Cheers! The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) joined British Airways this week in celebration of its 60th anniversary of flight service between Chicago and London. Launching with one flight a week in June 1954, the airline now offers 14 nonstop flights a week from O'Hare International Airport.
The British Airways team at O'Hare, and Westfield, manager and developer of the concessions program at International Terminal 5 at O'Hare, marked the anniversary throughout the day on June 25 with a splendid array of festivities including tea service and a smashing party at the gate for customers departing Terminal 5 to London that evening.
"On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we pleased to recognize British Airways as one of the longest serving airlines at O'Hare," said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. "British Airways has helped put the "international" in O'Hare dating all the way back to the airport's opening to commercial traffic in the 1950s. It is a great airline partner for our airport, offering first class service and amenities to travelers throughout its history."
British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was the British state-owned airline created in 1940 by the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd and continued operating overseas services throughout World War II.
BOAC started commercial service between Chicago and London in June 1954 - exactly 60 years ago. The once-weekly service was operated by a Boeing Stratocruiser, affectionately known by crew as "The Pregnant Duck". It featured a lower-deck bar with seating for 12 customers.
The Stratocruiser offered First class service only. The aircraft had three cabins with accommodations for only 60 passengers, including sleeping berths. These were either converted from the normal day seats or pulled down from the sidewalls.
The flight from Chicago to London had stops in Montreal and Shannon and took 15-and-a-half-hours.
Today, British Airways is making a multi-billion dollar investment in new aircraft, including the Boeing 777-300 ER that now flies from Chicago, refreshed cabins and technology, all to improve the travel experience.