It’s mind boggling to me that this is true. I didn’t realize this transformation was taking place or the length of time some of these 747s have been flying. I haven’t been on an Airbus 350 yet, but I distinctly remember my first flight on a 747. Now planes are just transportation appliances, but at one point I knew the ins and outs of each type of plane being flown.
So 47 years for the 747? Was that intentional?
It’s not over, except for the scheduled US airlines. They’re still flying with some non-US airlines, British and Qantas notably, as well as with US charter outfits. 747-8 freighters are still in production, and there are 747-8 passenger planes yet to be delivered. That includes the new “Air Force One” planes. Boeing has not yet taken either model out of their “catalog”.
Correct: the key phrase is the last by a US passenger airline.
If, for example, a Quantas flight from Sydney to LA to NY uses a 747, you can book a ticket for the last leg and be on a passenger flight in the US.
I’ve never actually flown on a real one. (But I’ve been in the “cockpit” of a Boeing 747 simulator.)
I’ve only flown in one ever. Coach, absolute middle. I think one window was marginally closer, but the distances were so great I couldn’t be sure.
A coworker flew in one being delivered with no interior. The pilot got up during the long flight and ran laps in the cabin.
KLM and Lufthansa are currently flying 747s on the Houston-Amsterdam and Houston-Frankfurt routes, although I believe KLM will be phasing theirs out in the next couple years or so. As mentioned, several carriers continue to use them as freighters.
Took one to Hong Kong, sitting in Business on the upper deck. The flight attendant was #11 in seniority for flight attendants, having started with flying commercial runs to Vietnam during the war, shuttling Bob Hope, etc. We hung out while I just listened to her stories.
I got bumped to First Class from Hong Kong to JFK decades ago.
It was quite the luxurious experience!
Although you can’t book a ticket for just the last leg since it’s illegal for foreign airlines to carry domestic passengers.
I was booking out of Bozeman, Montana for Christmas in 1975 to see my Mom and sister her husband, probably Dec 23, and I was on a puddle jumper across Montana and the Dakotas that stopped three times before we got to Chicago. It was a messy crowded flight on a 727, I believe. Got into Chicago at 2-3 in the morning and groggily stumbled into the next plane and sat down next to this guy because I was expecting the same cattle car conditions, and he said, Hey buddy, beat it, there’s a million seats. I looked around me for the first time, and I realized we were on an almost empty 747. It was filling in for the route, I guess, because all the other planes were busy. And we stopped once before New York, maybe twice. It was my only time on a 747.
Before the new airport, the approach to Hong Kong Kai Tak was a little unusual. The ILS aimed you into the side of a hill in Kowloon; at under 2 miles from touchdown and 1000’ agl, the crew had to fly a manual 47-degree right turn to line up with the runway. That’s a steep turn, and you’d be looking down the dipped wing into the windows of people’s apartments.
And this was a major airport - they flew everything into there. Long before 9/11, mid-1990s I think, I was on a Cathay 747 and the crew agreed to let me sit in the jumpseat for the landing. I thought it best not to ask questions until we were on the ground, but they were cool as cucumbers.
I guess if you’re retiring the 747 fleet you have to do something with them.
I remember when the 747 first came out. My friend’;s father was a commercial pilot, and he brought back a souvenir matchbook that , when opened, a folded 747 sprang out of, with its characteristic “bump”
dome. I thought at the time that it was outrageous that an airplane would have an “upstairs” accessibly by a spiral staircase.
Only worked on one in my almost 40 years at the big airplane company and that was in the early 80’s. Flew on them twice, once from Chicago to Seattle, then a few years ago, San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand.
Was on one recently to Paris. Kind of a bumpy ride.
Used to take them from Hawaii to SFO, we would sit right in the first row in the nose. Not that interesting.
British Airways is painting a 747 with BOAC livery. There’s a good chance this will fly to the US regularly until it’s retired in 2023.
I’ve always felt that Boeing missed an opportunity by not putting in a windshield for the passengers in the lower cabin to have a better view.
Flew to China on an old 747-200 combi that was a long and cramped flight. Flew recently business class 747-400 Lufthansa up in the nose, which was the most comfortable flight I’ve ever been on. (edit) And on a 747-200 Britsh Airways, which was bland economy but I had a whole seat row to myself.
International travel seemed like a dream at work be point in my life, before I worked for a Japanese import company and did four to six trips from Japan to the US or Europe per year. All in couch and the vast majority of those in a 747.
A rough calculation show several hundred thousand miles on 747s, with gar too many of them being 12 hours or more and in a crowded cattle car.
Cool planes, but I’d rather enjoyed them from the outside now.
In the 80’s I rode my share of 747’s to Japan/Korea/Phillipines and a couple trips to England/Amsterdam in the 90’s, but the vast majority of International travel now is Boeing’s 767/777/787 or Airbus’s A330/A340/A350/A380…even overseas, the 747 is becoming a rarer bird.