British Airways’ Special Boeing 747 Charter Flights

Our story of the Boeing 747 at BA continues with special charters, including flights for sports teams and members of the Royal Family.

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Dreamflight, London Heathrow, 2015 (Image Credit: British Airways)
Dreamflight, London Heathrow, 2015 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Continuing our series on the story of the Boeing 747 at BA, here are some of more memorable BA 747 flights from the past 40 years. 

Unlike yesterday’s more controversial flights, these are special charter flights for moments of celebration and significance:

Dreamflight

Dreamflight, London Heathrow, Sunday 27 October 2019
Dreamflight, London Heathrow, Sunday 27 October 2019 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Founded in 1986 by former staff members Patricia Pearce MBE and Derek Pereira, Dreamflight raised funds to charter a BA 747 to fly children with a serious illness or disability to Orlando.

Approximately 200 children travelled on the flight with BA cabin crew and a dedicated medical team.

Each flight was given a special send-off at London Heathrow with BA staff and celebrity guests. Since the first flight in 1987 more than 5,800 children have flown on Dreamflight.

Sadly, Dreamflight did not take place in 2020 due to COVID-19. Hopefully, it will be able to resume, with a different aircraft, in 2021.

Dreamflight, London Heathrow, 2017
Dreamflight, London Heathrow, 2017 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Passenger BOND/JAMES MR.

Not an actual flight as such, but a BA 747 featured in the 2002 James Bond film “Die Another Day”

Here you can see behind the scenes footage of a scene featuring Bond flying from Cuba to London. This was filmed in First Class on a Boeing 747 at London Heathrow – some seats had to be removed to accommodate the film crew.

Of course, like any discerning First Class passenger, Bond knows there’s no better way to spend a BA flight than browsing a copy of High Life magazine.

“VictoRIOus”

BA’s 747 have carried many sports teams around the world.

Special 747 flights for sports teams include “Sweet Chariot” for the England Rugby team to the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, “Pride” for Team GB to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and “Air Force Scrum” for the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa in 2009.

A BA 747, with a special gold nose cone, also took Team GB and Paralymics GB to and from the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Team GB Arrival, London Heathrow, 23 August 2016
Team GB Arrival, London Heathrow, 23 August 2016 (Image Credit: British Airways)
Team GB Arrival, London Heathrow, 23 August 2016
Team GB Arrival, London Heathrow, 23 August 2016 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Red Arrows Fly Past

British Airways Boeing 747 & The Red Arrows Fly Past, Royal International Air Tattoo, Saturday 20 July 2019
British Airways Boeing 747 & The Red Arrows Fly Past, Royal International Air Tattoo, Saturday 20 July 2019 (Image Credit: British Airways)

BA and The Red Arrows performed a fly-past at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in July 2019 to mark the airline’s centenary.

A Boeing 747-400 in a BOAC retrospective livery performed a fly-past with nine hawk jets belonging to The Red Arrows.

British Airways Boeing 747 & The Red Arrows Fly Past, Royal International Air Tattoo, Saturday 20 July 2019
British Airways Boeing 747 & The Red Arrows Fly Past, Royal International Air Tattoo, Saturday 20 July 2019 (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 & The Red Arrows Fly Past, Royal International Air Tattoo, Saturday 20 July 2019
British Airways Boeing 747 & The Red Arrows Fly Past, Royal International Air Tattoo, Saturday 20 July 2019 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Royal Charters

BA 747s have operated many Royal Charter flights. The precise details of how these flights operate are confidential and interior shots are very rare.

Royal BA 747 Charters included Princess Margaret’s visit to the US and Canada in May 1974, Princess Anne’s visit to Australia in July 1979 and Prince Charles’s visit to Hong Kong for the official handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

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