The Beatles Return to London - February 24, 1964
Jane Luna Euler recalls her Pan Am flight with the Beatles returning home from their first American Tour
I received a call from crew scheduling while on reserve asking if I'd like to take a flight to LON. I agreed and was surprised and delighted to learn that the Beatles would be returning to LON on that flight after their very successful first venture to the USA. I felt very lucky. Not only that, I was taking the flight with fellow stewardess friends, Pauline Jenkins Bekebrede and Christine Standbridge Ponzio. I wasn't prepared for what awaited me at the airport. There were literally thousands of fans screaming from behind barricades erected to keep them away from the Beatles and flight crew members. The noise was incredible. Medical staff had been assigned to stand in the aisle created by the barricades to accept those fans who fainted in the crush of people and who were over-excited at the opportunity of seeing the Beatles. Those who fainted, both girls and boys, were forwarded to the medical staff hand-over-hand to the barricade aisle.
On entering the aircraft another memorable sight awaited us. The entire First Class lounge was filled with hundreds/thousands of gifts of all sorts - large flowers arrangements, bouquets, drawings and paintings of a favorite Beatle, cakes, written tributes and poems, photos, and other tributes from their fans. There was an amazing assortment of these items.
Once the Beatles and John's wife, Cynthia and manager Brian Epstein boarded, the plane was towed to the end of the runway for take-off. There was evidently fear that one or more fans would run after the plane as it taxied away from the gate.
During the flight the Beatles were very courteous and pleasant. I remember two of them enjoyed Scotch with milk as their favored cocktail. They were very willing to sign autographs for anyone who wanted one and the crew was no exception. Newsweek Magazine (dated February 24, 1964) had a photo with "Bugs About Beatles" on the cover. Each of them added a little comment and their signature on my autographed copy of the magazine cover which I still have in safe keeping.
Upon arriving in LON we were greeted by enthusiastic Pan Am personnel, ground crew and others who wanted to hear about our flight. We boarded our crew bus for the journey to our hotel and almost the entire distance there were fans lining the road side, waving and shouting excitedly as we passed. They knew we were the crew who had brought the Beatles home.
It was interesting to read articles from LON newspapers about the flight. I wasn't contacted for a personal interview but I was quoted in a Daily Express article as saying "I don't remember being as excited as this about a flight." It was exciting and I have fond memories of that "day in history".
Jane Luna Euler