A Very British Airline

Series 1 - Episode 3

Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

We’ve seen our share of spanners slipped into the cheery works of British Airways in this series. Here a passenger has a panic attack as a plane is about to take off for Miami: both passenger and luggage have to be unloaded at a cost of many thousands of pounds. All in a day’s work for ops control manager Kevin, who looks like a man whose feathers would barely be ruffled by a hurricane.

There’s also a suspected firearm in a passenger’s suitcase and a family who turn up too late to get on their flight (again: baggage must be found and unloaded). But the most interesting strand involves trainee pilots Joel and Andy, who are approaching the end of their 18-month course – the first new pilots BA has trained since 9/11.

About this programme

3/3. Operations manager Kevin Mackenzie discusses the challenges of working in Heathrow - the world's most congested airport - and reveals how the airline handles the knock-on effects of passengers' actions - from panic attacks before take-off, to suspicious items discovered in luggage. At BA's flight centre, cadet pilots Joel Garabedian and Andy McLellan reach the final stages of their 18-month course in which they have been learning to fly passenger planes - each paying £84,000 for the privilege. Narrated by Stephen Mangan. Last in the series.

Cast and crew


Stephen Mangan


Executive Producer
Nick Catliff
Series Director
James Rogan
Series Producer
James Rogan