Inside The 1994 Delivery Flight Of A British Airways 747

British Airways is in the final stages of its Boeing 747 retirement program, having said the type won’t fly passengers again. Simple Flying looked into the delivery of G-CIVD in 1994 with the photographic help of three members of cabin crew, Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves.

British Airways, Boeing 747, Delivery Flight
In 1994 Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves crewed the delivery flight of G-CIVD. Photo: Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves via British Airways

Recently all eyes have been on British Airways as it retires its fleet of Boeing 747s after 50 years. However, where did these aircraft come from? Typically delivery flights see pilots flying an empty plane from the factory to the airline’s home airport. Every once in a while, things are a little different, as was the case of G-CIVD in 1994.

British Airways, Boeing 747, Delivery Flight
G-CIVD (not pictured) was retired last week after 25 years of service. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

An interesting delivery

British Airways took delivery of G-CVID on December 14th, 1994. However, the delivery was anything other than a routine flight. While delivery flights typically only have the pilots onboard, and perhaps some administrative staff, this wasn’t the case on December 14th.

In addition to the aircraft’s pilots, three members of cabin crew were onboard. They were Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves. The team was required as instead of being operated as an empty ferry flight, 14 accountants acted as passengers onboard the flight from Seattle to London.

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The accountants occupied the First cabin, which had 14 seats at the time. They didn’t have much choice, as these were the only seats onboard the aircraft when it was delivered.

British Airways, Boeing 747, Delivery Flight
The aircraft was only fitted with 14 passenger seats in the First cabin. Photo: Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves via British Airways

Onboard activities

Gilly, Robin, and Malcolm went the extra mile to make G-CIVD’s first flight one to remember. The three decorated the cabin with Christmas decorations and a welcome poster. To top off the look, the three members of cabin crew donned Christmas jumpers for their departure from Seattle.

British Airways, Boeing 747, Delivery Flight
Gilly, Robin, and Malcolm had three costume changes for the flight. Photo: Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves via British Airways

However, there was a problem. The aircraft had no in-flight entertainment installed for the transatlantic crossing. But this proved to be no issue for the trio who changed into shorts and t-shirts to host an aerobics class in the empty cavern of the plane’s cabin. They then changed into evening wear for dinner and the remainder of the flight.

British Airways, Boeing 747, Delivery Flight
Photo: Gilly Conway, Robin Williams, and Malcolm Reeves via British Airways

About G-CIVD

Last week, G-CIVD became the first Boeing 747 to be retired since British Airways announced the end of flights being operated by the type. Having been delivered in December 1994, the aircraft had been with British Airways for 25 years.

According to Planespotters.net, the aircraft took its first flight less than a month before its delivery on November 23rd. On Tuesday, the plane flew to Castellon in Spain to rest its wings into retirement. Before its final flight, this Boeing 747 had flown 115,276.8 hours. British Airways told Simple Flying that this equated to 13,364 flights and over 50 million miles flown.

Have you ever ridden on a delivery flight? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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