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.
Note many articles have been updated since they were first published.
BA aircraft have featured in many TV programmes and films, both fictional and factual.
The airline is obviously very selective about who its works with. Any scenes featuring its aircraft in distress are absolutely out of the question.
BA has worked with the James Bond franchise on a few occasions, including “Moonraker”, “Goldeneye” and “Die Another Day” starring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002.
Here you can see behind the scenes footage from “Die Another Day” of a scene featuring Bond flying from Cuba to London, filmed in a BA First Class cabin on a Boeing 747 at London Heathrow.
Like any discerning passenger, Bond of course knows there’s simply no better way to spend a BA flight than browsing a copy of High Life magazine.
Lee Tamahori, Director, Die Another Day: British Airways we knew flew from Cuba to London and then especially coming from Cuba we went to BA and, to our surprise, they went along with it. They even thought it was a great idea. I couldn’t believe it.
Abby McGowan, Global Advertising Manager, BA: British Airways tends to get involved in selected opportunities so again as I said the prestige of James Bond, but also the association for British Airways with the film. It’s a really good fit with Best of British.
Lee Tamahori: They’ve been enormously supportive ever since we started this exercise and from going into hangars and putting the 110 tonne planes up on jacks, that’s fantastic, so we’ll see how it plays out.
Abby McGowan: Bond’s arch enemy is actually featured on the front cover of High Life, our in flight magazine, so he’ll be reading that on board, but actually what we’re then going to do is to have that version of High Life on our November issue so you’ll actually be able to see the same edition.
Vanessa Orange, Promotions Executive, BA: I think we’ve been working on this for over two months now, so a good 10 weeks, really on the logistics, but it’s been quite a big logistics challenge for us working alongside many different departments we have here. We’ve had to liaise directly with our engineering department, we’re filming in their hangar space today. Also, with aircraft movements to get some of the equipment you’ve seen around the aircraft on the ground. Also with operations to work out whether we can get the 747s in the right livery on the right day back here at Heathrow, in order to coincide with the days we’ve agreed to do the filming on. So, there’s been quite a lot of logistics coordination from many departments really to make today happen. We’ve had to take out some of the seats in First in order to accommodate some of the equipment and camera crew. We’ve changed the lighting. The lighting on board is not really the right type of lighting for the film crew so we’ve changed some of the lighting, and we’re going to film some of the shots from the exterior, when we’re moving back into the hangar.
Abby McGowan: It wouldn’t have been anyone else that we could have possibly have done this for.
Deborah Moore, Actress: I’m playing the air hostess who gives Bond his martini, shaken but not stirred. Except that it shakes because the plane is going through turbulence. I happen to have a Dad who used to play Bond, Mr Moore. Yeah, Roger. It’s nice to because I haven’t seen a lot of people in costume and makeup who were on the ones that were with my father, so I feel really welcome.
Film Crew: “ACTION”
Cabin Crew: “Your drink, Sir.”
James Bond: “Luckily I asked for it shaken.”
Cabin Crew: “Ladies and gentlemen, we will shortly be landing, please return your seats to the upright position.”
This is perhaps not the most famous BA association with the James Bond franchise.
Casino Royale featured Virgin Atlantic aircraft and a cameo from Sir Richard Branson, who was edited out of the version shown on BA’s in-flight entertainment system. This proved to be a PR gift to Virgin as it generated a huge amount of worldwide press coverage.
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