Airline (1998 TV series)

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Genre Documentary
Directed by Richard Cowles
Starring Britannia Airways (1998)
EasyJet (1999–2007)
Narrated by Charlie Higson (Series 1)
Tony Robinson
(Series 2–3, 7–10)
Veronika Hyks (Series 4–6)
Opening theme "Come Fly with Me"
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 10
No. of episodes 124 + 1 special
Executive producer(s) Joe Houlihan
Producer(s) Richard Cowles
Editor(s) On-line: Alan Ritchie
Off-line: Julia Frater
Running time 22 min. (approx.)
Production company(s) LWT
(now branded ITV Studios)
Distributor ITV Studios
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 4:3 (1998–2000)
16:9 (2001–2007)
Original release 3 June 1998 (1998-06-03) – 19 January 2007 (2007-01-19)
Related shows Airline (US)
Luton Airport

Airline is a fly on the wall television programme, produced in the United Kingdom by Katherine Garnham of Felixstowe that showcases the daily happenings of passengers, ground workers and flight crew of Britannia (series 1) and later EasyJet (from series 2). The show was broadcast between 1998 and 2007 on ITV, is often repeated on ITV2 and shown on syndication on Pick.[1] The programme's success sparked a US version of the series, following American low-cost airline Southwest Airlines.


EasyJet were first approached about the possibility of filming during mid-1998, after the first series with Britannia Airways was discontinued. The first series with EasyJet was broadcast in January 1999, and the cameras have been with EasyJet almost constantly ever since. In 2003 it was ITV's most popular factual programme. The programme has been sold to many countries worldwide, including New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

Starting with the second series in 1999, the programme follows staff of EasyJet and Reed Aviation[2] (the handling agents) such as: Manager: Graham Fraser; Check-in trouble-shooter: Jane Boulton; Check-in assistant: Katrina Leeder; Supervisors: Leo Jones, Brett Holland and Leanne Cheung, Dispatcher: Kevin Reardon; Captain: James McBride, Stewardess: Janey Stock and of course, Stelios as well as many passengers. The series were originally set in Liverpool and Luton but later incorporated Belfast, Bristol and Newcastle airports. Airline was also occasionally filmed at Gatwick and Stansted airports. Tony Robinson and Veronika Hyks replaced Charlie Higson as voiceover.

The programme also follows some passengers and staff on interesting journeys and during important moments in their lives. Wedding proposals, marriages, illnesses, business trips, reunions and once-in-a-lifetime experiences have all been filmed, both happy and sad. The programme also aims to educate the airline's passengers concerning its rules and regulations—some of the highlighted issues relate to missed check-in, incorrect travel documentation, and the carriage of prohibited items.

Notable Britannia staff[edit]

  • Supervisors: Pat Baines, Cathy Duffy
  • Captains: Peter Klack
  • Flight Steward/Stewardesses: Brian John Aldridge (BJ)

Notable Easy Jet/Aviance staff[edit]

Staff overview[edit]

Founder of Easyjet Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Airport Terminal Staff
Alan Derbyshire (Series 5–6)
Graham Fraser (Series 3–4)
Leo Jones (Assist Manager) (Series 7–10)
Machell Riley
Brett Holland
Leo Jones (Series 6)
Jane Boulton (Series 2–5)
Leanne Cheung
Sarah Tier
Richard Oates
Debbie Hopkins
Gemma Napper
Jodie Jenks
Passenger Services Agent Helen Skeggs (series 5)
Leo Jones (Series 5)
Ticket/Check In Desk Agents Anita
Katrina Leeder
Ground Staff
Dispatch Darren Ramsey (Luton) (Series 2)
Kevin Reardon (Liverpool) (Series 2–3)
Jane Boulton (Luton) (Series 5–9)
Air crew
Pilots Lance Jordan (Series 5)
Paul Barnes (Series 4-)
James McBride (Series 4-)
Mike Jamieson (Series 5-)
Tony Underwood (Series 5)
Cabin Crew Bob Brain
Andy Swain
Darren Ramsey (Series 3)
Janey Stock (Series 3–4)

Series list of EasyJet staff[edit]

Job Role Name
Throughout Series
Founder of Easyjet Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Series 2
Passenger Supervisor Jane Boulton
Check-in/Ticket Desk
Katrina Leeder
Dispatcher Kevin Reardon (Liverpool)
Darren Ramsey (Luton)
Series 3
Managers Graham Fraser
Passenger Supervisor Jane Boulton
Check-in/Ticket Desk
Katrina Leeder
Dispatcher Kevin Reardon (Liverpool)
Cabin crew Janey Stock
Darren Ramsey
Pilots James McBride
Lance Jordan
Series 4
Managers Graham Fraser
Passenger Supervisor Jane Boulton
Stephen Elwood
Check-in/Ticket Desk
Katrina Leeder
Cabin Crew Janey Stock
Pilots James McBride
Georgie Hobbs
Paul Barnes episode 4
Series 5
Managers Alan Derbyshire
Jane Boulton (Jane moved to dispatch during this series)
Passenger Supervisor Leo Jones (Luton)
Leanne Cheung (Liverpool)
Janna Wyatt (Luton)
Check-in/Ticket Desk
Permanent Temporary
Katrina Leeder
Several Trainees were seen taking the
Check-in Assistant Course
but only one was seen
in the role for a short time
Pilots James McBride
Mike Jamieson
Tony Underwood
Series 6
Managers Alan Derbyshire
Leo Jones (Luton Assist Manager)
Sarah Tier (Liverpool Shift Manager)
Leanne Cheung (Liverpool Checkin Manager)
Dispatcher Jane Boulton
Series 7
Managers Jane Boulton
Supervisor Leo Jones
Series 8
Managers Jane Boulton
Supervisor Leo Jones
Series 9
Managers Jane Boulton
Series 10
Supervisor Leo Jones
Cabin Crew Bob Brain


Opening titles[edit]

Series 1–4[edit]

These titles have a sky background and feature a Britannia plane (series 1) or an EasyJet plane (series 2–4) before cutting to clips of the overall series.

Series 5–6[edit]

These titles changed to using a lighter blue sky and switching to an all blue logo.

Series 7–8[edit]

These titles changed to using an orange sky and blue/orange logo.

Series 9–10[edit]

These titles used a similar style to that used in series 5 and 6 but now has a reddish tint and features an airline in the logo.

"Coming up/Next time on Airline" and Ending Sequences[edit]

  • At the start of each series the narrator would show snippets of what was to come throughout the series. This would normally be announced with the phrase "Welcome onboard another series of Airline"
  • At the beginning of each episode in every series, the narrator would give a quick preview of what would be shown.
    This would normally be announced with the phrases "Coming up/Tonight on Airline" or "Onboard Airline tonight".
  • At the end of most episodes, the narrator would provide an epilogue of what eventually happened to some of the passengers, staff, or business decisions (e.g. new plane, stock price) involved in that particular episode.
  • Series 1-4 did not show what was coming up in the next episode but did feature at the end of the programme, before the credits, information of what happened to the passengers featured.
  • Starting in series 5, clips of what would feature in the next episode were shown during the first 10 seconds of the credits.
  • At the end of each series, the narrator would look back and highlight some of the more important things shown such as gripping stories about various members of airline staff. This would take about a minute and feature the common phrase "The Summer/Winter season has come to an end".

Changes to Luton Airport throughout filming "Airline"[edit]

     – Area not used for Passenger operation at the time

Series 2–3 Christmas 1999 Series 4–9 Series 10
International Terminal
Check-In (Zone A)
Check-in area near to the future check-in area
Check-In (Zone B & C)
Original Check-in area with open planned concourse
Check-in area was used as access to departures up until 2005 when the new departures lounge opened, it featured shops and restaurants. After the new departure lounge opened, it became part of arrivals.
Original Departure Lounge
Departure Lounge is accessed through former zone A, security replaced arrivals and departures took up the check in area.
New Terminal
New check-in area with the entrance's & Departures access at the west side of the building and the main check-in area to the east separated by 2 passages, a cafe and information desks.
Above the New check-in area on the first floor

Series guide[edit]

Series Narrator Premiere Episodes[3] Notes
Charlie Higson
6 March 1998
Followed Britannia Airways. The series was filmed at Manchester Airport
Tony Robinson
12 January 1999
This is the first series to feature EasyJet. All ground staff wear Reed Aviation uniforms; Red Jackets, a Dark blue shirt with pink petals and a black rimmed red hat with a Reed aviation badge. Or a white shirt and tie with Reed Aviation petals.
10 September 1999
This is the last series that feature the old Luton terminal.
First series featuring Luton and some Liverpool ground staff in orange satin shirts (with a blue jacket).
Veronika Hyks
30 June 2000
This is the first series that featured the new Luton terminal.
12 March 2001
Check in assistant Katrina leeder leaves Easyjet after 6 years. Leanna Cheng and Sarah Tier now appear at Liverpool.
15 April 2002
This is the last series that featured the old Liverpool terminal, the new terminal was featured during the last couple of episodes. It is also the last series of Reed Aviation.
Tony Robinson
27 May 2003
This series followed the merging of EasyJet and Go Fly
Easyjet staff now have new uniforms and former Reed Aviation staff now wear Aviance uniforms. Stelios steps down as Easyjet chairman.
8 October 2004
17 June 2005
Jane Boulton, who featured on all previous EasyJet series, leaves the airline to work for Aer Lingus at Heathrow.
8 September 2006
Currently the last aired series.

Special episode[edit]

Entitle Narrator Aired Notes
Airline at Christmas
Tony Robinson
27 December 1999
This is the only episode that showed both the old and new check-in areas of Luton Airport.

Holiday Airline[edit]

  • Series 1: 10x30' (2001) – First shown from 31 August 2001.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]