United Airlines which currently has one of the largest fleets of Boeing 747 “Jumbo Jets” in the world has announced that they will retire its entire fleet of Boeing 747s before the end of the year. In a fitting tribute to the iconic aircraft, United has scheduled a final flight on November 7 from San Francisco to Honolulu. This announcement from United comes just days after Delta Airlines flew its last commercial domestic flight using the Boeing 747 on September 7. United Airlines issued a press release announcing the details of the farewell flight on their website.
The company has revealed that the final Boeing 747 flight would “serve as an ultimate throwback” for customers and will attempt to recreate the mood from the first ever United Boeing 747 flight from 1970. The cabin crew, interiors and even the menu would “dressed up” in a retro theme. The aircraft that made the maiden Boeing 747 flight nearly 47 years ago was named the “Friend Ship,” and this is what the aircraft that would be used in the final flight would also be called.
The company also threw open the bookings and all the tickets sold out in less than two hours. United also confirmed that they would not sell all the tickets for the iconic upper deck so that a few lucky people who book the flight would stand a chance to get upgraded to the select number of seats available there. While some seats would be reserved for first and business class ticket holders, there will be a raffle to select a group of economy class ticket holders to gain access to the upper deck. United adds that the celebration will begin even before the flight takes off — starting with a gate celebration at 9 a.m. The scheduled departure time for the flight is 11 a.m. local time. The aircraft will land at Honolulu at 2:45 p.m., local time.
For nearly 50 years, United Airlines operated the Boeing 747 across several of its long-haul routes. Once the biggest passenger aircraft in the world, the Boeing 747 was surpassed in size and capacity by the newer Airbus A380. However, large four-engined aircraft like the Boeing 747, Airbus A340, and even the newer Airbus A380 are considered to be too expensive to maintain and even to run — thanks to the advent of newer fuel-efficient aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350.
While Boeing has a newer version of the Boeing 747 called the 747-8, response to this larger, more fuel-efficient jumbo jet had been less than enthusiastic.
[Featured Image by Eric Risberg/AP Images]