Recent security scares on flights from London Heathrow reminded me of a BA flight I took back in 1997. I was able to do something then that will probably never be possible again for a member of the travelling public.
I was flying on a BA Boeing 747 to Miami, Florida. We headed North-West from London over Ireland and out across the Atlantic toward Nova-Scotia.
I was travelling in the upper deck, and had a chance to chat briefly with one of the cockpit crew when he wandered down the aisle. I asked if I could have a look in the cockpit sometime during the flight. He was not definite that it would be OK, but I could check with one of the cabin crew “in a few hours”.
So, I did! I pestered the steward and he got permission for me to pay a visit to the cockpit.
When I got to the cockpit, things were pretty quiet, and I think “George” was in control.Â At that stage we were about an hour from Nova-Scotia and the crew were performing intermittent checks of dials and their multi-function video screens.
I asked several questions about what they were doing, and the Captain took great delight in answering, and giving me a full rundown on the features and information of their video screens.
The co-pilot would occasionally chat on the radio for a few seconds at a time. Otherwise he was running his eyes over flight systems as we went.
I was there for about 45 minutes, before the Captain said that they were about to get busy as we were getting close to land and were about to turn southward down the east coast of USA. It was time for me to return to my seat.
It had been a great experience, and before leaving I thanked the crew for their time.
It was a daytime flight, and I do not recall really “looking” out the windshield. If I did look, there was certainly nothing to see apart from blue sky.
With the “Locked cabin door” rules in place since 9/11, I am certain that I would not be allowed this experience again.