Will This Be the Last Passenger 747 Ever Delivered?

Aug 1, 2017

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.

In 1968, the first Boeing 747 rolled out of the hangar to gasps. The gigantic “jumbo jet” was nothing like any passenger jet that came before it. Now, just shy of 50 years later, another chapter in the 747 era is coming to a close.

A couple of weeks ago, we shared with you the roll out of the last outstanding passenger 747 order. Yesterday, Jennifer Schuld provided us stunning photos of the takeoff this Korean Air 747-8 headed to Seoul (ICN) on its delivery flight — potentially the last ever passenger 747 delivered for commercial aviation:

There remains just one last passenger 747 on Boeing’s order books: a March 2, 2017 order from “Unidentified Customer(s).” Unless Boeing can convince another carrier to order the 747, this unknown buyer will have the distinction of getting the last-ever produced passenger 747.

If you’re still interested in flying the Queen of the Skies, there aren’t many more options left from US carriers. United just operated what some assume will be the last domestic 747 flight. Delta and United both plan to fully phase out their 747s by the end of the year.

However, foreign carriers are still flying plenty of 747s. British Airways just refreshed 18 of its newer 747-400s, planning to milk another decade out of these aging birds. While BA’s Club World business class hard product isn’t anything special, I’d still recommend grabbing a seat upstairs on a BA 747.

Lufthansa 747-8 748 upper deck business class cabin

The upper-deck business class on a Lufthansa 747-8. Image by JT Genter

But, you don’t have to rely on an old 747-400 to get your Jumbo Jet fix. There’s a newer, much better version of the Queen of the Skies. However, just three airlines — Air China, Korean Air and Lufthansa — operate this new 747-8. Of the two flights I’ve had on the “748,” I can definitely recommend the Lufthansa business-class upper deck (review coming soon!) over Air China economy.

While it’s a passenger favorite, unfortunately economics is dooming the future of the 747. No matter how much General Electric improves the efficiency of the 747 engines, the simple fact is that a four-engined aircraft can’t compete with the fuel efficiency of twin-engined long-haul planes. With engines as reliable as ever, there’s no need to spread out engine power across more engines in case of failure. While fuel prices are relatively low right now, airlines are ever-wary of what’s to come in the future and are continuing to order fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft, instead.

So, while the end of this era is understandable, it’s certainly a sad day for us AvGeeks. And hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy a couple more decades of life out of the few dozen 747-8 ordered by Air China, Korean Air and Lufthansa.

Featured image courtesy of Boeing.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.