Over the last few days, British Airways staff have taken to social media to share details of a very special Christmas gift the airline has been sending them. Alex Cruz, chief executive of the Heathrow-based airline has told staffers the gift is to thank them for their “hard work, passion and pride throughout 2019”.
As a nod to the ongoing industrial rest that has plagued the carrier, Cruz goes on to tell his employees to now “focus together on our future”.
So what is this special gift? It turns out that British Airways has been sending out unique keyring/luggage tags made out of the metal skin from one of the airline’s now-retired Boeing 747’s – a very limited edition gift that is sure to make any self-confessed AVGeek mad with envy.
THANK YOU…! 😍
A wonderful touch from #BritishAirways
I came back home this morning to find a small packet in the shape of a suitcase, containing a key ring made out of a piece from the fuselage of our retired #B747 Reg: G-BNLJ, to mark our centenary. #TheJumboJet #BA100 pic.twitter.com/dMAgnETitT
— María 🇪🇸🧚♀️🧳✈️ (@flybyday63) December 11, 2019
It looks like every single member of permanent BA staff is set to receive one of the keyrings which apparently started to drop through letterboxes without any warning at some point late last week. What makes this even more of a surprise is that it would appear that most of the airline’s employees had no idea they were going to get a Christmas gift at all.
The keyrings have been made from the fuselage of a Boeing 747-400 which was registered as G-BNLJ. The scrapped aircraft was actually retired in September 2016 at the age of 16-years old after originally entering the British Airways fleet in May 1990.
Since retirement, the plane had been stored at Teruel Airport, approximately 150km from Valencia in eastern Spain, the home of Tarmac Aerosave – a company that specialises in decommissioning aircraft when they’ve come to the end of their useful life flying. Where possible, engineers strip the aircraft for everything and anything that could be recycled or even returned to the airline for use as a spare part on another plane.
In other cases, engineers simply have to break down the plane and dispose of it. In this case, however, G-BNLJ will live on for many years to come.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like passengers will be able to get their hands on one of these commemorative gifts direct from British Airways as there are no plans as yet to sell the keyrings or even gift them to high-value customers. However, if you really do want to get your hands on one then it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some of the keyrings have already turned up on eBay with asking prices ranging from £49 up to £75.
You might also be interested in getting your hands on one of Lufthansa’s upcycled aircraft keyrings that have been made out the German flag-carriers retired Airbus A340’s. Again, the old jets are being decommissioned by Tarmac Aerosave in Spain, although in this case, Lufthansa is making a whole array of products including a limited edition coffee table made from a side panel of the A340-600 which was sold on Lufthansa’s website for €1,399.
There are also unique ‘wall bars’ made from two windows that cost €1,444, while a gym bag made from the remains of a business class blanket and a headrest cover will set you back €32. A key fob costs just €25.
Keyring momento’s from retired planes are sure becoming very popular. American Airlines has been doing something similar with the last of its now completely retired MD-90’s. The last of British Airways’ 747’s, however, won’t be retired until 2023 at the earliest. The Airbus A350 is widely regarded as the replacement for BA’s 747 fleet.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.