BA Pays Tribute to Freddie Mercury — Its Most Famous Baggage Handler

Sep 6, 2018

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Half a century ago, young Farrokh Bulsara (better known by his stage name Freddie Mercury) worked as a baggage handler for British Airways at London Heathrow International Airport (LHR). His career eventually took him in another direction as the legendary frontman for Queen, but the airline honored his legacy Wednesday with a tribute performance from his successors.

Freddie Mercury would have celebrated his 72nd birthday on Sept. 5. Unfortunately, Mercury passed away from AIDS complications in 1991, but not before becoming one of the most well-known musical icons of all time.

In honor of its most famous employee, British Airways hosted a surprise for travelers in London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on Sept. 5, enlisting a number of current Heathrow baggage handlers to perform a choreographed dance to Queen’s song, “I Want To Break Free.” The team, who worked with British choreographer Lyndon Lloyd to incorporate bright-colored carry-ons and fake mustaches, practiced for weeks before the viral performance in front of a terminal full of delighted passengers.

Baggage manager Adam Dewey said, “Freddie Mercury is an undisputed rock legend, and it has been an absolute blast planning his birthday celebrations at Heathrow Airport, where he once worked. Myself and the other baggage handlers taking part have put everything into these dance routines, and we can’t wait to see the faces on holidaymakers when they strut their stuff in the arrivals hall.”

Heathrow had other tributes of its own. Terminal 5 celebrated “Freddie Mercury Day” Wednesday, September 5, by offering travelers named Freddie, Fred, Frederick or Farrokh free access to one of British Airway’s posh lounges, along with any travel companions. The airport also posted Queen songs on the arrivals boards and will display memorabilia related to Queen and Freddie Mercury in the departures area of Terminal 5 in anticipation of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the upcoming biopic of Mercury and Queen’s musical legacy, which reaches theaters in November.

Featured photos courtesy of British Airways.

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