The 747 is Here to Stay — For Now
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
While most airlines are bidding farewell to their 747-400s and upgrading to new aircraft for their fleets, British Airways has taken a bold step and decided to give its Queen of the Skies a full makeover instead.
The makeover will incorporate the look of the new fleet, with touch-screen entertainment systems and new curtains, seats and carpets. Sixteen additional Business Class seats are being retrofitted as well; there will now be 86 total on each jumbo jet, which is only 11 fewer seats than on BA’s flagship A380.
According to George Ferguson, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, BA is counting on another “a good 10 years of life at least” from roughly 21 of its 747s. (The rest are being retired, as they were replaced with Airbus A380s, along with 787-9s later this year.)
Delta and United are retiring their 747 fleets, meanwhile, with Delta planning to cease 747 operations by 2017 and United phasing out its own jumbos beginning the same year. Meanwhile, other carriers such as Air New Zealand and Malaysia Airlines have already scrapped them entirely. So is there something BA knows that others don’t? What’s going on?
As always, it comes down to money. The 747s are almost paid for, fuel prices are low, and retrofitting has a much more attractive ticket price than a brand-spanking-new plane. In addition, the retrofit allows BA to get the most out of its operating slots at London Heathrow (LHR), its main hub, with the 747s being assigned to high-volume destinations like Chicago, Boston and New York.
- Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
- New! Get ready for your next trip - spend $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to get you there sooner.
- Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
- Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees