I know, I know I haven’t written on here in what feels like forever however this is very deserved of a post and it took a while to work out what I wanted to say however it has been sat in my drafts for months!
I’m talking about the early retirement of the Queen of the Skies, the Jumbo, the Boeing 747. Whatever you call this aircraft I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s a sad way for this aircraft to retire out of the Team Red and Team Blue fleet.
As we all know Team Red started off with a 747 and became very famous for it. My first ever flight on a 747 was a Team Red one, MAN-MCO my Mum and Dad booked us in Premium Economy in what is known as the ‘bubble’. I remember everything about that flight from boarding the aircraft and getting a warm welcome and being told we were upstairs. I was so excited even better was getting invited into the flight deck by the Captain, it’s the little things in life but it’s something that sticks.
The ‘bubble’ is the most amazing place to work in my opinion, it’s your own private cabin with a few rows of Premium Economy and then a couple of Economy seats our customers LOVE sitting upstairs and I don’t blame them! Every flight I’d have someone ask if they can go and have a look upstairs and everytime I’d say absolutely you never know when these beauties will disappear from the skies. On Team Blue’s 747’s it feels even nicer upstairs due to it being part of the Club World cabin. I’ve had many a flight up there and everytime Nick and I have said how lucky we are to be able to say in the future that we’ve travelled upstairs. Let’s not also forget sitting in the nose, it’s a novelty as much as sitting in the bubble in my opinion. In the nose you’re further forward than the flight crew upstairs and with only 14 Upper Class seats it’s a beautiful spacious cabin.
It’s a testament to itself that after its first flight in 1969 it’s still around when other aircraft of a similar age aren’t flying. Aircraft have come along way since the 747 was first produced however I still class it as an aircraft that ‘looks good for it’s age’ compared to other aircraft. We might not get to see them flying (I know we still have a lot of cargo operations with the Jumbo!) but I suppose we should be greatful we get to visit them in museums the resting place for many aircraft. In Seattle we can visit the Museum of Flight where the first 747 is resting, It’s quite something to see when you walk into the hangar and see the Jumbo amongst other aircraft including the first 787 (check out the blog post from our trip Can I pinch a blog post? Seattle!). In Atlanta there’s the Delta Air Museum where you can visit the first ever 747-400 built it was fascinating to then get back on a 747 for the flight home knowing I’d seen the first 747-400. Soon we’ll be able to visit the BA ones at Dunsfold which is something I guess!
It’s strange having an emotional attachment to an aircraft but it’s one that has brought so many memories to millions of customers, from those going on their once in a lifetime holiday to those setting out to start a new life somewhere. It’s those memories that go with the aircraft when the engines are switched off for one last time. Last year one of our lovely Captains said to me to treasure every moment walking up the stairs as it won’t be something you’ll do forever, at the time I thought it’s very true but we’ve still got a year or more gracing the aisles of the 747 how right he was, my last working flight on a 747 was G-VROY October last year from JFK-MAN.
With Team Red and Team Blue retiring their fleet of 747’s there will be no airline in the UK that has them in their fleet. I think we all knew this day would come but we all expected we’d be able to have special farewell flights and a proper ‘party’ but that is not to be now. Although a lucky few will get the chance thanks to Team Red’s little farewell!
To some it’s just another flying thing but to us the airline workers, the aviation obsessed it’s an icon. Whether you’ve flown on one or just sat at Myrtle Avenue watching them land and hearing that familiar engine sound I think we can all appreciate that the 747 will be missed in the skies.
So to the icon that will always be remembered it’s doors to automatic and cross check.