BRITAIN'S Olympic hopefuls are today (Wednesday) flying out from Heathrow Airport to Beijing in preparation for the start of this year's games.
The 43-strong Team GB, including rowers, athletes and Paralympic competitors, will board a BA Boeing 747 called Pride after its lion mascot.
Hundreds of BA staff have been working tirelessly to make sure the athletes, and their kit, reach Beijing fully prepared for the games, as well as taking care of their particular dietary requirements.
The airline laid on a special healthy tea in the lounge at Terminal 5 of nutritious fruitcake, sandwiches and fruit juice, to ensure they were in prime shape ahead of the ten-hour flight.
On board, the aircraft was stocked with a range of high-energy snack foods, following consultation with the British Olympic Association, so each athlete receives an extra three litres of water, two pieces of fruit, two bananas, two Fruesli bars, two packets of cereal and two yoghurts.
Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive, said: "As the official airline partner of the British Olympic and Paralympic Teams, we are proud to be carrying Britain's Olympic hopefuls to Beijing. Team BA has put in a winning performance to ensure Team GB's 2008 Games get off to a flying start."
Special headrests wishing Team GB 'Good Luck' have been placed on the plane and will feature on every seat on all British Airways flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong until the Paralympic Games end in September.
A message wall in Terminal 5 will also spell out the airline's well-wishing for those going to the games, while the ornamental horses in the terminal's FIRST lounge will be dressed in Team GB horse blankets.
More than 700 pieces of Olympic equipment; everything from state-of-the-art aerodynamic bicycles to prosthetic limbs, from canoes to tennis balls have been carefully packed and relayed to the Chinese capital.
Other facts about the games and BA:
* BA is carrying 28,000 spectators to and from the Games during August and September
* The Boeing 747-400 has a maximum speed of 608 mph. If a human could run this fast, it would take just four minutes to run a long-distance marathon (26 miles and 385 yards)
* If you were to line up pole vaults between London and Beijing nose to nose, you'd need 1,593,200 in total
* The Boeing 747-400 has a maximum speed of 608 mph. If a human could run this fast, it would take just four minutes to run a long distance marathon.