Here’s your chance to own a toilet seat that once zipped across the Atlantic at 2,100 kilometres an hour
For 27 glorious years, the Concorde represented the pinnacle of the air travel experience: An Anglo-French joint venture, it was a supersonic aircraft that flew well over twice as fast as any commercial passenger jet in the skies today. The Concorde was so swift, in fact, that a westward flight across the Atlantic took just three hours, meaning that when you factored in the time difference, you arrived in New York earlier than the time you had departed from London or Paris. And as you were zipping along at some 2,100 kilometres (1,300 miles) an hour, you probably had steak and champagne for breakfast.
In short, the Concorde was glamorous.
It was also ill-fated. Just one Concorde ever crashed, in 2000. There was no flaw in the plane itself: The investigation showed that the incident was the fault of poor maintenance on another aircraft – one of the Concorde’s wheels was punctured when it rolled over a part that had fallen off the earlier plane. The fatal accident was enough to crater demand, however, and the entire remaining fleet of 13 aircraft was retired by 2003.
For the wistful, there’s a chance to take home a piece of that super-slick, supersonic aviation history. From Nov. 3 to 5, the French auction house Marc Labarbe will hold a sale of items relating to the Concorde (and, less excitingly, the Airbus consortium). Everything from seats and menus to little bitsy hardware to toilet seats are up for sale, divided into 1,091 lots.
You’d have to hit the gas pretty hard in your Kia Sorento to see any movement on this machmeter
Among the more covetable lots, a so-called “machmeter,” which displayed the aircraft’s speed in terms of mach number, is estimated to sell for €8,000 to €12,000 – which is only a little higher than the price of a one-way Concorde flight during its final years. And wouldn’t these seats look fetching in your rec room? They’re estimated at €3,000, but likely to sell for more than that now that the auction is attracting press attention.
Meanwhile, Concorde mania continues elsewhere. There are even plans in the works to see the white bird fly again. The Telegraph reported earlier this year on an investment group that says it has access to a £120 million fund to purchase a Concorde to get it up and running for charter flights. The group has raised an additional £40 million to create a sort of Concorde theme park in London, where visitors could poke around a decommissioned plane and sample meals that were served aboard the original British Airways and Air France Concorde flights. It might open as soon as next year.
Before your appetite hits mach 2, however, try to remember what food was actually like during the Concorde’s heyday. Some historical experiences have become more glamorous in our memories than they ever were in real life.