It was a day late due to an unforeseen cancellation, but Delta’s final commercial 747 flight from the U.S. took off on Monday, December 18 from Detroit to Seoul Incheon.
Delta said the Sunday departure had to be scrubbed “due to an inability to fully staff the flight with its required four pilots.” Unhappy passengers who had booked the Sunday flight were provided with meals and hotel rooms, and rebooked on the extra Monday departure if they still wanted to go.
“While there was disappointment in (Sunday’s) cancellation, dozens of Delta customers and employees stopped by a 747 historical display near the McNamara Terminal’s signature fountain to share stories and remembrances of the 747,” the airline said.
The Seoul flight took off from DTW on Monday and returned from Seoul to Detroit on Tuesday – and that was the final commercial 747 flight for any U.S. carrier.
Meanwhile, another Delta 747 was taking a domestic “farewell tour”, flying on Monday from Detroit to Boeing’s Paine Field in Everett, Washington – the home of the Boeing factory where it was manufactured. Passengers on that flight were mostly Delta employees and retired, along with some SkyMiles elites who had successfully bid to take part.
From Paine Field, the aircraft went on an eight-minute flight to Seattle-Tacoma International – “one of the shortest 747 flights ever,” according to passenger Enrique Perrella, publisher of Airways Magazine.
Perrella was one of several posters on Twitter who have been tracking the farewell tour, which was due to continue on from SEA this week to make stops in Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Los Angeles for final viewings by employees. A Delta 747 is still due to fly a few NFL charters in December before its final retirement by the end of the month.
If you still want to see a Delta 747, you can always visit the Delta 747 Experience, a walk-through exhibit of a retired Delta aircraft. It’s located near Atlanta Hartfield Jackson Airport at the Delta Museum. Here’s Chris’s report from his trip to the Delta 747 Experience earlier this year.
What are your thoughts and feeling about the retirement of the 747? What do you think of it’s replacements, such as the A350, B787, B777 and A380? Favorite or least favorite?