I’m written before about how I was an “army brat” – my father was in the Canadian military – and we lived overseas twice when I was a child. On our second tour overseas, to Moscow, USSR (see Soviet Military Toys), I was apparently enrolled in the British Airways “Junior Jet Club”.
This was a program started by British Airways’ predecessor, BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation), in 1957 and continued on until 1984. Membership was free and you received a hard cover little notebook to log your flights in. You would give the book to the flight attendant and s/he would take it to the cockpit to be filled out.
When you reached 25,000 miles, you could return it to British Airways and get a special mileage certificate as they say in the back of this book.
I didn’t fly nearly enough on British Airways to get 25,000 miles, so I still have it.
We lived in Moscow from 1977 to 1979. Clearly I didn’t have the logbook when we first flew to Moscow. My first entry is a return trip from London back to Moscow on July 30, 1977. We had traveled to London and I remember that we saw Star Wars in a theatre there. My dad had a hard time finding a parking spot so we missed the first 10 minutes or so. I was very confused for a while because we missed the initial scenes aboard the shuttle with Princess Leia and her downloading the data into R2D2.
These are the flights I logged between 1977 and 1979:
- July 30, 1977: London-Moscow, Boeing 707 G-AXXY (British Airways)
- April 6, 1978: Copenhagen-Helsinki, S-210-10B, OHLSF
- November 27, 1978: Copenhagen-Stockholm, DC-9/41 SE-DAS (SAS)
- November 27, 1978: Stockholm-Moscow, same plane
- April 13, 1979: Moscow-Batumi, Ilyushin IL-18 14024 (Aeroflot)
- April 16, 1979: Batumi-Moscow, Ilyushin IL-18 65462 (Aeroflot)
- July 4, 1979: Moscow-Frankfurt, Boeing 727B DABKN (Lufthansa)
- July 6, 1979: CFB Lahr-Ottawa, CC137 (Boeing 707) 13701 (Canadian Armed Forces)
- July 13, 1979: Ottawa-Montreal, Boeing 737 CGNDL (Nordair)
- July 13, 1979: Montreal-Fredericton, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 C-FTLZ (Air Canada)
We visited Scandinavia a few times, as shown above – twice in 1978! We used to “commute” to Helsinki, Finland by train every month or two for shopping, as there wasn’t much to buy in Moscow. I wasn’t a train geek then so I didn’t pay any attention to the trains, and the Soviets wouldn’t have appreciated any photo taking anyway.
I remember our trip to the Black Sea (Batumi in April 1979). It might have been the first time I ever saw palm trees in the wild. It was very pleasant.
We departed Moscow on July 4, 1979 for the last time aboard a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. I remember everyone cheered when we landed in Frankfurt – happiness at leaving the USSR, at least for us. I had it in my head that we stayed in Frankfurt for a few days and flew out from there again, but clearly we went to Canadian Forces Base Lahr and flew out of there. Here’s what ex CFB Lahr looked like in 2010, 17 years after its closure.
I had my tonsils taken out at the hospital in Lahr during our first overseas tour. Long story.
After flying frequently in the 1970s, I don’t think I flew again until I went to Switzerland in January 1991. I went there for a six week training course for work – I gladly abandoned my upcoming Masters program at UNB for that trip – and as a lark, I brought my Junior Jet Club book along to get it signed in both directions.
I wasn’t thorough enough to get it signed on every flight, but hey, it’s something.
I’ve joked with my wife a few times that I should bring it along on our trips, but she disagrees. Funny about that!
Caption Leo Budd
Here’s the front set of pages for the Junior Jet Club book.
That’s my dad’s printing in the book. I imagine the 6A in the top left was the flight attendant’s note to ensure it got back to the right seat. Doesn’t Captain Leo Budd just look like a BA pilot?
Captain Budd was on the inaugural Concorde service flight as a backup pilot, one of only 73 BA pilots certified to fly Concorde. Who knows – maybe he sat in one of these seats to fly G-BOAD, the Concorde now on display in New York City?
The Back Pages
The back pages show how to become a registered member – maybe I did that? – and features the British Airways fleet at the time – a Vickers VC10, a Boeing 707, a Boeing 747, and of course, Concorde. I flew in numerous 707s and I’ve flown in an Air France 747, but I don’t think I ever flew in a VC10 and I’ve only been in the Concorde at the Intrepid Museum in NYC. I did see a Concorde “in the wild” once, as we were landing at JFK airport back in the early 1990s.
Apparently there was a Junior Jet Club pin, too. I saw a few for sale on eBay. Mine might be around somewhere but I don’t recall seeing it.
Other Junior Jet Club Fans
Just One More Thing
If you like airplane stories, browse through Chris Manno’s The JetHead Blog to read some great stories from an experienced airline pilot, a good storyteller and a good cartoonist! I enjoyed his Airline Crew Confidential book full ‘o’ comics.
When I was a teenager, I read a few Ace McCool books by Jack Desmarais that my dad had. They were pretty tongue-in-cheek and quite funny. Apparently they first appeared as stories in Canadian Aviation magazine.
My Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy something using that link.
Any other plane geeks out there? Leave a comment!