Skip to content

End of an era: Boeing just finished building the final 747

Dec. 07, 2022
3 min read
Final Boeing 747
End of an era: Boeing just finished building the final 747
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.

The Wright brothers' first flight. The first transatlantic trip. The invention of the jet engine. The introduction of the Boeing 747.

Few moments in commercial aviation history have had as big an impact as Boeing's jumbo jet: It first flew in 1969 and entered service a year later with the now-inoperative U.S. carrier Pan Am. The first wide-body passenger plane and a defining icon of the golden age of travel, the double-decker unlocked routes, continents and new economics for the airline industry; it also allowed carriers to introduce unparalleled levels of luxury.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter.

After more than 50 years, the "queen of the skies" has reached the end of its reign. Boeing this week rolled the final double-decker out of its assembly hanger in Everett, Washington, closing a production line that has been at work since 1967.

The plane, a 747-8 Freighter with the tail number N863GT, is Boeing's 1,574th 747, and it will be delivered to cargo airline Atlas Air in early 2023. Atlas Air received the second-to-last 747 in October, too — tail number N861GT. TPG had a chance to see that airframe on the assembly line in June during a tour of Boeing facilities.

"For more than half a century, tens of thousands of dedicated Boeing employees have designed and built this magnificent airplane that has truly changed the world," Kim Smith, Boeing's vice president and general manager of the 747 and 767 programs, said in a statement.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

"We are proud that this plane will continue to fly across the globe for years to come," Smith added.

While the 747 continues to be optimal for freight carriers, its utility for passenger airlines has diminished recently. With four engines, the plane is more expensive to operate than twin-engine planes like Boeing's 777 or 787. For this reason, many airlines retired their 747 fleets during the 2010s and 2020s, with some plans accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines both retired their 747s in 2017.

Boeing's last passenger 747 was delivered to Korean Air in 2017. Lufthansa, Korean Air and Air China still fly passenger versions of the jets.

Two military variants of the 747-200 — the VC-25A — serve as Air Force One. Two replacement VC-25Bs, based on the 747-8, have been constructed and are expected to be delivered to the U.S. government around 2026 or 2027.

The 747-8 — at 250 feet and 2 inches — is the longest commercial airplane in service. The Freighter has a cargo payload of 133.1 tons, Boeing says — enough to carry 10,699 solid gold bars or, if someone is so inclined, about 19 million golf balls.

Featured image by PAUL WEATHERMAN/BOEING
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

Fair/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees