Two of transatlantic aviation's biggest rivals put aside their differences yesterday to relaunch commercial flights to the United States with a rare, dual takeoff on Heathrow's twin runway.
Virgin Atlantic and British Airways coordinated for a synchronised relaunch of commercial flights at 8:51am GMT.
British Airways service BA1 - Concorde's old flight number - and Virgin VS3 departed for New York's JFK international airport in twin Airbus A350s.
After more than 600 days since the Covid Pandemic shut the US's borders to regular commercial travel, both airlines teamed up to give one another equal chance at being the first airline to return to the US.
It was hard to say if the carriers were putting rivalry aside or setting up a race, but it provided for a rare moment, sure to set aviation fans' hearts a flutter.
With on-board Wifi available on both planes, photos from takeoff show both aircraft neck and neck.
Crossing the 3,440km stretch, flight data had both planes shadowing one another across the north Atlantic.
British Airways' chief executive Sean Doyle said the end of the two-year hiatus was a moment to celebrate, and the air route was only set to become more important.
"Transatlantic connectivity is vital for the UK's economic recovery, which is why we've been calling for the safe reopening of the UK-US travel corridor for such a long time. We must now look forward with optimism, get trade and tourism back on track, and allow friends and families to connect once again."
Less than eight minutes separated their arrival in New York City at 5am this morning (11am Local time).
VS3 touched down with a flight time of 7 hours and 58 seconds, just 7 minutes and 33 seconds ahead of BA1 according to Flight Radar 24.
"Today is a time for celebration, not rivalry. The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years," said, Virgin Atlantic's chief executive, Shai Weiss.
However, the excitement didn't stop both aircraft shaving almost 55 minutes off the average flight time.
For both airlines, crossing the Atlantic is the majority of their long-haul business. It represents 40 per cent of BA's commercial business, almost 48 per cent of Virgin's.
During the 20 month hiatus on regular US-UK services both airlines have reported losses and thousands of job losses.
Although vaccinated American travellers have been able to travel to the UK and the EU since summer, the opening of two-way travel to vaccinated tourists is a lifeline to the air industry.