British Airways announced last week, not surprisingly, that the Boeing 747-400 has probably flown its last scheduled commercial service, another casualty of Covid-19.
In truth it has come to its life’s end, a dinosaur from an earlier age when fuel was cheap, most airlines offered First Class for those who could afford it, and the upper deck cabin filled up very quickly.
BOAC operated its initial 747 London to New York service on 14 April 1971 and in July 1989 took to the skies with the stretched 747-400, the aircraft type the airline still flies today.
For the next decade the airline took delivery of 56 more of the aircraft, with its final plane delivered in April 1989. At the time, it was the largest passenger aircraft in the sky, and it remained so until the Airbus A380 first flew in 2007.
At one-point British Airways operated 57 747-400s. The original aircraft featured 27 First Class seats and 292 in Economy. Initially, the upper deck, widely described as the bubble, contained a lounge, with lounge chair seating. It was known as the ‘club in the sky’ and the aircraft also played host to the world’s very first flat-bed seat which British Airways pioneered in 1999.
British Airways recently refreshed the interiors of a number of its 747 aircraft which were expected to remain in service for several years to come.
It remains to be seen if BA decides to operate a series of heritage experience flights. It failed to do so with Concorde, an unpopular decision. SEE AND FINALLY