The supersonic Concorde jet makes its last commercial passenger flight, traveling at twice the speed of sound from New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport on October 24, 2003. The British Airways jet carried 100 passengers, including actress Joan Collins, model Christie Brinkley and a couple from Ohio who reportedly paid $60,000 on eBay for two tickets (a roundtrip trans-Atlantic fare typically cost about $9,000). A large crowd of spectators greeted the plane’s arrival in London, which coincided with two other final Concorde flights from Edinburgh and the Bay of Biscay.
The Concorde, which was developed jointly by the British and French governments, began commercial service in January 1976. A significant achievement in aviation technology and design, the sleek, delta-winged planes could make the trip from New York to London in around three and a half hours, traveling at 1,350 miles per hour. The Concorde became a symbol of speed and luxury, although it was not without its problems. Some who lived under its flight path criticized the enormous noise it produced. And, tragically, on July 25, 2000, an Air France jet crashed after takeoff from Paris, killing all 109 people on board and four others on the ground. All Concorde flights were grounded for over a year after the incident.