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United’s Last B747 Makes Its Final Flight

Today, at 11:00 local time, United Airlines’ last in-service B747, tail number 8418, will make its final passenger flight from San Francisco to Honolulu. That particular B747 was added to United’s fleet in 1999. As is the fate of most retired commercial planes, its final resting place will be the so-called airline graveyard in the Mojave Desert.

The flight commemorates United’s first commercial B747 flight, in 1970, also between San Francisco and Honolulu. Flight attendants will be wearing retro uniforms, and meal service will feature “1970s-inspired” food items (no specifics from United on the menu). The upper deck has been set aside as a community space, allowing all passengers a chance to experience what was once considered the ultimate in inflight luxury and comfort.

Tickets for the flight sold out within two hours, attesting to the popularity of the plane over its decades-long dominance of long-haul air travel. But time and technology march on, and more efficient aircraft, like Boeing’s B777, have pushed the B747 off the playing field. Delta’s final B747 flight was on September 7.

United’s B747 Souvenir Auction

Want to take home a piece of the Queen of the Skies? MileagePlus members can bid their miles or pay outright for a wide range of items from scrapped United B747s, including seats (offered outright for 250,000 miles), an oxygen-pressure indicator (100,000 miles), an air-speed indicator (70,000 miles), a standby altimeter (120,000 miles), and so on.

Proceeds from the B747 souvenir sale will benefit Air Camp, “a hands-on, educational adventure in aviation and aeronautics helping young people nationwide achieve their potential in STEM-related fields.”

Interested? Don’t delay: The sale ends at the end of the day of the final B747 flight, Tuesday, November 7.

Reader Reality Check

Do you have fond memories of flying the B747?

More from SmarterTravel:

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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