Travel: Stockholm to London

10.00am, Thursday 31 October 1963 (50 years ago)

The Beatles’ 1963 tour of Sweden was a triumph, with crowds of fans following their every move, Beatlemania in full swing, crowds of fans following their every move, and the group playing with excitement and enthusiasm.

On this day they returned to London, taking the morning flight from Arlanda International Airport, about 40 kilometres north of Stockholm. Before they left Sweden Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr gave an interview to TV and radio producer/presenter Klas Burling, whom The Beatles had befriended on the tour.

The group and their entourage flew back in a Caravelle aircraft, in the second class area of a Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) flight. Upon their arrival in England there were thousands of fans at the airport, standing outside in spite of heavy rain.

There were 10,000 people in London Airport when we came back from Sweden. It was just bigger. It began in 1963 but it hadn’t yet reached its peak.
Neil Aspinall
Anthology

Despite having conquered Sweden, The Beatles tour is perhaps best remembered for their arrival back in London. The Beatles initially thought the fans were waiting to see the Queen, but soon realised the extent of their popularity back home.

Many of the fans were wearing Beatle haircuts, and the screams were so loud that they drowned out the noise of the jet engines. National newspaper journalists, dozens of photographers and a BBC camera crew were also present to document The Beatles’ first major airport reception.

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