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Just the ticket: Queen recalls first flight after her coronation

Well-travelled royal drops in on BA to mark airline’s 100th anniversary.

The Queen is greeted by British Airways CEO Alex Cruz (Tolga Akmen/PA)
The Queen is greeted by British Airways CEO Alex Cruz (Tolga Akmen/PA)

The Queen gleefully recalled memories of flying as she was shown the ticket used for her first flight to the Commonwealth six months after her coronation.

The ticket was presented on Thursday as she looked at a display of artefacts and records such as aircraft models and historic photographs marking 100 years of British Airways.

The Queen exclaimed “Oh yes, I remember!” when she was shown the ticket used for a trip from London to Montego Bay in Jamaica on November 19, 1953.

She said this during her visit to the headquarters of British Airways in Harmondsworth near Heathrow airport.

Looking over old photographs the Queen said: “Very nice, lots of different travels to different places.”

And she added, with a smile: “Having travelled so much they tend to get a bit muddled.”

The Queen also recalled the “smooth lines” of Concord from her first flight on it, returning from Barbados in 1977.

BA cabin service director Janine Clowes, who presented the ticket to the Queen, said: “She was pleased and she pointed to her name and said she remembered it, she was really happy.”

The Queen wore a Stewart Parvin sky blue dress coat and a sky blue, mocha and ivory print silk dress with a blue hat by Angela Kelly as she signed the visitors’ book in the Speedbird Centre, BA’s heritage museum.

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The Queen was presented with a model plane during her visit (Tolga Akmen/PA)

Jim Davies, a volunteer for the centre, said: “She was willing to be told and learn, and I thought she looked very interested and pleased to be here.

“She was receptive and laughed at my jokes, she received the visit well.

“It’s almost a blur when you meet someone like the Queen.”

The Queen, who was greeted with cheers from staff waving Union flags, also looked over uniforms from the 1930s to the present day.

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The Queen unveiled a plaque to mark her visit (Tolga Akmen/PA)

Chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz, who greeted the Queen, said afterwards: “She was very passionate about British Airways and showed interest in details of the company.”

BA is marking its 100th anniversary on August 25 and is hosting a range of events to celebrate its past, such as painting four aircraft in old designs.

Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited, described by BA’s as its “forerunner company”, launched the world’s first daily international scheduled flight between London and Paris in August 1919.

PA

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