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One Flight Only

Kevan James

9 November 2021

New York - British Airways marked the reopening of borders between the US and UK, with a one-off return of its prestigious BA001 flight number which was previously used for Concorde. Touching down at 11.15am local time, it was the airline’s first flight to arrive in the US following the restrictions.

Marking this busy day for transatlantic travel, British Airways collaborated with Royal Photographer, Chris Floyd to document this historic moment. After 604 days (19 months) of restrictions, BA001 flight carried friends and families separated with their loved ones due to the pandemic.

Emotions ran high in JFK Terminal 7 arrivals as customers were reunited, they could finally embrace and meet new grandchildren, family members and loved ones:

  • Aysha and Vincent Matthew, now reside in New Jersey and welcomed their second child during the pandemic. Despite trying to get a National Interest Exemption so Aysha’s mum could support when she was postpartum, it got declined and today thanks to British Airways she was reunited with her mum and sister as they got to meet their new family member.

  • Kushal Patel, welcomed his first child during the pandemic. With his family located in South London, none of them have met his one-year-old son. Today Kai will meet his family for the first time in his life.

  • Liam Henry, from Manchester, England now lives in Brooklyn for work. It has been over two years since he has seen his parents, Alison and David and five years since seeing his grandmother, Patricia. During the pandemic his mum Alison relapsed with skin cancer and he’s been unable to support her during this turbulent time. They all booked on to the first flight from the UK to US to be reunited.

  • Bobbe Fernando, now lives in New York City. Bobbe’s 6-year-old son and her brother, Phil have always been close. Phil has missed out on seeing his nephew grow up over the last 18 months, Bobbe has missed her parents 50th wedding celebrations. Today the distance between them comes to an end.

  • Louise Erebara, has been living in the US for 34 years, with this week marking 2 years since Louise has seen most of her family back in North Blackburn and almost 3 years since she saw her 82 year old dad, made redundant during the pandemic she’s been unable to make the trip back to her home city.

  • Maria Butters, will be reunited with her friend Mario and partner John in New York. Friends for 30 years after meeting in Columbia, due to the country’s worsened political climate they choose to emigrate - Maria to Manchester, Mario to New York. Missing Mario’s wedding, the death of Maria’s mum and being separated for almost 5 years - they were finally reunited thanks to British Airways.

Famed for capturing the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s 10th wedding anniversary imagery, as well as stars from Robert De Niro to David Bowie, Floyd himself has been unable to reunite with family in New York. Chris’ collection of images released today perfectly capture the relief, love and joy in a reunion nearly two years in the making.

Floyd said: “It’s been a long two years and having the chance to capture the moment loved ones were finally reunited was an honour. My career to date has seen me help bring countless moments of love to life, but this new collection is truly something special. I look forward to countless more friends and family members meeting again soon.”

Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO, said: “Today is about celebrating the UK-US reopening of the transatlantic corridor after more than 600 days of separation. Being able to bring families, friends and businesses back together is part of closing this chapter and celebrating what’s to come.”

In recognition of a long campaigned for and pivotal moment for the travel industry, for the first time ever, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic came together in a unique show of unity, taking to the skies in a synchronised departure on parallel runways at Heathrow. British Airways flight BA001 and Virgin Atlantic flight VS3, operating on A350 aircraft, left London Heathrow for New York JFK at 8.30am.

All images via British Airways


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