Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Time to say goodbye to United's 747's

The time to say goodbye to scheduled operations for United Airlines Boeing 747's is rapidly approaching. The airline is retiring the big old jumbo from its fleet and to mark the occasion its announced a special retirement schedule for 7th November.

This special journey will serve as an ultimate recreation for customers, employees and invited guests as it recreates the first 747 flight operated by United in 1970.  It will be a real step back into the golden days of aviation, there will be a 70's inspired menu, retro uniforms for flight attendants and special in-flight entertainment befitting of that first 747 flight. Those lucky passengers will help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style and in a rather fitting and moving tribute, this final flight will be named "Friend Ship" which was the original name of that first United 747 flight on the San Francisco to Honolulu route. 

Tickets for this special one-way trip, United flight 747, are available for purchase now via United's website and in a special twist, seats on the upper deck will not be for sale in order all guests the chance to spend time in this iconic space.

Read more on the special flight and a timeline of the 747 with United

The schedule for the day starts with gate celebration at 9 am local time at San Francisco International Airport. Here there will be some photographs of the iconic Queen of the Skies, remarks from United employees and executives, as well as refreshments. The actual flight departs San Francisco at 11am and will touch down in Honolulu at 2.45pm local time. The flight will be welcomed by local employees with some final celebrations to mare the day. 

United and the Boeing 747 timeline. 

April 13, 1966: Boeing announces it will build a 490-passenger 747 transport. Construction is set to begin in June on a new plant in Everett, Washington.

January 3, 1967: The first production workers for the 747 program arrive in Everett. The 50,000 who would produce the world's largest civilian airplane were known as The Incredibles, and they earned the label by bringing the Jumbo Jet dream to reality in only 16 months.

September 30, 1968: The first Boeing 747-100, City of Everett, is rolled out at their Washington plant, painted with the insignias of the 27 airlines that had already ordered the aircraft including United.

February 9, 1969: The Boeing 747-100 makes its first flight.

January 21, 1970: The Boeing 747 makes its first commercial flight from New York to London for Pan American World Airways.

June 26, 1970: Continental Airlines becomes one of the first carriers to put the Boeing 747 into U.S. domestic service, flying from Chicago to Los Angeles and onward to Honolulu.

June 26, 1970: United Airlines receives its first Boeing 747-100 complete with a christening ceremony fit for a luxury liner.

July 23, 1970: United makes its first Boeing 747 commercial flight, with a trip from San Francisco to Honolulu.

January 1977: A modified Boeing 747-100 is delivered to NASA to serve as a carrier vehicle for the Space Shuttle.

April 22, 1985: United announces its plan to acquire Pan Am's Pacific routes, as well as 11 Boeing 747SP planes. The 747SPs feature a 48-foot-shorter body and fly higher, faster, and farther than standard 747 models.

January 29-30, 1988: Friendship One, a Boeing 747SP owned by United Airlines, sets the around-the-world air speed record of 36 hours, 54 minutes, and 15 seconds. This special flight raises $500,000 for children's charities through the Friendship Foundation. Tickets cost a minimum of $5,000, and special guest passengers included astronaut Neil Armstrong, famed test pilots Bob Hoover and Lieutenant General Laurence C. Craigie, and Moya Lear, the widow of Lear Jet founder Bill Lear.

June, 1989: United Airlines receives their first Boeing 747-400 which provides increased range.

August 23, 1990: The first of two modified Boeing 747-200Bs is delivered to the Air Force for presidential transport. Better known as Air Force One, these planes still serve the president today, having replaced the Boeing 707-320Bs that had served as the presidential aircraft for almost 30 years.

September 1996: A 747SP previously flown by United is transformed into NASA's SOFIA, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, which carries a 17-ton, 8-foot-wide infrared telescope mounted behind an enormous sliding door.

June 28, 2014: Boeing delivers the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line. The 747 aircraft is the world's first wide-body airplane in history to reach the 1,500 production units milestone.

January 11, 2017: United announces that it will retire the Boeing 747-400 fleet in the last quarter of 2017.

July 28, 2017: United schedules a special domestic flight from Chicago O'Hare to San Francisco to allow more people to say farewell to the Queen of the Skies.

October 29, 2017: United flies its last international 747 flight from Seoul to San Francisco.

November 7, 2017: United celebrates the retirement of the Boeing 747 with a fitting full-circle moment. A special retro event sees the aircraft flying from San Francisco to Honolulu—a nod to its first-ever flight back in 1970.

This article was written for this site by a member of our team 🙋, please do share it with your friends via social media. You are also welcome to post it or republish elsewhere on the 🌎web on the condition that you credit the author and link back to our site. Thank you.

 ♻ We care about the environment, please think twice before you hit ‘print’