What it was really like to fly on Concorde

CNN  — 

Last month, a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner hitched a ride on a powerful jet stream and flew from Los Angeles to London in a record-setting nine hours and 13 minutes, hitting 801 miles per hour as it flew over Pennsylvania.

Record-setting, perhaps, but for a subsonic airliner.

Half a century ago, the legendary supersonic passenger airliner Concorde made its first test flight, on March 2, 1969. The Concorde 001 prototype took off from Toulouse, piloted by André Turcat, and first went supersonic on October 1.

In 1976 – over 40 years ago – elite passengers were crossing the Atlantic in under three and a half hours, flying at twice the speed of sound in the Anglo-French Concorde.

Only 20 of the sleek, delta-winged SSTs were built, and just 14 were delivered to two airlines – seven each to Air France and British Airways.

With superlative service and cuisine, exclusive airport lounges and stratospherically high airfares, Concorde passengers flew far above other flights, and cruised faster than fighter jets to their destinations.

But what was it really like to rub shoulders with the rich and famous on a Concorde flight? CNN Travel asked some former passengers what it was like to fly on one.

Cozy quarters