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Ride the Concorde – only $6,795

Donna Daniels

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts and return your seatbacks to the upright position.

The Concorde is coming to Grand Junction Sept. 8 for a one-time trip of a lifetime.

It’s a special deal. A mere $6,795 will get you a ride to London on the supersonic British Airways Concorde, five days in the city, then a six-day return trip on the Queen Elizabeth 2.

Montclair Travel of St. Louis, Mo., has offered similar deals in 75 cities across the country since 1989.

Locally, Springs Travel is Glenwood Springs is now booking reservations for the trip.

When Cindy Dobbins, owner of Springs Travel, got a call recently from Montclair Travel about the trip, she said, “We thought they were kidding.”

The Concorde? In Grand Junction?

But knowing Grand Junction’s Walker Field is the largest airport between Denver and Salt Lake City, as well as being located conveniently close to Aspen and Vail, it did make sense.

In fact, Walker Field has a very long runway, 10,501 feet to be exact, said airport spokesman Charlie Novinskie.

Even Air Force One has landed there, he said.

“I’m not familiar with any aircraft that can’t land here,” he added.

Although the Concorde is able to reach Mach 2, or 1,350 miles per hour, it is not allowed to go supersonic over the continental United States, said Margot Scheck, manager of the international department at Montclair.

The jet is allowed to reach supersonic speeds over the Atlantic.

The flight will leave the morning of Sept. 8 from Walker Field, then stop in New York to refuel. The leg from New York to London’s Heathrow Airport will take about three hours and 25 minutes, Scheck said. The Grand Junction to New York leg will take a little over three hours.

Scheck, who rode the Concorde about 10 years ago said, “It’s really, truly an unforgettable experience.”

The plane is actually smaller than most conventional airliners. It holds only 100 passengers who enjoy the comfort of leather seats and superb food served on Royal Doulton china.

The Concorde cruises at about 55,000 feet in altitude, almost twice as high as most jetliners.

“You can see the curvature of the earth,” Scheck said.

The flight itself seemed short, she said. Regular airlines make the run between New York and London in about five hours.

“You’re so busy with your elaborate dinner, before you know it you’re there,” she said.

Once in London, passengers will be conveyed to the Millennium Mayfair Hotel in the heart of London, near Park Lane and Harrod’s department store, “where you can spend a fortune,” Scheck said.

The five-day stay in London includes sightseeing tours, a cocktail reception and dinner, as well as a traditional English breakfast and tea every day.

There are optional side trips for an additional charge, Scheck said. On day four, travelers can ride the high-speed Eurostar train through the Chunnel to Paris and spend the day sightseeing and shopping.

At the end of the London stay travelers can also – for an additional charge – ride the Venice-Simplon-Orient Express train from London to Southampton to board the Queen Elizabeth 2, possibly the most luxurious ocean liner ever.

Prices for the whole trip can kick up depending on where you choose your stateroom. The higher up in the ship, the more expensive they are, Scheck said.

The $6,795 price includes an inside stateroom with a shower, Dobbins said.

Conveniently, besides fabulous restaurants and activities, the QE2 also has its own outlet of Harrod’s, Scheck said. So there is plenty to occupy the passenger on the six-day cruise.

The QE2 lands in New York on Sept. 19, and passengers return to Grand Junction on a regularly scheduled flight.

But barring the fare, it beats a Love Boat cruise.


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