith, who both won Gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympics both took part in Dreamflight as children.
Speaking in 2016, Natasha Baker MBE said: “Dreamflight totally changed my life. I went from being such a dependent, shy child to a confident young lady and it’s just great to see that it can happen to so many other people.”
Each flight is given a special send-off at London Heathrow with BA staff and special guests. Since the first flight in 1987 more than 5,800 children have flown on Dreamflight. There’s more information at Dreamflight.