Fronted by Shane Richie, 128 lucky passengers were treated to exclusive performances from Bananarama and Go West on the ground, and Tony Hadley and Kim Wilde in the air. Passengers also danced their way into the Guinness World Record books by performing the latest internet craze – the ‘Harlem Shake’ dance.
Magic 105.4 presenter Kim Wilde, said: “I’m becoming an old hand at performing on public transport – in fact I’m getting a bit of a taste for it, so when British Airways asked me to play at 43,000ft I simply couldn’t resist! It was great fun and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”
Spandau Ballet front man Tony Hadley, said: “I’m very excited to be in the Guinness Book of Records, it’s quite an amazing feat to be part of. It’s really great that British Airways has put this event on, which has raised thousands of pounds for Flying Start.
On board the flight, Captain Mannering-Smith announced when the aircraft reached the correct altitude for the performances to begin. In order to break the previous Guinness World Record held by James Blunt at 42,080ft, the artists had to perform a 15-minute set at higher altitude, accompanied by musical instruments. The event officially lasted 22 minutes and 36 seconds at 43,000ft.
Assisted by her brother on guitar, Kim Wilde rose to the challenge singing her hits including; You came, You keep me hangin’ on and Kids in America, while Tony Hadley enthralled the crowd with acoustic renditions of True, Gold and a cover of Queen’s Crazy little thing called love.
Ahead of the flight, passengers enjoyed performances from Bananarama and Go West in the lounge. The girls sang a string of hits including Love in the first degree and Venus, while Go West performed We close our eyes and King of wishful thinking.
To keep the authenticity of the era, canapés inspired by British Airways 1988 menus were served in the lounge, and cabin crew donned original 80s Roland Klein uniforms – nicknamed ‘the deckchair’ for their fetching vertical stripes and shoulder pads!
Guinness World Record Editor-in-Chief, Craig Glenday who adjudicated the event, said: “I was on board the British Airways Highest Stand-Up Comedy Gig in 2011, when the airline set its first Guinness World Record. I didn’t think that they could top that, but having witnessed today I’m proud to say that they most certainly have. The Harlem Shake has to be one of the most amazing records I’ve ever witnessed!”
Passengers won tickets through a text competition, which donated profits to Red Nose Day. It was promoted through Magic 105.4 as well as through Twitter using #BAgiginthesky.
Keith Williams, British Airways’ chief executive, said: “I’ve visited a number of Comic Relief funded projects and know how important it is to continue to raise money for our Flying Start partnership. The 80s Gig in the Sky is just one of the great fundraising initiatives that our teams have been working on. Many congratulations to everyone involved for this fantastic achievement.”
Through its Flying Start partnership, British Airways has raised money for Comic Relief, to help transform the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the UK and some of the poorest countries around the world.