For those United loyalists who want to book a seat on the airline’s last 747 flights, the carrier has set the schedule for the plane’s retirement later this year.
All the affected routes are out of San Francisco. According to Routesonline.com, the last 747-400 departure from SFO will be a flight to Seoul on October 28, returning October 29.
The schedule for other 747 retirement flights includes San Francisco-Beijing, SFO-Frankfurt, SFO-Taipei and SFO-Tokyo Narita, all set for October 28; a seasonal SFO-London flight through October 27; and SFO-Shanghai service through October 5.
Except for a 787-9 going onto the Shanghai route, the United 747s will be replaced by 777-200ERs. Routesonline notes that the schedule is subject to change.
For nostalgia buffs, the website also posted a “flashback” to United’s January 1979 timetable, showing that the big plane was used on a number of domestic routes at the time. It flew from San Francisco to Honolulu, Newark (via Chicago), and New York JFK; from LAX to JFK, Honolulu and Denver; and from Chicago O’Hare to LAX, JFK, Toronto, Honolulu, Detroit and Denver.
Delta Air Lines is also due to take its remaining 747s out of service later this year, but has not yet issued a schedule, other than saying it will happen in the fourth quarter. For a final ride on a Delta 747, you can fly from Detroit to Tokyo or Seoul. And from Honolulu, Delta is still running the big bird nonstop to Kansai (KIX) near Osaka, Japan.
United and Delta are the last U.S. airlines to fly 747s. But the iconic wide-body will still be available from other carriers. British Airways, for instance, recently overhauled the interiors of its 747-400 fleet, and Lufthansa and Korean Air are flying the newer version of the aircraft, the 747-8. Air China flies a 747-8 between SFO and Beijing.
Chris flew on a Qantas 747-400 last year between SFO and Sydney- check out his Trip Report here.
How do you feel about the retirement of this grand old bird? Please leave your comments below.