End of an era…

The venerable Boeing 747 is no longer in passenger service with any American airline… Full article, HERE.


The first time I flew on one was 1972, with Braniff. It was a brand new (1 year old SP-1 747). And I think it was this airplane, since I remember that color scheme. Dallas to Honolulu, in the last row…

But I was young and having fun… šŸ™‚

Over the years I flew on Pan Am, TWA, and a number of foreign 747s. My last 747 flight was from Sydney to LA, in 2014, on one of the last United 747s to make that run. It even had the throwback paint scheme!

Through a combination of luck and knowing the bus driver, I had a ‘considerably’ better seat on that one. Just sayin…

It was Jon’s last flight as a 747 check captain, and I’d been sitting in the cockpit talking to him, not realizing the door was closed. The purser was ‘less than pleased’ when she came stomping up to the cockpit about a missing passenger… Sigh…

The ‘strangest’ 747 I ever flew on was from NRT-OKA on an ANA bird.

The interior is also all Pokemon characters, and it’s ALL coach seats at Japanese pitch, which is barely 30 inches… There were over 400 people on board, and the airplane boarded in 25 minutes!!!

The 787 is a much nicer ride, and a little faster too, but there will always be a soft spot for the 747!



End of an era… — 16 Comments

  1. Hey Old NFO;

    Yeah, I have a soft spot for the 747, my employer just parked our last one in the desert last week. It was bittersweet. I will post a video or 2 in a couple of days.

  2. The 747 was a fine ride and an elegant aircraft for what it was, but I’m with you on the 787. The Dreamliner is a leap forward in many respects, burns less fuel, is more comfortable and is my aircraft of choice as a passenger. I didn’t know that the US carriers had stopped using the 747. I can’t help but think that the 767 isn’t far behind. The 767 is much more comfortable from a passenger perspective than the 757 or 777 IMHO.

  3. Back in the day I smashed bags for Braniff while a post military service college student. Braniff had exactly one B-747. Guess everyone thought all their B-747s were painted orange. Quite an example of well organized maintenance and management.

  4. The 747 will always be special to me. It was a great leap forward in air travel. We flew as a family back to the old country-Norway-in 1961 on a DC-6 prop liner from Mew York, with stops in Gander and Iceland. A decade later, it was on an SAS brand-new 747 non-stop NY to Copenhagen. What a difference!

    I enjoyed the old DC-6, but the leap forward in the jet age comfort was remarkable. Sad to see the 747 go.

  5. Huge risk for Boeing when they built it.
    Hard to imagine it’s been in service what… nearly 50 years?
    I’ve never ridden in one and that fact, like missing the Concorde, will forever be a regret.

  6. I didn’t know any body was still flying the 747 in the US; I thought they had all been surplused a couple years ago.
    They are holding the 747 line open for the new Air Force One; it is expected to be the last two 747’s built.

    The 767 is also on its way out of fleet use; Boeing offered it for the new Air Force tanker in part to keep the line open.

    I’ve never flown a US airline 747, only Korean Air several times in the 1990’s.

  7. I can remember sitting for hours one time in the mid-ā€˜70s waiting to board our Air Canada connecting flight to St Johns Nfld. A magnificent and shiny new 747 filled the windows at the gate and I was soooo excited at the prospect of flying in it. Unfortunately, when we boarded, it was onto the stretch-8 that was hidden behind it, lol. Major disappointment, but I got my chance a few times in later years, including on TWA 001 between St Louis and Honolulu.

    Another memory is sitting in restaurant in JFK, watching 747 after 747 lined up on final out to infinity, coming in to land at the end of their trans-Atlantic flights. Iā€™m sure one can still see something similar today, but nothing can match the majestic appearance of a 747. Or dozens of them lined up to forever.

  8. Back and forth to Africa several times on a 747. The wife and I always booked 3 coach seats in the upper deck. Cheaper than two business class seats.

  9. I flew once to Frankfurt via Heathrow.
    There might have been ten of us on the flight.
    I put up a few arm rests and slept after the movie and a conversation with another passenger. One I remember to this day for the effect it had on me. Still remember the movie, too.

  10. I remember seeing the first 747 test flight. It flew over our house. Neat airplane!

  11. All- Thanks for the comments! The line is still open for ‘cargo’ 747-800s, they are still the best cargo acft in the world!

    Posted from my iPhone.

  12. My first 747 experience was in May 1975.

    My flight itinerary was from Guam to Honolulu on a MAC flight and then TWA from Honolulu to Chicago with a short layover in LA. Talk about jet lag.

    The Guam to Honolulu flight was about 9 hours and you cross the international date line. We arrived in Honolulu mid afternoon and my flight to Chicago was to leave that night about 11:00 PM. It was a 747 and it was the first time I had ever seen one much less ride in one.

    When we left Honolulu the plane was full, not an empty seat that I saw. Honolulu to LA was another long plane ride and I was completely exhausted by the time we arrived in LA.

    When we arrived in LA all but 12 passengers got off that plane. (This was before the hub and spoke system and I guess they had to get the plane to Chicago.) There were more crew than passengers! Rather than have all of us scattered about that cavernous cabin, they had us all move up to the first class section. On that particular plane first class was in the nose. It was nice and it was comfortable and the cutest girl I ever saw sat right next to me. (…I think it was the uniform.) She tried her best to chat me up, but very unfortunately for me, I was too exhausted from my travels up to that time, and I just couldn’t stay awake to save my life.

  13. After 2 years in Korea my return flight was in the last row, center section, of a 747. Makes for a VERY long flight.

  14. Hey, OldNFO – boy does this bring back memories! I lived in Dallas until 1975, grew up about a mile from Love Field, and used to hang out there watching planes. Remember seeing the big old orange 747 when it first came to DAL, was a big event for the city in late 1970 or early 1971. Dang, did it seem big – we all wondered how it could stay in the air…

    The other thing I remember about Braniff was their outfitting stewardesses in Puccini-designed uniforms, including ‘hot pants’. Can you imagine the caterwauling if an airline did that today?