An auction for two limited-edition British Airways suitcases has ended, raising close to £9,000 ($12,325) for the airline’s charity Flying Start. The bags were signed by the captain of the airline’s last ever flight on a Boeing 747, with unsigned cases still available.
Since the start of 2020, airlines worldwide have been sending the Boeing 747 into early retirement, given the colossal collapse in passenger numbers experienced across the industry. Major carriers such as KLM, Qantas, and Virgin Atlantic all said goodbye. In late 2020, British Airways also said goodbye to the type, ending an era lasting over half a century.
£8,850 raised with the sale
While 150 suitcases were made by British Airways, two are different from all of the others. These two were carried onboard the final ever Boeing 747 flight operated by British Airways, from Cardiff to St Athan. These two suitcases were signed by the flight’s captain, Richard Allen-Williams, British Airways’ Chief Training Pilot.
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The auction ended at midnight last night. Lot number one received a total of 19 bids, being claimed by Anonymous #6593 for £4,400 ($6,026). The unnamed bidder placed three bids across the two lots. While receiving fewer bids (15), lot two sold for slightly more. Anonymous #2291 won with a bid of £4,450 ($6,094). The unnamed bidder placed two bids for lot two.
In total, £8,850 ($12,120) was raised for British Airways’ charity, Flying Start. British Airways told Simple Flying that it was “delighted” at the amount raised through the auction.
About the suitcase
The suitcases were made in partnership with Globe-Trotter. A total of 150 bags were made, with the remaining 148 being sold by the suitcase manufacturer. While unsigned, these suitcases still feature a plate made from a former British Airways Boeing 747. The bags carry the BOAC Speedbird logo, in addition to a 747 print on the interior, and are selling for £1,935 ($2,650).
What happened to British Airways’ Boeing 747s?
British Airways 31 Boeing 747-400s remaining when it revealed the fleet would be retired on July 17th. The vast majority will be scrapped, with such procedures already underway. One of the aircraft being dismantled in Spain sadly caught fire, causing a fair bit of damage.
Thankfully, it’s not all bad news when it comes to the fate of the 747 fleet. British Airways went on to save four of its fleet. This comprised the airline’s three retro jets, in addition to one aircraft in the current Chatham Dockyard livery. A oneworld liveried jet wasn’t saved.
BOAC was preserved in St Athan, Negus in Cotswold Airport, and Landor and Chatham Dockyard in Dunsfold. There are hopes that the preserved aircraft will be opened to the public. However, the current situation may mean this takes a while before becoming a reality.
Did you bid on the suitcase? Were you one of the anonymous winners? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!