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UA 747-400 retirement


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#1 Seaboard92

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 12:45 PM

Today marks the last day for public United 747 flights recreating the original maiden flight of their 747 fleet from SFO-HNL operating as UA 747 for a flight number. With vintage uniform, entertainment, and menu. Along with the name the "Friend Ship".

Departs SFO at 11 AM PT.

I believe UA is going to still fly it to their larger terminals for a going away party for airline employees only.

Of note Delta still operates a small fleet of 747-400s for the next month or so.
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#2 jis

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 12:58 PM

And the likes of British Airways and Lufthansa will continue to fly them for many years to come too.


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#3 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 01:58 PM

And the likes of British Airways and Lufthansa will continue to fly them for many years to come too.

 
As will KE presumably, but as passenger aircraft or freighter conversions?  It would seem that the era of wide body sub fleet passenger service is going the way of the dodo.  Each of the 747's technical strengths have been outclassed by other aircraft.  It's no longer the largest or the longest range or the most efficient or most desirable.  In fact when it comes to passenger perception a 747 may as well come with propellers.  In any case the combination of UA+747+HNL is rather curious choice for a victory lap.
 
20101006_united_811.jpg
 
united-811-cap.jpg

after_landing.jpg


I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#4 Maglev

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 02:45 PM

As I grew up on Maui, I have many memories of United 747's.  

 

The first time I saw one was at Hilo Airport in 1973.  A couple months later, I rode 747's from Honolulu to Boston via San Francisco (we had to change planes at SFO due to an engine reverser problem).  At that time, there was a coach lounge on the planes with couches, and I spent much of the flights there.  Boston was fogged-in, and we made several attempts at landing before diverting to New York. 

 

The flight attendants wore muu-muus or aloha shirts, and served macadamia nuts in little tetra-packages.  Movies were projected on a screen at the front of the cabin, and earphones were plastic tubes that transmitted sound from speakers in the arm rests.  There was always a "Half Way to Hawaii" sweepstakes on board, where passengers tried to guess the time the halfway point was reached to win a bottle of champagne. 

 

Although I don't smoke, I like the smell of cigarettes and used to always sit in the smoking section on the plane.  On one 747 to Hawaii, the woman sitting next to me dropped a burning butt and it landed on a fur coat that a passenger had stashed under her seat.  The coat started to smolder, and a flight attendant quickly remedied the situation.  A few moments later, another person (I was told this was probably a Boeing engineer and not a flight crew member) came and started pulling off wall and floor panels to look for sparks.  It was somewhat disconcerting to see how fragile the plane was under the thin interior veneer. 

 

My first (late) wife's daughter was a United Flight Attendant based in Honolulu, and she knew many of the crew for flight 811 shown in DA's post above.  Because I had United travel privileges, I usually flew smaller planes directly in and out of Maui.  I never flew first-class on a 747.  


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#5 jis

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 06:10 PM

And the likes of British Airways and Lufthansa will continue to fly them for many years to come too.

 
As will KE presumably, but as passenger aircraft or freighter conversions? 
BA and LH plan to run theirs in passenger service, specially LH’s 747-8i, for over five years. 

BTW the aircraft in the photos is not a 747-400. It looks like a 747-100 of some variety. It was a flight to Australia via HNL, when the 747s (except the SP) did not have the legs to fly non stop to Australia from the US lower 48.

In any case the combination of UA+747+HNL is rather curious choice for a victory lap.
 
20101006_united_811.jpg
 
united-811-cap.jpg

after_landing.jpg


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Edited by jis, 07 November 2017 - 06:13 PM.


#6 Seaboard92

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 08:09 PM

That was a B747-122 in the picture.
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#7 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 08:38 PM

The flight attendants...served macadamia nuts in little tetra-packages. Movies were projected on a screen at the front of the cabin, and earphones were plastic tubes that transmitted sound from speakers in the arm rests.


I love macadamia nuts. Especially when they're baked into cookies or coated in milk chocolate. Those projection movies were really impractical though. Any little bit of light drowned out the picture and any turbulence would shake the screen. Those air tube headsets sounded terrible and if you disconnected them without turning down the volume the horrible tinny sound would come blasting out of the armrest.



 

It was somewhat disconcerting to see how fragile the plane was under the thin interior veneer. My first (late) wife's daughter was a United Flight Attendant based in Honolulu, and she knew many of the crew for flight 811 shown in DA's post above.


Most of the strength of a modern aircraft comes from the shape and the pressure differential. The widebody combi subclass was a groundbreaking concept that had the favorable economics and market momentum to become the dominant variant, but poor structural integrety and lazy implementation doomed it from the start.


 

BA and LH plan to run theirs in passenger service, specially LHs 747-8i, for over five years. BTW the aircraft in the photos is not a 747-400. It looks like a 747-100 of some variety. It was a flight to Australia via HNL, when the 747s (except the SP) did not have the legs to fly non stop to Australia from the US lower 48.


It was a 741 Combi SUD. In the next five years there will be a lot more than just the 744 that falls out of widespread usage. Last I checked IB was occasionally flying a A345 and a few airlines were still flying the A346, although most are marked for early retirement. I've already missed out on taking the A346 from LAX-LHR with VS (D'oh!) and the JFK run will likely end sometime in the next few months. Gotta get my butt on one of those flights before they follow the Concorde, DC-10/MD-11, and L-1011 into missed opportunity land.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 08 November 2017 - 08:07 PM.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#8 railiner

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 12:55 AM

As I grew up on Maui, I have many memories of United 747's.  

 

The first time I saw one was at Hilo Airport in 1973.  A couple months later, I rode 747's from Honolulu to Boston via San Francisco (we had to change planes at SFO due to an engine reverser problem).  At that time, there was a coach lounge on the planes with couches, and I spent much of the flights there.  Boston was fogged-in, and we made several attempts at landing before diverting to New York. 

 

The flight attendants wore muu-muus or aloha shirts, and served macadamia nuts in little tetra-packages.  Movies were projected on a screen at the front of the cabin, and earphones were plastic tubes that transmitted sound from speakers in the arm rests.  There was always a "Half Way to Hawaii" sweepstakes on board, where passengers tried to guess the time the halfway point was reached to win a bottle of champagne. 

 

Although I don't smoke, I like the smell of cigarettes and used to always sit in the smoking section on the plane.  On one 747 to Hawaii, the woman sitting next to me dropped a burning butt and it landed on a fur coat that a passenger had stashed under her seat.  The coat started to smolder, and a flight attendant quickly remedied the situation.  A few moments later, another person (I was told this was probably a Boeing engineer and not a flight crew member) came and started pulling off wall and floor panels to look for sparks.  It was somewhat disconcerting to see how fragile the plane was under the thin interior veneer. 

 

My first (late) wife's daughter was a United Flight Attendant based in Honolulu, and she knew many of the crew for flight 811 shown in DA's post above.  Because I had United travel privileges, I usually flew smaller planes directly in and out of Maui.  I never flew first-class on a 747.  

Great memories, thanks for posting them! :)

 

I recall when UAL used to call Hawaii, "Our Little Corner Of The World".....that was back when United was a mostly domestic carrier, "The Largest Airline In The Free World"...and Hawaii was their most "exotic" destination.

I flew on UAL Flight Two, which was a 747 from HNL to ORD to EWR....the flight attendants all started out in the leisure style Hawaiian uniforms, but when we awoke approaching O'Hare, they all had changed into the formal business suit type uniforms.   And during the turnover of most of the passenger's at Chicago, the whole atmosphere on board changed as well...from a big party, to a 'commuter flight' full of business suits...

 

On our flight, the contest was to guess when we would be "feet dry", that is, when we would be back over land.   I won! :cool:


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#9 fairviewroad

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 11:51 AM


I believe UA is going to still fly it to their larger terminals for a going away party for airline employees only.
 

 

Not with the aircraft used on the "final flight." According to Flight Radar, it's currently on its way to the airplane graveyard in Victorville.

 

https://twitter.com/...657811902517248



#10 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 02:54 PM

 

And the likes of British Airways and Lufthansa will continue to fly them for many years to come too.

 
As will KE presumably, but as passenger aircraft or freighter conversions?  It would seem that the era of wide body sub fleet passenger service is going the way of the dodo.  Each of the 747's technical strengths have been outclassed by other aircraft.  It's no longer the largest or the longest range or the most efficient or most desirable.  In fact when it comes to passenger perception a 747 may as well come with propellers.  In any case the combination of UA+747+HNL is rather curious choice for a victory lap.

Twinjets such as B737's, B777's, A330's, or A350's are subject to ETOPS, which is a limiting factor of their reach. As for KE, last I heard was that they are converting 747-400's into freighters (after using them in short hop domestic flights), but they do have 747-8F's and 747-8I's on hand (They started operating 747's since 747-200B's and 747SP's).


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#11 jis

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 03:12 PM

With ETOPS 330 is the restriction in reach even really of any consequence any more for any of the currently flown commercial routes?



#12 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 04:35 PM

And the likes of British Airways and Lufthansa will continue to fly them for many years to come too.


As will KE presumably, but as passenger aircraft or freighter conversions? It would seem that the era of wide body sub fleet passenger service is going the way of the dodo. Each of the 747's technical strengths have been outclassed by other aircraft. It's no longer the largest or the longest range or the most efficient or most desirable. In fact when it comes to passenger perception a 747 may as well come with propellers. In any case the combination of UA+747+HNL is rather curious choice for a victory lap.


Twinjets such as B737's, B777's, A330's, or A350's are subject to ETOPS, which is a limiting factor of their reach. As for KE, last I heard was that they are converting 747-400's into freighters (after using them in short hop domestic flights), but they do have 747-8F's and 747-8I's on hand (They started operating 747's since 747-200B's and 747SP's).


Other than Australasia I don't think twin jets have been much of an operational limitation since ETOPS 180. With the ETOPS 330 range it's a non-issue outside of Antarctica.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#13 MARC Rider

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:29 PM

 

Although I don't smoke, I like the smell of cigarettes and used to always sit in the smoking section on the plane.  

 

Ah yes, those were the days when you could smoke on a plane!  

 

And back in the days, it wasn't just cigarettes they let you smoke. When I was in  college, I used to fly TWA or United from PHL to ORD, and back then a I smoked a pipe.  I have a distinct recollection of puffing away on a flight back to school and filling the cabin with pipe tobacco smoke.  Of course, thinking about it now, I cringe at the though of how I asphyxiated my fellow passengers, but back then, nobody bothered me about it.

 

My favorite experience, though was once, after I got to Chicago, I had to transfer to a Greyhound bus to get me to school.  As the bus was pulling out of the Chicago Greyhound terminal (back when it was in the Loop and underground), the driver gave a long spiel about the trip at at the end said, "Tobacco smoking only is allowed only in the last 3 rows."  I cracked up at his strong emphasis on the word "tobacco," as back in the day, there was another herbal substance that was widely smoked but technically not legal, although de facto legal from about 1968 until about 1987 or so.






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