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. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Japan bids farewell to United’s Boeing 747 fleet as the airline operated its last scheduled 747 flight from Tokyo Narita (NRT) to San Francisco (SFO) yesterday afternoon. Flight 838, operated by one of the carrier’s 15 747-400 aircraft, took to the Japanese skies for one last time at 4:55pm JST (Japan Standard Time) and arrived in San Francisco at 9:35am PST.
This marks the end of 34 years of United flying the jumbo jet to the Land of the Rising Sun — the majority of the carrier’s flights between US and Japan were operated by the 747 fleet since the inaugural flight between Seattle (SEA) and NRT. As the aircraft prepared for departure, ground crew gathered around with placards and signs in hand to say goodbye to the Queen of the Skies.
United 837, departing daily from San Francisco at 11:45am and arriving at Narita Airport in Tokyo at 2:35pm the next day, will now be served by the airline’s flagship Boeing 777-300ER, which features the latest Polaris Business class seats. The return flight, numbered as United 838, departs Narita at 5:10pm and arrives back in San Francisco at 10:55am.
For now, United 747s are still flying between San Francisco and Taipei (TPE), Beijing (PEK), Shanghai (PVG), Seoul Incheon (ICN), Frankfurt (FRA) and London Heathrow (LHR). Taipei will transition to 777-300ER service from August 1, with the other routes slowly transitioning to other aircraft types by the end of this year. United just took delivery of its 10th 777-300ER, so the airline appears to be on track to retire all 747s by the end of the year.
— Chris Edwards (@AeroimagesChris) June 14, 2017
The aging 747 fleet burns up to 20% more fuel per seat than the 777-300ERs, and incurs higher maintenance cost. As aircraft technology improves, it’s no doubt that the airline is turning to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 777-300ER to improve overall fleet efficiency and reliability.
Images courtesy of United.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards