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Boeing 747 Routes: Where to Hitch a Ride on the Queen of the Skies

Boeing 747

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The Boeing 747 officially turned 50 years old this weekend, but there’s no guarantee it will celebrate its 60th birthday.

Dubbed “the Queen of the Skies,” the 747 took its first flight on Feb. 9, 1969. The plane with four engines and its trademark hump reshaped air travel, ferrying twice as many passengers and flying much farther than other planes on the market.

But 50 years later, airlines are phasing out these planes in favor of more fuel-efficient alternatives. U.S. Airlines like Delta and United put them to pasture more than a year ago, and it’s only a matter of time before the world’s other top airlines stop flying them, too.

So if catching a ride in the Queen is on your bucket list, here’s where to look. Keep in mind that some of these routes are seasonal, while others are one of several daily departures that might be on other aircraft. So double check to ensure you’ll actually be on a 747.

 

Fly Air China to Beijing

Air China is among those airlines shrinking its fleet of 747s. But it also has some of the newest 747s on the market, so you may be able to hitch a ride on one from San Francisco (SFO) or New York City-JFK (JFK) to Beijing (PEK) for some time.

 

boeing 747

 

Fly British Airways to London

It’s pretty easy to fly on the upper deck of the Boeing 747 on British Airways. But it won’t be that way for long.

British Airways is getting rid of these gas-guzzling planes fast, and plans to stop flying them entirely by 2024. As it stands, you can catch a ride on the Queen of the Skies with British Airways from almost a dozen U.S. cities. Just beware that some of these routes only feature a 747 during the busy summer months.

 

boeing 747

 

Fly El Al to Tel Aviv

Israel’s El Al Airlines still flies from 747s occasionally between the U.S. and Tel Aviv (TLV), but not for long. These flights are sporadic, and the airline intends to retire these massive planes sooner rather than later.

 

boeing 747

 

Fly KLM to Amsterdam

Want to check out Amsterdam in a 747? You’ll want to do it soon, as the Dutch airline plans to ditch its 747s by 2021 or soon after. Still, you’ve got a handful of options to get to Europe on one of these double-decker birds.

 

Boeing 747

 

Get to Seoul on Korean Air

Korean Air is another airline with one of the newest 747 models out there, the Boeing 747-8i. So some of these routes from U.S. cities might fly on a 747 for years to come. But the pickings are slim for U.S. travelers looking to fly to Seoul on a 747.

 

Boeing 747
 

Head to Frankfurt with Lufthansa

After British Airways, Lufthansa has the biggest fleet of 747s in the world. And it has plenty of those shiny new 747-8i’s in service, so this could be the safest long-term bet to fly on a 747 from the U.S for the next decade.

 

Boeing 747

 

Last Chance to go to Australia on a 747 with Qantas

You have to act fast if you want to fly the Queen to the land down under.
Australia’s Qantas is getting rid of its 747s, and fast. After replacing the flight from New York City-JFK (JFK) to Brisbane (BNE) – with a pitstop in Los Angeles (LAX) – with a fuel-efficient 787, there’s just one current flight from the U.S. to Australia on a 747. And Qantas has announced it will swap out this plane in December 2019.

 

Boeing 747

 

Fly with Virgin Atlantic to England

The ultra-hip Virgin Atlantic has a handful of 747s in its fleet, but you’ll have to head to Florida if you want to hop on one from the U.S. Like other airlines, Virgin Atlantic has steadily replaced these gas-guzzling planes with more fuel-efficient alternatives over the years.

 

Boeing 747

 

Bottom Line

The Boeing 747 changed travel forever, but its time is running out. Get on a flight on one of these double-decker planes while you still have a chance.

 

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Lead photo courtesy of Oliver Holzbauer via Flickr

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

6 Responses

  1. David says:

    Why not install new tech engines on the 747-8i and get more fuel efficient aircraft? I would rather fly on the 747 on long haul flights because this aircraft is more confortable and spacious.

    • Nick Serati says:

      It is more than just the engines that create fuel efficiency. Sadly it would be more costly than it is worth to do this.

  2. Vern St Amour says:

    I would imagine that the engineering costs would be prohibitive for such a rather limited number of passenger versions.

  3. BC says:

    FRA-PHL will also be served by a 747. I’m unsure of the exact date but but as AA has stopped, LH is upgauging their flight. I checked random dates in May and a 747 is on the schedule

  4. Teapot says:

    Looks like British Airways will be flying the 747 from Heathrow to Dallas/Fort Worth starting in January of 2020. Ticket is already confirmed!

  5. 747addict says:

    Why don’t put curved solar panels on the wings, elevators, and tail, then power the engines with an electric motor. It’s easy, the motor powers a big gear, which makes a small gear connected to the fan blades go really fast, making the airplane have almost unlimited energy

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