Friday, May 06, 2005


A Little Too Clubby

I recently watched a documentary on the rise and fall of Concorde. (That's probably a poor phrase to use in conjunction with any aircraft.)

The documentary included a interview with Henry Kissinger, who praised the merits of the Concorde except that its aristocratic clientele usually recognized him. These passengers would then pummel him with airborne polemic, preventing him from accomplishing work. Others interviewed described the denizens of the supersonic cabin as "clubby" or "a little club."

The reasons given in the documentary for the aircraft's eventual retirement in 2003 were

While I fully expected the ubiquitous 9/11 justification to be invoked, I was quite surprised at the nature of the blow that those events struck to the Concorde. Specifically, an official from British Airways, the Anglo operator of the aircraft, was quoted as saying that 40 of Concorde's most frequent fliers died in the World Trade Center collapse. Given the "clubby" nature of the aircraft's patrons and its relatively small capacity of about 100 seats, to lose in just over 15 months 40 of the service's highest power customers as well as 100 other customers, some of whom must've been regulars, would certainly injure a service that likely had on the order of 1,000 regular customers.

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