As good as gold: Chicago is one of Barbara’s most flown routes


Going for Gold: Barbara Charone

Barbara Charone
Barbara Charone

Between launching Madonna’s career and partying with the Rolling Stones, legendary music publicist and former journalist Barbara Charone has spent decades globe-trotting with music icons. To celebrate a newly released memoir of her musical adventures, the Gold for Life Member talks about her rock and roll travels

Why do you fly with British Airways?
I’ve always flown British Airways. I like it. I think once you’ve flown with someone enough, you stick with them. If you go somewhere regularly enough where a particular airline flies it’s not that difficult to build up Avios. Plus, it’s British, and there’s something special to me about that. Sometimes when there’s turbulence, on American flights the pilot doesn’t say anything. In my experience, British Airways pilots have always spoken. It’s civilised.

Which route are you on the most?
Chicago (pictured top of page) because my mom lives there and it’s where I’m from. I used to go to New York a lot before the pandemic and then also LA – those are my three places in America. I’m a big fan of all the big cities. I used to go to Antigua twice a year before the pandemic.

Do you fly a lot for work?
Before the pandemic, being a music publicist I’d be flying regularly, taking journalists to see bands. Everything stopped. Now it’s all starting to come back.

What’s been your biggest ‘How did I get here?’ moment?
Being in the studio with the Rolling Stones when they recorded Some Girls in the 1970s was one where I had to pinch myself.


Where is the favourite place you have travelled recently?
I went to Crete (pictured above) for the first time last October. It was beautiful.

Aisle or window?

Tell us about your in-flight routine.
Noise cancelling headphones are a must. I always change into sweatpants and a T-shirt when travelling long haul – I can never understand why people would want to sit in the same clothes for nine or ten hours. When I’m flying from England to America, I’ll always have a nap if I can, then I’m more ‘in the time’. A glass of wine is always good before landing – not in the morning, though. Then it’s coffee or tea.

“I’m one of those turn-left girls”

Last good book you read on your travels?
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

What would you listen to on board?
When I’m flying, I listen to a lot of Rufus Wainwright, Paul Simon and Simon and Garfunkel if I want to drift off.

What’s your favourite cabin?
I’m one of those turn-left girls – it’s the biggest treat in life. Also the new Club Suite is unbelievable.


Favourite thing about being a Gold for Life?
Being able to take advantage of The First Wing is unbelievable. Also, when the lounges were shut during the pandemic, I really missed them (pictured: the Galleries Club Lounge). I know it sounds crazy, but they always come up to you in First on the plane and say, “Hello Ms Charone, welcome back” – it’s really nice.

Any favourite hotels out there?
I stay at super amazing hotels now, which I didn’t always. I always associate the Sunset Marquis in LA with music. It’s legendary with rock musicians, and the whiskey bar was known for shenanigans in the old days. I also love Hotels Arts in Barcelona. Barcelona is one of my favourite cities in the world.

Where’s your bucket list destination?
I don’t have one, really. I’m a person of routine. I like the Caribbean. I went all over the Caribbean and then landed on Antigua. Going back to the same hotel and people knowing you is a good thing.

Access All Areas: A Backstage Pass Through 50 Years of Music and Culture
is out now

This article has been tagged BA, Travel Tips