CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Sussex Life today CLICK HERE

Enjoying a flight in the British Airways i360

PUBLISHED: 10:17 20 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:17 20 September 2016

Mirrored underside of the British Airways i360 pod. Photo by Kevin Meredith/British Airways i360

Mirrored underside of the British Airways i360 pod. Photo by Kevin Meredith/British Airways i360

Kevin Meredith

Brighton’s new seafront landmark the British Airways i360 opened in August. Duncan Hall was among the first to travel up the world’s tallest moving observation tower

When the West Pier opened in 1866 it was sold as a chance to walk on water.

Exactly 150 years later the British Airways i360 offers the opportunity to walk on air. The world’s tallest moving observation tower opened its pod doors to visitors for the first time in early August. From a height of 138m (452ft) up to 200 visitors can enjoy an unbroken 360 degree vista across Brighton, the South Downs and even on a clear day as far as Beachy Head, the Seven Sisters and the Isle of Wight.

Sadly cloudy skies prior to the official opening prevented invited media, including Sussex Life, from seeing quite so far. But despite the mist the experience was still breathtaking as the pod noiselessly ascended the 162m (531ft) tower. Cameras and mobile phones were much in evidence as everyone searched for their favourite landmarks or former homes among the cityscape – and realised how little they really knew about their home town.

“We can’t recreate the much-loved West Pier,” said architect and British Airways i360 chairman David Marks at the press launch. “But we can offer a modern-day equivalent. It’s a world-first design and construction as the West Pier was in its time.”

He and fellow architect-entrepreneur Julia Barfield – who previously worked together on the London Eye – have spent 12 years putting the seafront project together. “It shows that if enough people fight for something hard enough then the impossible can happen,” added David. “As Nelson Mandela said: ‘It always seems impossible until it is done’.”

“British Airways i360 is a fantastic example of European co-operation,” said Julia. “The team includes many key individuals and firms we worked with on the London Eye and it has been our privilege over the past 12 years to see the commitment, determination and enterprise with which they have turned the designs and plans into reality.”

The steel tower, which lights up at night, was crafted in the Netherlands. It has been awarded with a Guinness World Record for the world’s most slender tower at just 3.9 metres. The glass came from Italy, and the tower dampers – which ensure the pod barely moves despite howling winds on the media preview – came all the way from Australia.

Visitors can enjoy a drink from the Nyetimber Sky Bar within the pod as they admire the view. And work is continuing on the Belle Vue restaurant and West Pier Tea Room which is based on a reconstructed West Pier toll booth. A replica toll booth also houses the on-site ticket office.

Tickets for 20-minute day flights, or half-hour night flights after 6pm, cost £13.50 in advance for an adult, or £15 on the day. Children aged four to 15 are half-price, with £11.25/£12.50 concessions for students and the over-60s. Priority flights including fast-track entry and a guide book cost £22.50 per person. Annual passes are also available for £90 or £45 per child. Brighton and Hove residents can sign up for discount tickets, and every child attending a state school in Brighton and Hove between the 2016 and 2017 school year will be offered a flight.

For more information visit


Gatwick Airport at 80: How such a large-scale business is run - This year Gatwick Airport celebrates 80 years serving residents of Sussex, Surrey and all over the UK. Steve Roberts visited to find out how such a large-scale business is run


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About


New Street Bar & Grill is the James Bond of casual dining, as we discover

Read more

Treat yourself, family and friends to lunch and afternoon tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Sussex tea rooms

Read more

There’s not much more invigorating than a Sunday stroll across our countryside on a crisp winter afternoon. Here we round up some of our favourite Sussex walks to enjoy this winter

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Sussex this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What could be nicer than a sleepy Sunday afternoon in one of our beautiful Sussex pubs? Here are some of our favourites…

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With the South Downs, quaint villages and coastal trails, Sussex is a great place for a walk. Here we round up some of the best

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Steeped in history and tradition, this East Sussex town is the perfect place to discover your inner rebel

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

With late-night shopping, fairs, Christmas markets and plenty of food and drink, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive offerings in Sussex

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

With views, cosy pubs, endless walks and lively towns and cities, Sussex is the only place to be during the holiday season

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Not everything is what it seems in the West Sussex town of Petworth as we discover

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Enjoy the tranquility of Verdley Wood on this circular pub walk

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ideally situated for commuting to London and Brighton, this West Sussex town offers the perfect blend of rural and urban living

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Clive Agran’s monthly investigation of Sussex’s hidden past turns homeward as he visits Bodiam, Northiam and Ewhurst Green

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Sheffield Park and Garden near Haywards Heath is a paradise for photographers. Especially during the autumn months…

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Property Search