The World’s Oldest In-Service 747 Just Retired After Nearly 30 Years

Nov 26, 2018

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.

Planes can’t speak, obviously, but “City of Bangkok” would absolutely inquire about pension benefits if she could. After nearly three decades in service, the world’s oldest Boeing 747-400 has retired following one final flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Amsterdam (AMS) on Sunday. The final passenger voyage was labeled KL602, departing California at 2:13pm and landing in the Netherlands at 9:38am the following morning after 10 hours and 25 minutes in flight.

KL602 won’t skip a beat from its daily departure schedule, but it’ll be a different 747-400 leaving the gate henceforth. Boasting tail number PH-BFB, the newly retired superjumbo was put into service in 1989, reportedly spending more than 134,000 hours in the air and completing more than 18,000 take-offs. As a testament to the incredible efficiency of turning aircraft, that means that it was flying for over half of its service life. The bird becomes the latest in a growing string of 747 retirements, including EVA Air, Delta and United.

With City of Bangkok bidding a fond farewell, it will eventually wind up in the front yard of the Corendon Village Hotel overlooking Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. (If you’d like to waltz through one without traveling to Europe, Delta has made that possible at its Atlanta-based Delta Flight Museum.) Just 11 747-400s remain in KLM’s fleet, with City of Guayaquil (tail number PH-BFG) taking the new crown of KLM’s oldest operating B744; that aircraft was delivered in November of 1990.

Next in line to take the “world’s oldest in-service 747-400” crown? That’d be G-BNLK, registered to British Airways, who has been flying since April of 1990. Ah, millennials.

H/T: Aviation Voice

Featured image of a KLM 747 by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy; additional reporting by Wallace Cotton


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

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.