United Airlines is in the midst of a farewell tour of sorts for its Boeing 747-400 fleet. As we have previously reported, United is retiring its ‘Queen of the Skies’ and replacing it with a combination of Boeing 777-300ERs and the forthcoming A350XWBs at the end of the decade. While the 747 is a majestic aircraft, time has caught up with the jumbo jet. It is not nearly as efficient as the newer large-twin jets and maintenance costs have risen as they have aged.
Still though, United recognizes the important role that the Boeing jumbo has played in the history of the airline. United has operated the type since 1971. They have flown the -400 model since 1989. In a blog post, they stated,
Since her induction into our fleet, the Boeing 747 aka the “Queen of the Skies” has been one of our most recognizable aircrafts with a unique upper deck, giving her an instantly recognizable hump silhouette. Over the years, she’s built up a considerable fanbase, winning the hearts of customers and employees alike. Before she flies into the sunset next month, join us as we pay homage to the Queen of the Skies after 47 years of service with United.
United’s last scheduled revenue flight of a Boeing 747 will be a flight from San Francisco International to Honolulu. It will commemorate United’s first flight in a 747. United also applied throwback titles on one 747 to commemorate the decades of service by the double-decker jet.