Pass the M&Ms: the thrills of flying on Air Force One

Mar 14, 2012

Journalist who travelled with David Cameron on Obama's plane describes the 'cut above' experience


NOW WE KNOW what souvenir of Daddy's trip to America the Prime Minister's children are likely to receive on his return – packs of chocolate M&Ms bearing the presidential seal and Barack Obama's signature.

They're one of the treats given to passengers aboard Air Force One, on which David Cameron travelled with his host to last night's basketball game in Dayton, Ohio.

According to records, he's the first foreign leader to take a trip on what's been called the flying White House since Obama came to power, a fact touted as evidence of the special relationship between 'Dave and Barry', if not Britain and the US.
Cameron wasn't the only Brit to see the inside of the plane yesterday - the Press Association's political editor Andrew Woodcock also climbed aboard. His description of the experience was read out during the review of the papers on Sky News last night.
"The president's official plane is a cut above the chartered commercial jets which the Prime Minister uses when he travels abroad," said Woodcock. "With plush leather seats and boardroom-style tables, flowers in vases and wardrobes for your coat, the plane feels more like a flying hotel room."

Obama and Cameron spent the 80-minute flight from Washington ensconced in the president's private office, which is kitted out with high-tech communications equipment, presumably discussing what to do about Syria and Afghanistan.
The Guardian, in a pre-flight article posted earlier this week, had described the plane's interior as "surprisingly beige". Decoration of the three-level, 4,000 sq ft space was, reputedly, the work of Nancy Reagan and, despite later technological advancement, its aesthetic remains stuck in the 1980s.

But Woodcock was having none of this nay-saying. He's actually travelled on the plane – he's got the M&Ms to prove it – and can say with authority: "Somehow, even a paper napkin seems a little glamorous when it bears the slogan Welcome Aboard Air Force One".

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