The Monarch Service is the name BOAC used for the on board experience on routes across the Atlantic. Flights commenced on 4 October 1958 with the de Havilland Comet 4, bringing jet travel to the crossing for the first time.
With a clientele composed mainly of wealthy people, luxury was the name of the game for these flights. There is an example menu and two short colour film clips below which illustrate just how posh this really was.
BOAC Monarch Service Videos
Both clips are from the same film and while the videos have no sound, they show everything you might want to see. Passengers take a bus to the aircraft and the Monarch Service branding is evident even on the steps to the plane.
Things to note are the cabin decor, the enormous No Smoking and Fasten Seat Belts signs and the way the seat belts are fastened. They look a little more complicated than today’s versions. The second clip shows the on board meal service.
Having your food plated in front of you is something I have only experienced when flying in Crown Class on Royal Jordanian. All told, the service looks pretty slick!
BOAC Monarch Service Menu
With a menu written entirely in French – because that’s how they rolled back then – the offering is nothing short of astonishing. Beluga Caviar is not something you find regularly on board a flight these days.
Also of note is the fact that cigarettes are offered on the menu. Smoking on board an aircraft was extremely common in the 20th Century, before all the bans came in.
Flying in the early jet age would have been some experience. It was also very expensive so only the well to do could afford to fly. Everyone else continued to take ocean liners, until mass air travel really took off in the late 1960s.
With a comfortable cabin and what looks like delicious food service, I imagine the passengers were quite happy. It is fantastic to see such good quality film, with my only regret being the fact the entire presentation is not available to pore over.
What do you think of the BOAC Monarch Service? Did you ever experience it? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.