United’s B747 will fly its last international flight this month as the airline prepares to retire the jumbo jet from its fleet.
The aircraft’s last international operation will be from Seoul to San Francisco on October 29, after which the aircraft will continue to fly domestically until its final retirement on November 7. United’s Seoul service will then be flown by its B787-9 Dreamliner.
The airline currently has nine B747s in operation, though this will drop to just two after the final Seoul flight.
Those with nostalgia for the jumbo jet, which has been in United’s fleet for close to half a century, will be glad to know that its retirement will be rather poetic, though. The B747’s final flight for United in November will be on its San Francisco-Honolulu route, the very same route it debuted on when it first joined United’s fleet on July 23, 1970.
A combination of B757-300, B777-200 and B737-900 operated flights will then serve the San Francisco-Honolulu route after November 7.
Travellers flying between San Francisco and Seoul can also make use of United’s codeshare with Asiana Airlines, which the two airlines expanded earlier this year. Asiana operates its own non-stop flights between Seoul and San Francisco using its new A350, which it took delivery of back in April.
Multiple airlines recently have been retiring the “Queen of the Skies” in favour of more modern aircraft. Fellow US carrier Delta expects to retire its remaining B747s by the end of this year and Qantas has begun preparing to replace all its B747s with its new B787-9s over the coming years. Taiwanese carrier Eva Air and Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific have also retired the aircraft from service.