Beatlemania Aboard 703 Beatles 007 Adventures
TWA Skyliner Magazine
August 30, 1965
High above the cloud layer over the North Atlantic, the outside temperature registered minus 68 degrees F, but inside the cabin of Flight 703 on August 13 things were fever-pitched.
The Beatles: George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and their entourage had taken refuge in the Royal Ambassador section of the London-New York flight.
Only a thin partition retrained 120 eager Beatlenuts in the rear section, who at the very least hoped to catch a glimpse of the famous group up front. In an effort to divert the attention of the newly formed airborne Beatles fan club, public relations representative, Bill Liss employed the tactic of handing out autographed photos and Beatle record albums to the teenagers aboard. The ploy worked like a tranquilizer.
Except for one young lady in the 2nd row, who spent half of the flight on tip-toe, trying to see over the partition. When she thought she saw the hair on the head of Ringo Starr, she let out a scream, then settled into a satisfied trance the remainder of the flight. She could care less that she missed the movie, "Operation Crossbow."
Up front in the cockpit, shortly after take-off, Captain Jack Hulburd opened a sealed envelope of instructions from the Port of New York Authority. The dimmed cockpit, with its dials and switches provided a perfect James Bond setting.
The veteran pilot unfolded a map of Kennedy Airport, marked by the PNYA with eight possible parking points. Not until later would he be given final landing instructions, and then, to frustrate anyone who tuned in on the tower-to-aircraft radio, only a code number.
|Fans trying to see the Beatles' plane|
As Flight 703 approached New York, the secret word was finally relayed, "Number 8," which turned out to be a point on a taxi strip two miles removed from the International Arrival Building.
Hostess Gisa Kothe, who is Miss New York Press Photographer and Queen of the Forest Hills Music Festival, first peered out to see if the coast was clear. As the Beatles braved the way out of the door and deplaned, Paul McCartney turned to her and said, "thanks so much, luv, for a wonderful flight."