We have seen the early exit of the aircraft from some renowned 747 fleets, including British Airways’. Taiwanese-carrier China Airlines has four 747-400 aircraft in its passenger fleet, but has the distinction of operating the final 747-400 passenger variant produced, which rolled off the Boeing assembly line in 2005. The outlook isn’t all doom and gloom for the 747, however. Photo: Getty Images A prominent yet small fleet Tickets for the 374-seat jet sold out in hours, despite fares of $550 and up for the one-way flight to Hawaii. The company is also slashing 20% of its staff, and … You'll have better luck finding the jumbo jet outside the country with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Thai Airways, KLM, Qantas and Lufthansa keeping their 747-400s in the air through at least 2020. Farewell, 747. The first of 23 Boeing 747-100s came to United in … “The 747 has been in United’s fleet for 47 years.”. United Airlines will retire its fleet of Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets by the end of 2017. Almost all classic (pre-400s) 747s predate 1989 (the last nine were delivered in 1989–91), and the oldest -400 entered service in 1989 this month. Delta Airlines is the last US airline still flying 747-400, but it will say goodbye to its remaining aircraft the end of this year. John Cotter has flown commercial aircraft in the United States for two decades, and is rated to fly the 777, 787 and 747. United Continental Holdings Inc said on Wednesday it had advanced the retirement of 747s from its service to the fourth quarter of this year from end-2018. Still, if you want to catch a ride on the 747-8, book a ticket on Lufthansa, Air China and Korean Air. You flew me from San Francisco to London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Sydney. The flight landed in Honolulu shortly after 3 p.m. local time Tuesday, retracing United's inaugural 747 route from 1970. Since it first entered service with Pan Am in 1970, Boeing has built more than 1,500 747s in a variety of standard and custom models. Unfortunately, the prospects aren't great for the latest version of the aircraft either. Qantas' 747 retirement came six months early due to the impact of the pandemic on air travel. Take a tour of United’s 747 fleet through the years and see how you can follow the final flight. And a handful of foreign carriers with recent orders for passenger 747s are likely to maintain scheduled service on the jumbo jet at least through the next decade. In nearly 50 years of service, United operated the 747-100, -200, and -400. But that does not mean the 747 is going away completely. (Nov. 7), First look: United's Boeing 747 farewell flight was one to remember, United's farewell flight for the Boeing 747 sells out in less than 2 hours, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. He always thought the 777 was the nicest-landing plane on the market, that is until late last year when he was retrained to fly one of the oldest aircraft in his company’s fleet, the 747-400. Delta’s last flight on the plane will come next month, meaning no U.S. carrier will by flying the aircraft into 2018. The plane will likely be retired at an airline graveyard near the Mojave Desert. MORE: First look: United's Boeing 747 farewell flight was one to remember. According to Investopedia, fuel accounts for 10-12% of operating expenses. British Airways has said it will retire all of its Boeing 747s as it suffers from the sharp travel downturn. ARCHIVES: United's farewell flight for the Boeing 747 sells out in less than 2 hours, “I had to be here,” said John Vanderford, 56, of Detroit, as he partied with other Flight 747 customers prior to boarding. What United has allowed to happen to its 747 fleet is very sad, but it was, unfortunately, predictable. Last March, we announced that this would occur by the end of 2018; now we plan to operate our last 747 flight in the fourth quarter of this year. [32] “It’s a fitting send-off in the most dignified way for the ‘Queen of the Skies’.”. United Flight 747 took off around noon PT, about an hour later than scheduled because of slow boarding and a maintenance delay, departing from Gate 86 after a de facto party among those ticketed on what went into the books as United’s last-ever passenger flight on the 747. Just this week, British Airways — the world’s largest remaining operator of the 747 — confirmed its plans to begin phasing out the jet. MIAMI — United Airlines has prompted the phase-out of its Boeing 747-400s, now set to leave the fleet in the last quarter of 2017, as announced today in the morning by Scott Kirby, president of the Chicago-based carrier. As deeply connected as we all are to this iconic aircraft, the time has come to retire our 747 fleet from scheduled service. The retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle fleet took place from March to July 2011. KLM first introduced the 747 in 1971, at that time a 747-200, and was therefore originally planning to end its history with the aircraft type exactly 50 years later, in 2021. The first United 747. Not coincidentally, that first flight also flew from San Francisco to Honolulu. End of An Era-United To Retire 747s Today; Delta By End of 2017 The end of an era is fast coming to a close. The company will officially retire the Boeing 747 from its fleet on Nov. 7. “The advent of the new aircraft, while not as iconic or romantic, are certainly incredibly efficient and wonderful vehicles for transportation," Munoz, the United CEO, said. That's fine for them, but as any aviation geek will tell you, the 747's flight into the sunset is a sad time. If you're lucky enough to fly in the nose section, an area usually reserved for First Class, it almost feels like you have your own private house in the sky. © 2021 CNET, A RED VENTURES COMPANY. Its gloriously curved profile made it the most recognizable airliner ever to fly. The upper deck remains the best place in the air -- quiet, intimate and supremely smooth. When it first announced the flight back in September, United promised the old-school vibe would “help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style.”. United Airlines’ 747 fleet. Even Economy Class could be comfortable with the aircraft's high ceilings and wide cabin. SAN FRANCISCO — It sure didn’t feel like a curtain call. The future of vertical farming is hiding in this shipping container, HP's latest Elite business laptops add flexibility to your work-from-home experience, Discuss: How Boeing's 747 changed air travel forever, Vaccine seems to fight coronavirus variants, When it comes to airplanes, you never forget your first love, Joe Sutter, the 'father of the 747,' dies at 95, For this pilot, flying isn't just a job, it's incredible (Q&A). A number of other global airlines — including Air France and Hong Kong’s Cathay — have retired their 747s recently. Following Tuesday’s flight, the plane will return empty to San Francisco before making its final flight to an airline “boneyard” in the California desert later this week. But that’s what it was Tuesday morning at San Francisco International Airport as United Airlines bid farewell to its last Boeing 747. “When they said it was going out with style, this is style,” Vanderford said shortly before boarding began. Of the 36 still in its fleet, British Airways said half will be gone by 2021 and the rest by early 2024. Newer and more efficient aircraft including the Boeing 777 will take their place, letting the airline cut fuel costs and no doubt pleasing many of its passengers eager for modern amenities such as seatback TVs in economy. The Queen of the Skies (yes, it will always have that title) changed the world forever from the moment it first flew in 1969. “It’s just an evolving aspect of what we all do.”, IN PHOTOS: The world's first Boeing 747 gets a makeover, IN PHOTOS: One of the last airworthy Boeing 747-200s flies into retirement, Raw: United's last 747 departs San Francisco, United Airline's iconic Boeing 747 plane, nostalgically dubbed the 'queen of the skies,' took its last flight from San Francisco on Tuesday. It invested in the aircraft back in 1970 and went on to own 88 aircraft in four variants. “It’s the last 747 flight. The trend extends beyond U.S. shores as the passenger version of the 747 faces flagging fortunes elsewhere. Next Tuesday, Nov. 7 marks the last Boeing 747 flight for United Airlines. Once one of the largest operators of the original jumbo jet (the airline took its first 747 in 1970), United has slowly been retiring its 747s over the last few years. All on board had booked the flight specifically to be on the last 747 departure, a special one-off flight scheduled by United in September to give the famous jumbo jet a proper farewell. Though Boeing is still building the 747-8 Intercontinental, lower-than-expected sales for the model have led the company to indicate that it may shut the production line completely. Editor's note: Check back later Tuesday for photos and updates from the farewell flight festivities. The remaining 747s still in the air that are operated by US airlines are represented by a few charter jets and cargo operators. The older an aircraft gets, the more costly it becomes to operate. We take a look at some of the largest carriers in the United … “It’s bittersweet. Click through the gallery above to see the 747's full history. As United Airlines finally retires the original jumbo jet after almost 40 years, the 747's long and illustrious history lives on. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. YOUR TAKE: Boeing 747 photos from readers (story continues below). Delta Air Lines marked the retirement of its Boeing 747s this week with a six-city tour, the last U.S. airline to retire the jumbo jet. The last of the airline's 16 jumbo Boeing 747-400s flew to a desert retirement, ending travel operations by passenger airlines in the United States. “It’s a grand finale, no question,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said from the jet’s upper deck just before takeoff. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. But, for passenger flights on U.S. airlines, the end is near. The 747 is flying its final route today on UAL and Delta will retire their fleet by the end of the year leaving no US Airline operating one of them. Not only is the actual labo… But the Queen of the Skies’ days are numbered there, too. The bulk of the fleet is old, and getting older. The reason behind this short-notice decision for an early retirement is the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis and resulting travel restrictions around the world. This is an airplane that redefined travel,” said Henry Harteveldt, a longtime veteran of the airline industry who now runs the Atmosphere travel consultancy. Increasingly, carriers have looked to Boeing’s 777 and 787 or Airbus’ A350 and A330 when buying new widebody jets. China Airlines Will Retire 747 Passenger Fleet In Early 2021. It seems that 2020 has been the year for Boeing 747 retirements. The Boeing 747-400 is being retired from fleets across the globe, with Qantas aiming to retire its Boeing 747s within the year and British Airways within the next few years. United took delivery of its first 747-100 on 26 June 1970. Clearly, the old bird impressed. The move away from the four-engined 747 comes as newer fuel-efficient two-engine models have gained favor among the world’s airlines. The party continued onboard Tuesday as United Flight 747 took its spot in the record books. The retirement ends the iconic plane’s 47-year run at United, which took its first version of the jet in 1970. United Airlines Set To Retire Iconic Boeing 747 Fleet On Nov. 7 With Vintage Honolulu Flight [30] [31] Delta Airlines was the last US airline to operate the Boeing 747, retiring the last of the 747-400 fleet it inherited from Northwest Airlines in December 2017. Delta’s final flight on the 747 also is on the horizon. Now, with United’s 747 out of service, Delta is the only U.S. passenger carrier that still flies the jet. The crowd assembled for the flight seemed to appreciate the effort. Once one of the largest operators of the original jumbo jet (the airline took its first 747 in 1970), United has slowly been retiring its 747s over the last few years. Secondly, the older an aircraft becomes, the more maintenance it requires. The 747 brings fond memories via British Airways, KLM, United Airlines, Singapore, Air New Zealand, Air France and All Nippon in the 80’s and 90’s. United pulled out all the stops to evoke the magic of that era on Tuesday’s flight. And I loved every minute. United rolled out a “throwback” theme for the flight, an attempt to recreate the carrier’s first-ever passenger flight on the 747. It is the most glorious commercial passenger jet aircraft ever. But what about those 747 fleets in the US? Against the backdrop, the mood on Tuesday was one of celebration as United’s 747 readied for its ride into the sunset. As for United, the airline will move on to newer aircraft — newer models of the Boeing 777 — to help it replace the flying that had been done on the 747. Crews donned 1970s retro uniforms and customers were offered items from a “1970s-inspired” menu. The final flight departed from Naha, Japan, on the island of Okinawa, at 1:22PM, setting a course for Tokyo’s Haneda airport two hours away. United to retire 747 in October By Edward Russell 2017-03-20T12:52:10+00:00 United Airlines will retire its last Boeing 747-400 in “late October” after nearly half a century with the carrier. On January 11, 2017, United announced it would begin phasing out its 747-400s and made its last 747 flight on November 7 that year. Discovery was the first of the three active Space Shuttles to be retired, completing its final mission on March 9, 2011; Endeavour did so on June 1. I remember flying it as a kid, on this exact route — San Francisco to Honolulu.". When it comes to aircraft, the phrase “age ain’t nothing but a number” doesn’t really apply. The freighter version of the jet remains a staple for some U.S. cargo carriers, such as UPS and Atlas Air. That’s 30 years ago. MIAMI — All Nippon Airways retired its last Boeing 747 aircraft on Monday.The original jumbo jet had been a workhorse for the carrier, and for the nation it served, since the 1970s. But the 747 isn't just about what it could do, it's also famous for how it looked. The final shuttle mission was completed with the landing of Atlantis on July 21, 2011, closing the 30-year Space Shuttle program. United Airlines’ Boeing 747-400 aircraft performed its last ever passenger flight on November 7th, 2017 when flight UA 747 took off from San Francisco, California for Honolulu, Hawaii. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Once in Hawaii, the farewell party continued into the evening -- first at the arrival gate, then in Honolulu's Waikiki neighborhood as many of the Flight 747 passengers made their way into the city. United Airlines plans to fly its last Boeing Co. 747 jumbo jet late this year, retiring its largest airplanes a year ahead of schedule as the iconic aircraft glides into the sunset. United Airlines is accelerating the retirement of its Boeing 747 jumbo jets, saying its last flight on the “Queen of the Skies” will now come this year. N4703U operated for the airline until 1986 when it was transferred to Pan Am. The 747-100 first entered service with Pan Am in 1970. Of the major American carriers, United Airlines had the most extensive commercial 747 fleet. Avgeeks, take heart: even with United’s retirement and Delta’s planned send off, you can still catch a flight on a 747 if you fly internationally. The UK airline is the world's largest operator of the jumbo jets, with 31 in the fleet. The retirement ends the iconic plane’s 47-year run at United, which took its first version of the jet in 1970. Its immense size (seating about 500 passengers -- far more than any other airliner at the time) made air travel cheaper and mass tourism possible, its cargo version brought us the age of Amazon and it's carried everything from heads of state, to giant telescopes to the Space Shuttle. Like United, Delta’s last 747 also will head to a southwestern salvage yard, likely in early 2018. Simple, really. While I would not fly on a United 747 as a passenger, I enjoy watching any 747 taking off, landing or taxiing. The original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747, is the most iconic passenger plane in history, give or take the Concorde. Firstly, as technology develops, newer aircraft of similar size and range achieve higher rates of fuel efficiency. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. 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