MIAMI — United Airlines has scheduled the final flight of its Boeing 747-400, ending more than 45 years of history for the Queen of the Skies at United. United Flight 747 will be on November 7th from San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL) the carrier’s final Boeing 747-400 flight in celebration of the type’s retirement. This experience will serve as a throwback for passengers, employees, and guests as it recreates the first 747 flight operated by United in 1970, including the 1970s-inspired menu, the retro uniforms for flight attendants, and much more.
Seats are available for purchase now on United’s website or through the United app. However, as a special experience, the seats on the upper deck of the plane will not be sold. Instead, passengers seated in both United Polaris first class and United Polaris business class will be entered into a drawing at the gate prior to boarding for an opportunity to take a seat on the upper deck during the memorable flight.
The journey will begin with a gate celebration at 9 am local time at San Francisco International Airport, featuring a Boeing 747 gallery, remarks from United employees and executives, and refreshments. The flight will depart from San Francisco International Airport at 11 am local time, landing at Honolulu International Airport at 2:45 pm.
Once the engines are turned off, local employees will welcome the aircraft with final festivities to conclude the emblematic day. United encourages its passengers and fans to use the #UA747Farewell hashtag throughout social media to follow along with the festivities.
United has operated the 747-100, 747-200, 747SP (which came over from Pan Am in 1986), and the 747-400 which first entered service in 1989. Currently, the remaining fleet is based at San Francisco operating to London, Frankfurt, Tokyo Narita, Seoul, Taipei, and Shanghai as United winds 747 service down.
Airways will have a reporter onboard for live coverage.
United and the Boeing 747 through the Years
- April 13, 1966: Boeing announces it will build a 490-passenger 747 transport. Construction is set to begin in June on a new plant in Everett, Washington.
- January 3, 1967: The first production workers for the 747 program arrive in Everett. The 50,000 who would produce the world’s largest civilian airplane were known as The Incredibles, and they earned the label by bringing the Jumbo Jet dream to reality in only 16 months.
- September 30, 1968: The first Boeing 747-100, City of Everett, is rolled out at their Washington plant, painted with the insignias of the 27 airlines that had already ordered the aircraft including United.
- February 9, 1969: The Boeing 747-100 makes its first flight.
- January 21, 1970: The Boeing 747 makes its first commercial flight from New York to London for Pan American World Airways.
- June 26, 1970: Continental Airlines becomes one of the first carriers to put the Boeing 747 into U.S. domestic service, flying from Chicago to Los Angeles and onward to Honolulu.
- June 26, 1970: United Airlines receives its first Boeing 747-100 complete with a christening ceremony fit for a luxury liner. July 23, 1970: United makes its first Boeing 747 commercial flight, with a trip from San Francisco to Honolulu.
- January 1977: A modified Boeing 747-100 is delivered to NASA to serve as a carrier vehicle for the Space Shuttle.
- April 22, 1985: United announces its plan to acquire Pan Am’s Pacific routes, as well as 11 Boeing 747SP planes. The 747SPs feature a 48-foot-shorter body and fly higher, faster, and farther than standard 747 models.
- January 29-30, 1988: Friendship One, a Boeing 747SP owned by United Airlines, sets the around-the-world air speed record of 36 hours, 54 minutes, and 15 seconds. This special flight raises $500,000 for children’s charities through the Friendship Foundation. Tickets cost a minimum of $5,000, and special guest passengers included astronaut Neil Armstrong, famed test pilots Bob Hoover and Lieutenant General Laurence C. Craigie, and Moya Lear, the widow of Lear Jet founder Bill Lear.
- June 1989: United Airlines receives their first Boeing 747-400 which provides increased range.
- August 23, 1990: The first of two modified Boeing 747-200Bs is delivered to the Air Force for presidential transport. Better known as Air Force One, these planes still serve the president today, having replaced the Boeing 707-320Bs that had served as the presidential aircraft for almost 30 years.
- September 1996: A 747SP previously flown by United is transformed into NASA’s SOFIA, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, which carries a 17-ton, 8-foot-wide infrared telescope mounted behind an enormous sliding door.
- June 28, 2014: Boeing delivers the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line. The 747 aircraft is the world’s first wide-body airplane in history to reach the 1,500 production units milestone.
- January 11, 2017: United announces that it will retire the Boeing 747-400 fleet in the last quarter of 2017.
- July 28, 2017: United schedules a special domestic flight from Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco to allow more people to say farewell to the Queen of the Skies.
- October 29, 2017: United flies its last international 747 flight from Seoul to San Francisco.
- November 7, 2017: United celebrates the retirement of the Boeing 747 with a fitting full-circle moment. A special retro event sees the aircraft flying from San Francisco to Honolulu—a nod to its first-ever flight back in 1970.