What happens when you have the same birthday as an airline? They throw a huge party of course, complete with a full marching band!

British Airways
Date Posted: 12/09/2018

Fellow British Airways passenger Mary Parsons celebrated her 99th birthday with British Airways at London’s Heathrow airport with all the airlines employees helping to celebrates Mary’s special day thought her journey. The airline truly made it an unforgettable experience for Mary and all those employees involved.
Now I know what I want for my 99th Birthday….. Qantas if you are reading take note! Aaha!

Mary officially turns 100 years old on January 1, 2019, the same year that British Airways is also celebrating its own centenary. Surprising her one day at her ‘Friends of The Elderly” aged care home in Davenham, British Airways ambassador Derek Tennant popped in for a visit, but he wasn’t there for a cup of tea and a biscuit, he was there to break the special news to Mary. Derek had the job of letting Mary know that he, on behalf of British Airways would be taking her back to Belfast where she once grew up, so she could see her family.

She was born 51 days after the First World War came to an end. Mary grew up in Monaghan, 70 miles south of Belfast but left when she was 18 years old to become a nurse in England.

Throughout her journey to Belfast she was given the VIP treatment by Derek on behalf of British Airways. When she was first told she would be heading back to Belfast Mary said “I didn’t expect all this, I may not sound excited, but I am excited. I do appreciate it, I think it’s absolutely wonderful” with a huge grin on her face.

Upon arrival to London Heathrow airport she was fully escorted by her career, Ellie and British Airways ambassador Derek. She was welcomed by British Airways personnel and taken through the First Class wing to check in and get her boarding pass.

Mary received a little goodie bag from British Airways, prior to the flight she lived it up in luxury in the airlines First Class Lounge and in true First Class fashion, she enjoyed a few glasses of champagne along with her special pink birthday cake with a perfectly placed pink rose on top.

Throughout the airport there were screens celebrating Mary’s and British Airways 99th Birthday, she thought it was worthy of a good laugh!

Happy Birthday Mary (Image: British Airways)

When it came to boarding the flight she was escorted onto the plane by Derek, receiving priority boarding and got a seat in the first row. Throughout the flight Mary’s choice of drink was…. Champagne, of course! All the crew looked after her on board and made sure that she had a great time in the air.

Mary and Derek on board flying to Belfast
(Image: British Airways)

Mary was met at the airport by her niece Margaret and nephew Ciaran who welcomed her as soon as she came through the arrivals area with a huge hug and a kiss and a lovely bunch of flowers. Her family that were waiting at the airport for here were all extremely delighted to see her. “Mary is one of the most wonderful women I’ve ever met in my life, she is like a second mummy to me” said her nephew Ciaran. “It’s amazing to be as good as she is for 99 years of age and as sharp” said her niece Margaret.

She thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the trip from London Heathrow to Belfast, she really enjoyed the champagne by the sounds of it!

“It was a great adventure and beyond my wildest dreams. I had a truly wonderful time. British Airways treated me like royalty throughout the whole journey and then meeting my family after all this time was the icing on the cake! It was fantastic to see them all again – we shared wonderful memories together and it was like a trip down memory lane. I never thought I would get to do this aged 99 but it just shows that anything is possible!” said the soon to be 100 year old Mary Parsons.

Mary’s carer of six years, Ellen Bannister said: “It was absolutely amazing and I’m so glad that I could be a part of the adventure. It was really emotional watching Mary meet her family again. You could just tell by their expressions that they were delighted to see her, and they just couldn’t believe that she had flown over to meet them! They shared photos and exchanged memories, it was a beautiful day. British Airways were fantastic, and they made Mary feel incredibly special.”

On 25 August 2018, British Airways invited those customers who are celebrating their birthday and their travel companions were welcomed to use the airlines exclusive First Class Lounge. The celebrations haven’t stopped there, as the airline is also giving customers ’99 ice-creams’ to mark the occasion, while a full marching band performs for onlookers. British Airways employees are also wearing uniforms from across the airlines history.

British Airways Birthday Celebrations
(Image: British Airways)

“From one 99-year-old to another, we are so pleased we could help Mary get back to Ireland to see her family ahead of her 100th birthday. It’s an incredibly exciting time for all of us at British Airways as we look ahead to our centenary and taking the airline into its next chapter.” said Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience.

Happy 100th Birthday Mary! I’ll make sure I have champagne for you to help you celebrate your milestone!

Mary and Derek in Belfast (Image: British Airways)

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