Air France’s Tribute To The 747

Filed Under: Air France, Videos

The 747 is the plane which changed global aviation about 45 years ago, and it’s sad to see so many airlines retire them. I totally get why they’re doing it, given that there are more fuel efficient long range aircraft out there nowadays, but it doesn’t make it any less sad. The 747 is also one of the few planes just about anyone could identify, whether an aviation geek or not.


In early December I wrote about how Air France was retiring the 747, and planned one last commemorative flight around Paris on the plane, which passengers could book. It was a farewell to the plane, so to speak. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a ticket on the flight, and I’m jealous of those who were on it. The good news is that Air France has put many commemorative videos online about the 747.

Here’s a video from Air France’s last commercial 747 flight, from Mexico City to Paris on January 10:

Then here’s a video from Air France’s commemorative flight around Paris on January 14:

Perhaps most spectacularly of all, here’s a video of an Air France 747 flying in formation with the Patrouille de France:

If you head over to Air France’s YouTube page, you’ll see several other awesome commemorative videos, including interviewers with pilots, flight attendants, rampers, etc.

And I can’t in good conscience post anything about the 747 retiring without sharing the below video again, from Singapore Airlines’ last 747 flight between Hong Kong and Singapore:

The announcement after landing makes me tear up almost every time. What a beautiful tribute.

Bottom line

It’s sad to see yet another airline retire the queen of the skies, though it makes perfect sense, given the lower capacity, long range, fuel efficient planes out there. It is interesting how certain airlines, like British Airways and Lufthansa, are gladly continuing to operate the 747, while others can’t get rid of them soon enough.

  1. Last takeoff for Air France 747 is today out of ORD, my home airport, hopefully it does a 22L departure 🙂

  2. I had an award ticket to the last AF 747 transatlantic flight MEX-CDG but had to cancel a week before due to another obligation I couldnt get out of weekend of Jan 10th. Ah well. I’ve never been on a retirement flight but would imagine it may be similar to attending a wake? I have no idea. Great to see these videos though.
    In addition to the SQ 747 video, I always tear up when watching the Philippine airline 747 tribute video.
    Which airline is next to retire their 747s? Delta? Cathay Pacific?

  3. I’m flying first on a BA 747 flight in a few months….yes, it’s cramped for first, but I’m looking forward to it (again). (Flew the same way with them in 2014.)

  4. Don’t BA own all of their 747’s and hence that is why they want to keep them, as the planes are in good shape and they can milk them for all they are worth until the end rather than having a new aircraft they need to make payments on.

  5. @Nick L

    Absolutely agreed. I love BA F despite the cramped nature. The curvature of the nose affords views you can’t get on any other plane, plus it’s becoming more and more nostalgic. Yeah, as Lucky correctly points out, it’s a glorified J seat, but I’ve never had less-than-stellar service on any flight – though my food tastes are decidedly low-brow, and the plane is just so beautiful.

  6. I’m thinkng Qantas will start dropping their 747s soon enough. With the 787s on their way, this seems very likely to replace its aging 747 fleet starting with routes like SYD-JNB given the lower capacity demands on it.

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