Do you remember something called Concorde? It was a supersonic passenger aircraft that flew at speeds in excess of Mach 2 and enabled the well heeled to fly from New York to London in 3.5 hours – significantly less time than it took the plebs on other planes, for who the travel time was eight hours.
It also cost a pretty penny – a round-trip ticket in 1997 would have set you back $7 500 – around $12 500 in today’s money. Seating 100 passengers, Concorde, a British-French collaborative effort, ruled the skies from its introduction in 1976 until its retirement in 2003.
In 2000, the supersonic liner was the subject of much media attention when a flight crashed in France, killing all crew and passengers on board. At the time of its retirement, Air France and British Airways cited dwindling passenger numbers in the wake of the fallout from the crash and a slump in air travel following the September 11 2001 attacks as factors for the decline of what had been the jewel in the air-travel crown through the sleazy 70s, excessive 80s and nihilistic 90s. Supersonic travel was seemingly a passing Icarus moment destined to be a footnote in the history of man’s folly – quietly mothballed and packed away.