Queen legend Brian May’s guitar gets £10K VIP treatment on flight to Hollywood


Brian May and British Airways

Brian would NEVER have entertained the Red Special flying in an aircraft hold – but suppose it makes a story…

6 November 2014 by Katie Hind

May would not let the Red Special guitar, which he built in his father’s workshop in Feltham, Middlesex, 40 years ago, fly in the hold, reports Katie Hind from LA. Queen legend Brian May paid £10,000 to make sure his beloved guitar got the VIP treatment on a flight from London to Los Angeles.


May’s Red Special guitar was due to fly in the hold on its journey to the Classic Rock Awards in Hollywood. But when the rock star found out, he was worried it would get damaged, so he made sure it was given the expensive upgrade on the British Airways flight.

A source close to May, 67, revealed: “There is no way he would have allowed it to be treated like any other piece of luggage. A member of staff and the guitar were bumped up to first class where he had to purchase a seat for it as it couldn’t go in the overhead locker. It was the only option so he made sure it was treated to the full VIP works. There are few things in Brian’s life that he is as passionate about as his guitar.”

May built the guitar in his father Harold’s workshop at the family home in Feltham, Middlesex, 40 years ago. The Red Special is credited as being a key part of Queen’s success in their heyday.

Queen, who have had American Idol winner Adam Lambert standing in as frontman, won Band of the Year at the awards on Tuesday. After picking up the gong, May said that having Lambert, 32, performing with them had given them a new lease of life.
He stepped in to take the late Freddie Mercury’s role for a world tour.

The guitarist said: “We have no plans to stop, we are going to keep going for as long as we can, forever hopefully.”

On Tuesday the band release their new album, Queen Forever, which features three previously unreleased tracks sung by Mercury who died from an Aids-related illness in November 1991.

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