As an aviation geek, there’s no plane I love more than the queen of the skies, the 747. As more airlines retire their 747s, getting on one of these planes is becoming more difficult. Pretty soon the last 747 will operate for a US airline, as airlines instead opt for more fuel efficient A350s and 787s.
Fortunately there are still some airlines that plan on keeping 747s in their fleet for a while, including British Airways, Lufthansa, etc. However, you typically have to take a longhaul flight to get on one of them.
For a limited time, Lufthansa will be flying the 747-400 between Frankfurt and Berlin. Zach Honig at The Points Guy notes that this will be happening between November 13 and November 30, 2017, though that the number of daily frequencies will vary, with some days seeing up to five roundtrip 747 flights.
Unfortunately Lufthansa’s 747-400s don’t feature a first class product, though they do feature fully flat business class seats, which are infinitely better than the standard intra-Europe business class, that are just economy seats with a blocked middle.
I’m not sure you can fully enjoy a 747 on a 269 mile flight, as you’ll have maybe 15-20 minutes to recline your seat. 😉 The coolest part of the experience might be the takeoff. If you’ve never flown a heavy jet on a very short flight, it’s quite a thrill. Since the plane won’t be anywhere close to its maximum takeoff weight (since it won’t need much fuel), it feels like a rocket on takeoff.
So I’m not sure I’d take this flight just for giggles personally, but if you’re an aviation geek, live in Europe, love the 747, and don’t want to take a longhaul flight, this is a really cool opportunity. I could certainly see myself trying to route onto one of these flights as part of a larger award itinerary, though.
My guess is that Lufthansa is increasing capacity on the route for a bit given airberlin’s bankruptcy, and the fact that they likely won’t be flying anymore in November. There’s still demand for domestic flights, and I guess Lufthansa is trying to temporarily add capacity to account for that.
The 747-400 operating the route features 371 seats, including 67 business class seats, 32 premium economy seats, and 272 economy seats. Lufthansa won’t be selling a premium economy cabin on such a short flight, so you should be able to reserve premium economy in the same way you could reserve an extra legroom economy seat.
I would note that while the above flights are reflected in the schedule, schedules are always subject to change. You can bet that if a 747-400 has a maintenance issue and has to be taken out of service, these short domestic turns will be the first route to get the 747 pulled.