View Full Version : Tea Over London for £2 - Well Fancy That!

26th Sep 2009, 11:17
Whilst researching BEA's 'Silver Wing' service to Paris, I came across the following whilst going through some old newspaper ads.

It makes for fascinating reading.

(Actually these trips cost 2 Guineas (£2. 2s. 0d.)



The Argosy used for these flights


The cabin interior

...and as recounted by a contemporary commentator who flew on one of these £2. 2s. 0d afternoon tea flights.

Buffet for Passengers in Air Express.
Friday 30th April 1927

For the sake of the many who have not yet been in the air it may be worth while to say something of a first-class trip over London to-day. I took the trip in one of the new Silver Wing aeroplanes that are being put on the London-Paris service to-morrow. They are also going to, give afternoon tea trips over London at £2. 2s. a trip.

The passengers sit in a long narrow cabin with nine basket easy chairs on each side. The carrying capacity is eighteen passengers, with a steward. The general impression of the cabin is that of a miniature dining coach on a railway train, with the single difference that the windows can be opened beside each chair. The sensation of travelling was a curious mixture of boat and train.

The noise of the propellers is severe, and little envelopes of cotton wool are provided for the passengers to plug up their ears. The resemblance to a boat comes in when the aeroplane suddenly drops, as it does from time to time. In between these incidents the movement was steady and level, and one could walk up and down the cabin between the chairs, with less lean or balance than on a railway train.

The distinctive thing about these Silver Wing machines is that they are for the present the biggest passenger-carrying machines in the world. They could carry twenty passengers, but have been cut down to eighteen, with a reasonably proportionate amount of luggage in order to allow for a steward and a buffet. The Paris service starts rather too early for lunch end arrives rather too late, and cold lunch is to be served in future on board with the appropriate drinks.

World’s Most Comfortable. This aeroplane service is described as the most- comfortable in the world, and I can well believe it. Up to the moment, at any rate, Imperial Airways with these “Argosies” as they are called, have the biggest aeroplanes and the moat luxurious service. One gets a clear view of the earth below from the window at one’s side, and it is a fascinating spectacle. Over London house roofs dominate the landscape. They run to the queerest patterns, geometrical and circular stretches of green velvet are meadows, and stretches of brown velvet are ploughed fields.

The oddest thing that I saw myself was a cemetery, which looked exactly like a crowd of white oblongs drawn on a child’s slate. But the oddest thing of all was the shadow of the aeroplane on the earth below. It travelled along with us sedately over the fields, but leaped suddenly like a frolicsome terrier over trees and house roofs.

Barring the risk of air sickness, which does not seem to be very great, and the noise of the propellers, there is the greatest comfort. In cold weather the car is heated very ingeniously by warming pure air in jackets from the exhaust and pumping it into the saloon through the handrails of the luggage racks. There is a great increase of safety in these machines from the fact that they have three engines and can do anything on any two of them. They could even carry on and make a landing on one. The aeroplane itself is an Armstrong, Whitworth, and the engines are Armstrong-Siddeley.

26th Sep 2009, 12:15
The noise of the propellers is severe, and little envelopes of cotton wool are provided for the passengers to plug up their ears.

How frightfully civilised! It seems incredible that for two guineas you could not only have tea, but also a two hour flight. When I wanted a cup of tea only in June (my last visit to the UK) I had to pay around that - and that was self-service.

I really would have liked a trip in an Argosy.

27th Sep 2009, 11:47
Actually, reading the fine print, it was not a 2 hour flight but a 30 minute one (plus transits presumably) flying over central London.

What I find incredible is that you could present yourself at Charles St SW1 at 2.30pm, be driven down to Croydon Airport, fly for 30 minutes plus and be driven back into central London, all by 4.30pm!

Such a shame that 2 guineas was probably a week's wages for my Grandad at the time; no wonder that it took two more generations of my family before we could afford to fly.