Crews donned 1970s retro uniforms and customers were offered items from a “1970s-inspired” menu. The crowd assembled for the flight seemed to appreciate the effort. This is an airplane that redefined travel,” said Henry Harteveldt, a longtime veteran of the airline industry who now runs the Atmosphere travel consultancy. 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. 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. Delta’s final flight on the 747 also is on the horizon. The older an aircraft gets, the more costly it becomes to operate. 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. The company is also slashing 20% of its staff, and … “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. Of the 36 still in its fleet, British Airways said half will be gone by 2021 and the rest by early 2024. Its gloriously curved profile made it the most recognizable airliner ever to fly. 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. The plane will likely be retired at an airline graveyard near the Mojave Desert. John Cotter has flown commercial aircraft in the United States for two decades, and is rated to fly the 777, 787 and 747. YOUR TAKE: Boeing 747 photos from readers (story continues below). That's fine for them, but as any aviation geek will tell you, the 747's flight into the sunset is a sad time. 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. But the 747 isn't just about what it could do, it's also famous for how it looked. 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. When it comes to aircraft, the phrase “age ain’t nothing but a number” doesn’t really apply. “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. Next Tuesday, Nov. 7 marks the last Boeing 747 flight for United Airlines. 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. The reason behind this short-notice decision for an early retirement is the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis and resulting travel restrictions around the world. Delta’s last flight on the plane will come next month, meaning no U.S. carrier will by flying the aircraft into 2018. Like United, Delta’s last 747 also will head to a southwestern salvage yard, likely in early 2018. The Queen of the Skies (yes, it will always have that title) changed the world forever from the moment it first flew in 1969. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. (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. The remaining 747s still in the air that are operated by US airlines are represented by a few charter jets and cargo operators. 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. 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. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. The upper deck remains the best place in the air -- quiet, intimate and supremely smooth. A number of other global airlines — including Air France and Hong Kong’s Cathay — have retired their 747s recently. “It’s a grand finale, no question,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said from the jet’s upper deck just before takeoff. The flight landed in Honolulu shortly after 3 p.m. local time Tuesday, retracing United's inaugural 747 route from 1970. It invested in the aircraft back in 1970 and went on to own 88 aircraft in four variants. But that’s what it was Tuesday morning at San Francisco International Airport as United Airlines bid farewell to its last Boeing 747. United rolled out a “throwback” theme for the flight, an attempt to recreate the carrier’s first-ever passenger flight on the 747. Secondly, the older an aircraft becomes, the more maintenance it requires. The 747-100 first entered service with Pan Am in 1970. According to Investopedia, fuel accounts for 10-12% of operating expenses. And I loved every minute. [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. The first United 747. Increasingly, carriers have looked to Boeing’s 777 and 787 or Airbus’ A350 and A330 when buying new widebody jets. Take a tour of United’s 747 fleet through the years and see how you can follow the final flight. Editor's note: Check back later Tuesday for photos and updates from the farewell flight festivities. “It’s bittersweet. 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. But what about those 747 fleets in the US? 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. But, for passenger flights on U.S. airlines, the end is near. United Airlines Set To Retire Iconic Boeing 747 Fleet On Nov. 7 With Vintage Honolulu 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. What United has allowed to happen to its 747 fleet is very sad, but it was, unfortunately, predictable. Even Economy Class could be comfortable with the aircraft's high ceilings and wide cabin. 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. [32] China Airlines Will Retire 747 Passenger Fleet In Early 2021. British Airways has said it will retire all of its Boeing 747s as it suffers from the sharp travel downturn. We have seen the early exit of the aircraft from some renowned 747 fleets, including British Airways’. In nearly 50 years of service, United operated the 747-100, -200, and -400. 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. 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. We take a look at some of the largest carriers in the United … The retirement ends the iconic plane’s 47-year run at United, which took its first version of the jet in 1970. The original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747, is the most iconic passenger plane in history, give or take the Concorde. The freighter version of the jet remains a staple for some U.S. cargo carriers, such as UPS and Atlas Air. 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. 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. SAN FRANCISCO — It sure didn’t feel like a curtain call. 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. It seems that 2020 has been the year for Boeing 747 retirements. “It’s the last 747 flight. 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. Against the backdrop, the mood on Tuesday was one of celebration as United’s 747 readied for its ride into the sunset. The bulk of the fleet is old, and getting older. As deeply connected as we all are to this iconic aircraft, the time has come to retire our 747 fleet from scheduled service. Not coincidentally, that first flight also flew from San Francisco to Honolulu. N4703U operated for the airline until 1986 when it was transferred to Pan Am. United took delivery of its first 747-100 on 26 June 1970. “When they said it was going out with style, this is style,” Vanderford said shortly before boarding began. 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. The UK airline is the world's largest operator of the jumbo jets, with 31 in the fleet. 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. It is the most glorious commercial passenger jet aircraft ever. The move away from the four-engined 747 comes as newer fuel-efficient two-engine models have gained favor among the world’s airlines. Clearly, the old bird impressed. 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 final shuttle mission was completed with the landing of Atlantis on July 21, 2011, closing the 30-year Space Shuttle program. 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. 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. 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. Firstly, as technology develops, newer aircraft of similar size and range achieve higher rates of fuel efficiency. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 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. United pulled out all the stops to evoke the magic of that era on Tuesday’s flight. I remember flying it as a kid, on this exact route — San Francisco to Honolulu.". Marks the last Boeing 747 retirements and customers were offered items from a when did united retire the 747. 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