Delta Air Lines Boeing 747-451 airplane
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Remembering The Boeing 747 Airplane. The Last One Rolled Out of Production.

Farewell, Queen of the Skies.

“There she goes!” was the announcement in this message at the official Twitter account of Boeing Airplanes from The Boeing Company. “The last 747 has left our Everett factory ahead of delivery to Atlas Air in early 2023.”

Remembering The Boeing 747 Airplane. The Last One Rolled Out of Production.

This moment — which occurred last night, Tuesday, December 6, 2022 — was the end of the line for the Boeing 747, as the last airplane rolled off of the production line at the factory in Everett in the state of Washington. That factory was custom designed and built in 1966 for the production of the Boeing 747, which was in continuous production since 1967.

Initially designed for the use of transporting cargo, the Queen of the Skies — as the Boeing 747 was nicknamed — transported billions of passengers over its history of almost 53 years, as highlighted in this official anniversary video from The Boeing Company back on Thursday, February 7, 2019. The distinctive “hump” was originally designed to allowing extremely tall or long freight to be loaded through its unique cargo door in the nose of the aircraft.

The first 747 — which was the first airplane in the world with two aisles running through the passenger cabin — was rolled out of the production line at Everett Plant, which is the largest building in the world in terms of volume. Sunday, February 9, 1969 was when the first flight of the Boeing 747-100 occurred; and the iconic airplane was certified for commercial service in December of that year after five airplanes flew greater than 1,500 hours of flying over the course of ten months. Pan American World Airways operated its first flight from New York to London on Thursday, January 22, 1970.

1,574 Boeing 747 airplanes in dozens of various models and iterations were built and delivered to multiple customers over the greater than 54 years of its production. Perhaps best known of those models is the Boeing 747-400.

Now retired, the last flight of one particular Boeing 747-451 aircraft was Delta Air Lines flight 836 from Honolulu to Atlanta on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 and was approximately 28 years of age at the time. This aircraft was the first 747-400 series aircraft built by Boeing and was delivered to Northwest Airlines, whose merger with Delta Air Lines was officially approved by the Department of Justice of the United States on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 — approximately 18 months since both carriers emerged from bankruptcy protection — and the aircraft became part of the fleet of Delta Air Lines, which had not operated a Boeing 747 series aircraft in years.

Watch this raw video of the retirement of the first Boeing 747-400 as it was being moved to near its final resting place.

The aircraft was parked adjacent to its final resting place near the entrance of the Delta Flight Museum at the world headquarters of Delta Air Lines on Saturday, April 30, 2016 to its new permanent home: a site on the grounds of the Delta Flight Museum. The official grand opening of the Boeing 747-451 at the Delta Flight Museum to the public occurred on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

Boeing 747-451 Next to a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 Delta Air Lines
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

View photographs in this article of a sight which is rarely seen: a Boeing 747-451 aircraft next to a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 aircraft…

…and literally right next to each other — far too close to each other if they were still in service on the tarmac at an airport — for a comparison of their sizes.

This Internet web site purportedly has “everything you wanted to know about the Boeing 747, history, pictures and news” with a Boeing 747 load of statistics, details, and information pertaining to the Boeing 747 aircraft — but it is not an official Internet web site of The Boeing Company.

Final Boarding Call

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747
This Boeing 747-400 airplane became my home for ten hours from Amsterdam to Seoul. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The Boeing 747 aircraft was vital in the history of The Boeing Company in terms of its leadership in commercial aviation — but technology has advanced to the point that airplanes with four engines have become obsolete; and the Boeing 747 is the last airplane that was manufactured to be equipped with four engines.

If you want to travel as a passenger aboard a Boeing 747 airplane, you can still do so on select airlines — but its years in the air offering commercial service is now numbered.

I have not only taken the tour of the Everett Plant; but I have been aboard a number of Boeing 747 airplanes for flights which were operated by several airlines — including Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines…

…but my most memorable experience with a Boeing 747 was when I traveled from Los Angeles to Sydney aboard a Boeing 747-400 airplane which was operated by Qantas Airways. I was disappointed that first class was not available because I wanted to sit in the upper deck of the aircraft — but after redeeming 90,000 Continental OnePass miles for a round-trip itinerary between Atlanta and Sydney, imagine my surprise and excitement when I found out that the business class seat to which I was assigned was indeed located in the upper deck, where I would spend approximately 14 hours!

Thankfully, I have had my time as a passenger aboard Boeing 747 airplanes over the years — and knowing that it will no longer be produced is bittersweet.

Please share some of your memorable moments with Boeing 747 airplanes over the years in the Comments section below.

All photographs ©2014 and ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Although it is sad to see this aircraft type fade into obscurity, it truly had an amazing run. Unlike the A380, the 747 was a generational aircraft that changed air travel. I am not sure if I flew the 747 as a child when my family made many trips between Dallas and the NYC metropolitan area. I did, however, have two experiences as an adult with the Queen of the Skies. My very first airline miles redemption was on a United 747-400 from San Francisco to Sydney in 2011. I was in economy and was content on the long flight, but very curious about what it was like up front in the nose or on the upper deck. Eight years later I boarded a Lufthansa flight out of Frankfurt on a 747-8i in seat 1K right in the nose. I was in AvGeek heaven. I actually scored an invite to United’s 747 retirement party at SFO but a good friend decided to get married that weekend so I had to pass…okay, my wife said, “You’re going to the wedding or else.”

  2. So glad I took the opportunity to fly one in the nose… a rare and weird exprience. It was a 747-8 no less, Korean Air first class F Suite seat 1A. That’s when they used to release ton of award spaces all the time and Chase was a transfer partner. All good things never last. I will be looking for the opportunity to fly one for the one last time.

    1. and speaking of a memory… yes I have one. I was probably around 7-8 years old… back in early 80s, a Cathay Pacific 747 making the steep turn over… where else, the old town toward the Kai Tak. Needless to say it was a defininig moment… memory forever etched in my brain. I still have the clear picture memory nearly 40 years later there then I decided to be a pilot. Unfortunately that didn’t happen but I still ended up working for Boeing in other capacity!

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