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British Airways retires entire 747 fleet.

British Airways, the largest airline to operate 747 passenger service, will immediately retire its entire original jumbo jet fleet of 31 aircraft. This is three years earlier than planned.

I'm going to miss them. Since 2016, the only flight I would take to Europe was the morning BA flight from JFK to LHR. I would pay extra to sit in the upper deck consisting of just 20 seats. It was peaceful, it was quiet, and there were two flight attendants for the 20 of us. I would arrive in London in the early evening relaxed and without any jet lag. Sometimes I was able to get a return flight on a 747 as well but they never seemed to fly the reverse route at the times I preferred.

I'm going to miss them.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53426886

Posted by
24885 posts

What a shame. Although it has been a very long time since I've flown on one I have very fond memories.

Posted by
147 posts

@Frank II 10PM

The end of a lovely queen’s reign. Crying in my beer. Felt the same when Concorde was grounded for good. Qantas has done the same thing. Early days upper deck was a lounge. Before my time. Prior to 2001 could usually con an invite to the flight deck between Singapore and London/Frankfurt for a chat with the boys for an hour or so. Those privileges are all long gone. Now slumming it with the 380’s and 350’s. Think I might get out the old vinyl: Come fly with me or perhaps LA International Airport. Or Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Brings tears to one’s eyes.

God save the queen. Stay safe.

Regards Ron

Posted by
2664 posts

I never did get to fly on the upper crust section of that plane. Only once did I fly on a 747 from Boston. As long as the BA day flight out of Boston is not one to be cancelled, I feel OK. However, I appreciate your interest in that plane and wish I had had the opportunity to travel upstairs.

Posted by
11929 posts

My favorite plane, and we have been privileged to fly on the upper deck numerous times since our first BA business class flight in 2003.

We had two trips to Europe booked in 2020 (March and July), both on BA, both on 747’s at the time of booking. The July flights changed to a 787, and then to 777 when the pandemic hit. Of course we canceled both trips and all flights, so we lost our last opportunity to fly the 747.

I will miss them. I have talked to pilots who said it was their favorite plane to fly.

Posted by
2203 posts

I'm so glad we paid extra to sit in the upper deck on our flights between Austin and London in September 2019. Among other things, I really liked the extra storage bins underneath the windows

The song that popped into my head during those flights, and right now, is the Ventures' version of Telstar - full of early 60's optimism.

Posted by
20973 posts

Ya, I will miss it. It was nice plane especially the upper deck. I can remember when it actually was a bar. Flew it both with Lufthansa and BA. Love that upper deck. Oddest experience was on a Lutfhansa 747 in Denver. Just prior to boarding a food service truck ran into the under belly and poked a hole in the water storage bladder. Just looked like an elephant relieving himself. Needless to say, we didn't fly that night.

Posted by
7122 posts

My 1st flight was on a 747 ( coach) Seattle to Chicago. Having never been on an airplane it was stunning to see the wings 'flap' in flight.

First trip to Hawaii was on Wardair. Got seats in the upper section. There were 2-3 rows of seats and the the front half ha two semi circle sofas. On the way back got to go into the cockpit.

Looks like my last 747 flight has happened. It was on BA and was in the upper level ( Had FF miles and got the seats at the 24hr free at check in process.. I suppose some folks did not want to handle their bags on the stairs?) Felt truly pampered.

Posted by
2329 posts

While the upper deck on the 747 is great, my favorite seat on the plane is 1A in the nose of the plane.

Posted by
20973 posts

Curious, why that seat? Cannot see forward.

Posted by
7122 posts

Curious, why that seat? Cannot see forward.

Unless one is in the cockpit, what does a passenger see 'looking forward'?

Posted by
869 posts

Curious, why that seat? Cannot see forward.

Not perfectly forward, but as close as you'll get to it without being in the cockpit (video linked below shows view from 1A on a UA 747.) Also, 1A on BA is a First Class seat, not Club World like the upper deck. I'm sure that helps, too :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQf-7fgA7H8

Posted by
1169 posts

I didn’t pay extra that I remember but I sat in the front row, window upstairs from Hong Kong to JFK in the early 80s. It was a nonsmoking area. I was offered to go downstairs to first class because someone wanted to switch. The seat would have been just in front of the smoking section. I said no thanks.

Posted by
9211 posts

The reason 1A is a great seat on a 747--I've sat in it--is because of the quiet. There is nothing in front of you. The galleys and toilets are behind the FC seating section and the flight deck is on the upper level. No one passes you since no one is in front of you.

On most planes, there is a forward galley, toilets and flight deck so if you are in the first row of FC on most other aircraft, it's not as peaceful.

Posted by
2329 posts

Missed the follow up question. Eric and Frank II are both correct. I've flown 1A on a KLM 747 Combi and also on a Delta 747 shortly before it retired its fleet -- just business class, not first class.

The seat gives a bit of a forward view, which is rather cool, and it is also very quiet.

Posted by
20973 posts

They all have to go sometime. Showing my age -- I can remember when the 707 was introduced and watch the first flight from Seattle to Chicago. That was the end of the DC 8s.

Posted by
9211 posts

Very strange.

I looked at BA flights this October from JFK to LHR and they show my favorite morning flight. What's weird is they show it flown by a 747. Perhaps it's time to update their booking engine? Or they may be just as confused as everyone else.

Posted by
869 posts

Perhaps it's time to update their booking engine? Or they may be just as confused as everyone else.

It's not just BA...AF still shows an A380 on LAX-CDG from November onward. They'll get around to clearing this up eventually; imagine their route planners are rather busy at this time.

Posted by
7122 posts

....imagine their route planners are rather busy at this time.

This has to be the leading candidate for "understatement of the month" award