How I missed the trip of a lifetime

Geofftey ThomasThe West Australian
British Airways Concorde. British Airways.
Camera IconBritish Airways Concorde. British Airways. Credit: Supplied/British Airways

The Concorde. It spoke of luxury, of the stars and of opulence. It was the thing to do if you could and even if you couldn’t.

So, in 1989 when Darcy Farrell, then Perth PR consultant for British Airways rang me to inquire if I wanted to fly on the Concorde from Perth to Colombo as part of an around-the-world charter it was an instant “yes”.

“I thought so” was Darcy’s response. “Your tickets are ready, just come in and pick them up.”

The trip was a dream. Fly out Saturday morning on the Concorde to Colombo, and then overnight at the Colombo Hilton before flying First Class to Singapore.

Then it was an overnight at the Raffles and first class back to Perth.

This was my sort of trip!

I rang my then wife, bubbling with excitement. This was going to be so much fun!

She inquired in an offhand way when I would return.

I replied Tuesday or Wednesday but who cared I was going on the Concorde.

The reply was a few seconds coming — “What about Nick’s 5th birthday?”

I was stunned.

What on earth did our son Nicky’s 5th birthday have to do with my trip of a lifetime?

Well, everything it turned out.

We had invited both families over to celebrate this milestone event and my presence was, for some reason, required.

It seems that I was the only one who could fire up the BBQ!

“I guess I am not going,” was my reply after a long pause.

I rang Darcy Farrell to give him the devastating news.

The trip went to a totally undeserving chief of staff at the Sunday Times, Chris Manly.

Working with Chris over the ensuing 30 years he was always “Concorde Chris”.

I always thought I would get another opportunity to fly on Concorde but it never came.

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