It’s the kind of invitation that a lot of girls (and quite a few boys for that matter) would love to see in their inbox. Lunch with Orlando Bloom. Or rather a “lunchtime event”. Either way it would involve the Hollywood star being in the same room, sharing a few tales about British Airways, which was enough to have this girl say yes.
To say I was not alone in my RSVP is an understatement. I was amongst the first to arrive at the Park Hyatt yesterday for the special Orlando Bloom reception (because I’m one of those extremely punctual people, not because I’m a stalker I should point out) which meant I had a chance to take in the surroundings before the crowd filled the room.
A string quartet played near the entrance, glasses of Pimm’s and canapés were doing the rounds, and heart shaped boxes of Charbonnel et Walker chocolates adorned the tables (making me hope we may get the chance to nibble on some before the day was out…. even better, it turned out we had a box in our goodie bags as we left. Yum!).
While we all waited for the main drawcard to arrive, British Airways had thoughtfully provided a few BA Captains to chat to. As Orlando was coming to tell people about how lovely it is to fly from London to Sydney (or vice versa) in British Airways’ new 777-300ERs I thought it would be best to chat to the Captains about the planes.
Captain Ian Cooke was charming and funny, telling me that when kids tell him they want to be a pilot when they grow up he always tells them they have to choose, they can’t do both. He also filled me in on the 777-300ERs and pointed out how they are in fact the longest commercial aircraft in the world, longer even than those beasts of the sky, the A380s.
What’s that? You didn’t come to this blog to find out about Boeings, you want to know about Blooms? Or as I’ve decided to call him, BA-BA-Bloom? Oh, alright then.
As luck would have it, I was standing in exactly the right spot when the speeches started. As in, right next to the spot where Orlando suddenly appeared and stood waiting to be introduced. That gave me a chance to see what he was like when he had a little space, and he seemed sweet. A tad tired, and a little dazed – which is fair enough considering he’d just jetted in from Cannes where his film Zulu had premiered at the film festival – but sweet.
He took to the stage, smart phones around the room went up for the snap, and he started to talk about his love of, you guessed it, British Airways. He told the crowd how he’s flown with them since he was a boy, how he had a great breakfast in the Concorde Lounge in Terminal 5 at Heathrow before his flight, and how exciting it is to now be able to fly first class.
Now I’ll admit I didn’t time the speech, so I don’t know how long it went exactly, but it felt like it lasted about four minutes before he wrapped up and stepped off the podium.
What happened next was a sight to see. People from around the room started pushing forward to try to get a photo, or better yet, get alongside him for that special shot. The speech may have been short, but this was where Orlando was really working.
It was like watching a fluffy bunny in a petting zoo being set upon by five year olds. As he was bounced from person to person he would smile for the camera, but I felt the urge to create a distraction so he could run. Sure, it’s hard to feel sorry for a Hollywood star who has just flown first class from his film premiere in Cannes, and will soon be on his way to film the new Hobbit installment, but for a while there, I did.
Now I’ll admit I thought about elbowing my own way in. For about a second. Then I decided this was one best watched from afar.
One day I may have the chance to tell him how much I loved his episode in Extras (it was up there with the Kate Winslet episode in my book). But for now I was happy to stay out of the madness, and enjoy a few moments of eye contact and a smile.
Mind you, if I had been able to speak to Orlando, I would have asked the question every other journalist in the room no doubt wanted to – what will happen if and when he and Miranda decide to fly somewhere together?
As I’m sure you all know, Orlando’s wife, Miranda Kerr, is an ambassador for Qantas. British Airways and Qantas have recently gone through a bit of a separation. Not a complete one, mind you, but they’re both seeing other airlines right now.
After 17 years of British Airways and Qantas being partners, British Airways is now going steady with Cathay Pacific after Qantas hooked up with Emirates.
Sure, they’re all still part of the big One World family, and there are still some flights that they code share on, but some ties have been severed. So it’s an interesting choice for a husband and wife to make.
Perhaps that’s part of the reason Orlando refused to do any interviews while he was in town? Perhaps it was the fact that even if you are in First Class, it can still be a tad tiring to fly from Cannes to Sydney and face a room full of strangers jostling to get a photo with you?
Either way, at the end of the day he didn’t really have to do any interviews anyway. We all instagrammed, tweeted, facebooked, and in my case, did a radio cross and blogged away happily.
And in some cases, the fact that British Airways is offering Australians a free upgrade to first class on one leg when they buy a Business Class ticket before the 15th of June even got a mention.
Well played Orlando BA-BA-Bloom and British Airways.
The next time Orlando was in Sydney I did get to chat to him one on one. Check out what Orlando Bloom thinks of airline pyjamas here.
Love British Airways and attractive British people? You may also want to check out my story on Georgia May Jagger’s fashion parade on one of BA’s 777-300ERs