The British airline BOAC (British Overseas Airways Cooperation) has played a relatively small part in the Bond films despite the fact that it was a British state airline, and perhaps even a cultural icon that stood at its height in the 50's and 60's. It was also Fleming's airline of choice for Bond in a few of the novels, including the short story 'James Bond in New York'. Fleming also mentioned BOAC in e.g. 'Goldfinger' and Bond is flying to the United States in the novel 'Diamonds are Forever' on a BOAC Stratocruiser.
"Breakfast came, that inappropriate assortment of foods that BOAC advertise as ‘An English country house breakfast’ [...] Cheerful start to flying the Atlantic, reflected Bond, and then they were all walking across the tarmac and up into the big Boeing and, with a burst of oil and metanol smoke, the engines fired one by one. The chief steward announced over the loudspeaker that the next stop would be Shannon, where they would dine, and that the flying time would be one hour and fifty minutes, and the great double-decker Stratocruiser rolled slowly out to the East-West runway."
-Ian Fleming- in 'Diamonds are forever'
It would also have been the natural choice for Bond traveling to British colonies like Jamaica or the Bahamas in the early films. Their luxury 'Monarch service' that Fleming wrote about in 'James Bond in New York' was introduced by BOAC in 1951 and offered sleeper accommodation across the Atlantic. This service was introduced for example between London and NY in their Boeing Stratocruiser. However, the Stratocruiser had been retired from passenger service already in 1959 and with the arrival of the new 'jet age', the Boeing 707 was the obvious choice for Bond when flying to Jamaica in Dr No.
From Russia With Love
|Except the bridal suite...|
The Spy Who Loved Me
After that rather quick appearance in Thunderball it would take another 12 years until the name would be seen again. For some reason Q is carrying a cabin bag from BOAC when he meets with Bond in Sardinia in The spy who loved me, 1977. By this time BOAC hade merged with BEA (British European Airways) and formed a new airline, today's British Airways. (In the novel 'Dr No' Bond is traveling with BEA to Jamaica.)
|Q, have I ever let you down?|
BOAC was the first airline to carry the Queen, when she came back to England from East Africa, following the death of her father, King George VI in 1952. A few months earlier, in 1951, the first royal flight by BOAC took place when they transported the then Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh to Montreal in a Stratocruiser. A Royal airline, fitting for Bond...
In loving memory of Marvin Hamlish who passed away on Monday 6 August 2012.
Nobody does it better.