The Boeing 747 Turns 49 Years Old Today
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.
Oh, how time flies: 49 years ago on Friday, the iconic Boeing 747 first took to the skies — and proceeded to rule the aviation world as the “Queen of the Skies” for nearly five decades. The Jumbo Jet’s reign is coming to an end these days, with the retirement of the last one serving with a major US airline last December.
But you can still get on one from a variety of international carriers, from Lufthansa to Korean Air to British Airways.
Yet there are still hundreds in service, many as cargo carriers. On Friday, on the Queen’s 49th birthday, more than 200 were in the air at one time — and you can track them around the globe in real time:
Head over to flight tracking site Flightradar24.com and enter the aircraft code B74 in the Filter setting to see all B747s up in the air at any moment.
Arguably the most recognizable commercial aircraft of all time, the 747 was a pioneer when it entered service. The first wide-body plane ever produced, the 747 owed its distinctive looks to the “hump” on its upper deck, prominently situated along the front of the aircraft.
Despite their diminishing numbers, 747s can still be seen fairly frequently in the US, mainly at New York’s JFK airport, Miami and Los Angeles, which is where the images in this Instagram were shot.
Today, airlines favor newer, more technologically advanced designs that can ferry 400 people across oceans on two fuel-efficient engines instead of the 747’s four. Delta flew the last US carrier-owned 747 commercial flight in December 2017, following suit after United did so in November.
Featured photo, showing the delivery of the first 747 for Lufthansa in 1970, by Conti-Press/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
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.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- 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.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- 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