Setting the Scene: James Bond’s Role in Setting Travel Trends


    Image: Fabrizio Morra

    APEX Insight: Feature films and TV series are inspiring audiences to take the show on the road. In this section of the multipart feature, we explore how James Bond’s jet-setting adventures set travel trends.

    Writer Ian Fleming’s Agent 007 burst onto the movie screen in 1962’s Dr. No, in an era when the glamor and cachet of jet travel had permeated the public psyche. Long before social media, the idea of connecting the world through high-speed air travel was popularized by the movies, television and magazines of the time. The rich and famous were featured flying to far-flung destinations in what seemed to be the blink of an eye.

    So it only made sense for Bond, ably played by Sean Connery, to travel on a Pan American World Airways Boeing 707 to exotic locations in search of nefarious criminals. Pan Am was the iconic jet-setter airline, and its 707 aircraft were featured in the early Bond movies, either climbing away with black exhaust spewing from their turbojet engines or landing in a cloud of smoke.

    From Monte Carlo to Macau, and Rio to Rome, travelers can create an itinerary that follows in Bond’s footsteps.

    Then, in 1973’s Live and Let Die, 007 entered the wide-body age. In his first outing as Bond, actor Roger Moore flew on one of Pan Am’s Boeing 747s to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, arriving at the airline’s UFO-shaped and futuristic – for the time – Worldport terminal.

    James Bond movies have been highly successful, no matter the actor playing the titular role (Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, hasn’t been able to play his dream role as the spy, but still makes a cameo in Casino Royale). Passengers can usually find at least one of the movies in the series available during a trip and the franchise’s popularity certainly isn’t waning – according to a 2016 Qantas Airways survey, Spectre (released in 2015) was the airline’s most watched in-flight film.

    For those who want to channel their inner Q, there are any number of websites and blogs listing the locations that appear in every 007 movie. From Monte Carlo to Macau, and Rio to Rome, travelers can create an itinerary that follows in Bond’s footsteps, crisscrossing the globe.

    But – 007 and 707? Must be a coincidence! Isn’t it, M? 

    “Setting the Scene” was originally published in the 7.3 June/July issue of APEX Experience magazine.