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A fantastic holiday that turned out to be our last

Yvonne McQueen | 15 Apr, 2014

“My husband and I were celebrating our Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1997 and, in the autumn of 1996, we made a decision to travel with your organisation to Treasure Beach Hotel in Barbados. What my husband didn’t realise was that – when booking the two week trip – I also booked us to travel one way on Concorde.

I managed to keep this a complete secret for several months. I was self-employed at the time and didn’t turn away any work in a mad effort to squirrel away the extra money required for the Concorde trip. This, I somehow managed to do, without giving the game away.

The day of our holiday dawned (April 1997) and my brother offered to take us to Heathrow Airport. He and everyone else were in on the Concorde secret and I was amazed that my husband hadn’t guessed. He had the tickets, I had the itinerary – the tickets detailing the British Airways flight would have meant nothing to him.

My brother and I had arranged a special scenario. I’d been told that the check-in desk at Terminal 4 (as it was then) was huge. As we walked in, I said “Goodness me, look at how busy this terminal is. We’ll never find our check-in desk” to which my brother replied (on cue): “Would you like me to find you a member of the BA ground crew?” - we agreed that this would be an excellent idea. I wanted to keep the Concorde secret a little longer, and didn’t just want to march up to the Concorde check-in desk immediately.

My brother found a member of BA staff, told her what was about to happen, and asked her to tell my husband. He signalled to us, and as we walked towards the stewardess, my heart was in my mouth as several months of saving hard and booking this wonderful flight was about to be revealed!

When the stewardess asked how she could help, I replied: “We just can’t find our check-in desk. It’s so busy in here.” To which the stewardess turned to my husband, asked if she could look at the tickets, my brother stepped back with a camera, and my husband was told: “You’re at the wrong end of the Terminal building. You’re booked on Concorde”. He went white! And was totally stunned, completely pole-axed…I burst into tears!

We had the most amazing flight on that very special aircraft and a fantastic and memorable holiday at Treasure Beach – probably the best holiday we ever had.

On our return, someone asked me what the Concorde element had cost and I told them. Their reply was a terse, “what a waste of money” to which I said, rather flippantly, “well, you’re a long time dead”.

And 18 months later, my lovely husband was dead, at the age of 51. We had no idea he was ill, and that fantastic holiday turned out to be our last together. So, with the great benefit of hindsight, it was the BEST money I ever spent.

I am so very glad I made the decision to book not just the holiday, but also the Concorde flights. One of the most fantastic experiences of my life, and (sadly as it turned out) a wonderful last holiday for my lovely husband.”

Do you have special memories of Concorde like Yvonne? We’re throwing a Concorde-themed party to celebrate forty years of luxury travel and we’d love for you to be there. To be in with a chance of being one of our fifty guests to this exclusive event you simply need to submit your stories and experiences of Concorde here. We can’t wait to hear them.

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