United Schedules Final 747 Flights

Filed Under: United

The 747 has long been the queen of the skies. It’s one of the most majestic aircraft of all time and is so iconic that most people can identify it at a glance, even if they’ve never flown on one. United has operated the Boeing 747 since 1970 and currently has 22 of them in their fleet.

The end of the road is near for these old birds, however. United announced a while ago that they were not part of their long term plans and wouldn’t be getting the new Polaris seats. They first said they’d phase them out in 2018, but that recently got moved up to the second half of this year.

And now we might know what the final flights will be.

The Final Flights Of The United 747

Here is their final schedule, per Routes Online:

Oct 04, 2017
San Francisco – Shanghai Pu Dong

Oct 27, 2017
San Francisco – Beijing
San Francisco – Frankfurt
San Francisco – Taipei Taoyuan
San Francisco – Tokyo Narita

Oct 28, 2017
San Francisco – Seoul Incheon

In each case, the plane will turn around to San Francisco right away. With the date change, that means the final flight of a United 747 is currently scheduled to depart Seoul Incheon for San Francisco on October 29, 2017.

If you want to fly the final flight, you pretty much have your choice of seats. There aren’t any saver awards available, however. (Though there was 1K inventory for saver economy earlier this week, shortly after the schedule became public.)


I’m not sure why the first class seats all show occupied. Maybe Scott and Oscar are blocking the cabin for their own private party?

United 747 — Love Them Or Loathe Them

I have mixed feelings about the end of the 747 era at United.

It’s easily both my favorite and least favorite plane in the United fleet and perhaps the only one that I’ve flown in all three cabins. I love flying in the upper deck business class cabin which feels like flying private, or at least what I imagine flying private must feel like. We’ve also enjoyed flying in the pointy end of the plane where the first class cabin is located.

But the economy cabin on the United 747 is basically miserable.

Economy Plus always seems like it has about an inch or so less legroom as compared to other United planes. And then there was the decision to remove the overhead movie projector and replace it with…. nothing. I realize most adults have some sort of device capable of streaming these days, but that isn’t always the case for kids. And even if they do, it’s nice to watch it on a bigger screen and maybe play some different games they don’t have at home. Of course, none of that is the fault of the plane per se, but rather the way it was configured.

So flying it is a mixed bag. Gazing it at from the terminal on the other hand is something I’ll never get tired of…..


Bottom Line

We think we now know the final schedule for United’s 747s. I don’t plan to be on any of these flights, but I did parlay a recent schedule change into one last opportunity for our family to fly business class on the 747 one last time.

Hopefully that will let me wish it farewell on a positive note.

Anyone planning to take the final United 747 flight this October?

  1. ICN-SFO will, unquestionably, not be the last flight. Sure, it’s the last scheduled flight for now, but they said it would be big and a regularly scheduled ICN-SFO flight is not big.

  2. Mark, I got crossed up with my international date line math. I think I got it fixed. Thanks for pointing this out.

  3. Alison — That’s right. I did my dateline math wrong and had the wrong date. I think it’s fixed now. If you look at 10/27, that would be the final SFO-TPE 747, with the final TPE-SFO 747 returning on 10/28.

    So 10/28 would be the switch to the 777 on SFO-TPE.

  4. United has 20 747s, not 22. The 747 final flight will not be ICN-SFO. Any amount of research above a single page would be great for a flight you are encouraging people to book.

  5. Back in Oct, I grabbed a pair of Saver-F awards for SFO-LHR and a pair for FRA-SFO for April. I just hope that the hard product does not start suffering deferred maintenance as the end-of-life date approaches.

  6. With United and Cathay and China Airlines and Qantas and more phasing out or eliminating the 747, you should be able to get one for cheap. Can I head out to the desert and pick one up for cash like an old Honda Civic?

    Well, a pretty big Honda Civic. Maybe an Odyssey.

  7. Will access to a 747 interior ever be available in a museum? Otherwise, future kids will think I am crazy for talking about flying aboard a 747, L1011, A340, F100, RJ85 (BAe), etc. All they will ever know is the 737 MAX, A320neo, 777, 787, A350….boring

    Even I am forgetting how the L1011 was…technologically so advanced, funny overhead bins, no center section bins, smokey on engine start, low load factors so a 5 seat long bed in economy class, seeing the differences between a -1 and -200, etc.

  8. Cool Story Bro:

    I had the chance to fly on a BA 747 back in May….first class from Seattle to London, and I am really glad I had that chance, since occasions like that will become rare. (Bonus: I was in the first row.)

  9. @Robert starting I think March 25th or something like that, United will be switching that route to operating 777-300ER with the new Polaris seat on that route, and that will be their first official international route with the new 777-300ER so the 744 will be cut from that route in a little under 2 months while the other routes have a while to go.

  10. In 1985 I was an 18 year old returning to SFO from my first trip to Europe on a British Airways 747. I will always remember how cool it was to be bumped to First Class in the upper section – oh to be young again, the world at my feet and my future uncharted (other then those next 12 hours). What an amazing experience it was…

  11. So where do all these phased out United 747s go to? Is no other airline interested on purchasing or leasing them? It seems they could get some revenue from the sale or lease, rather than parking them in dessert and go old.

  12. Flew sfo-icn last week and it was, Horrible. Just one big screen up front. I used my phone to get in another movie before the battery went dead. In seat power didn’t work in my row. Never again.

    Landed in ICN with no power and spent a half hour charging before leaving the airport

  13. Typical United….. Slow to improve (not even innovate….. United will not be a leader in anything) and barely catch up to modernity. These 747s should have been put out long ago. United should be embarrassed to fly such crap accross the Pacific. United and these 747s remind me of a third world airline from the 80s!

  14. The Museum of Flight in Seattle has a 747 but an employee said the interior will never be open to the public because it was a test plane with an unfinished interior. To answer Derek’s question, maybe make a video on a Lufthansa 747-8 before it’s too late. Or a Qantas 747-400ER.

  15. First is in fact sold out. I booked 2 seats within a couple of hours of when this was mentioned by airlineroutes.net and by the next day first was totally sold out. At the time I booked every seat was available as O space.

  16. Sam

    The interior in Seattle is open to the public was in it recently. It was the original test plane and is full of equipment no seats and you can go upstairs etc. Very interesting but it is just computers and an unfinished interior but fully open to the public.

  17. Hello all – flew internationally for 40 years. The favourite of all time was the B747-200 followed by the B747-400. Truly magnificent aircraft even with their little “quirks “. Miss you ladies. Cheers Maggie

  18. American airlines (not just American Airlines) are so boring. There is no imagination. Flying Lufthansa from ORD to FRA on the 747-800 in First was such a thrill. I love that plane.

  19. I am booked to fly SFO-SEL on Oct. 28. I didn’t know at the time that it would be the last scheduled outbound flight of a United 747, but I am happy to fly the Queen one more time. I have happy memories of flying first class on a TWA 747 from JFK to Athens, and upper deck business class on a United 747 from Sydney to SFO.

  20. Flying for 60 years I’d like to add some early experience to flying the original 747’s.
    My first trip on one was in July of 1970 flying Pan American JFK-London. Back then the flight attendants could not do enough for you, full meals and pre arrival snacks were served (free) (their names were sewn on their aprons so you knew who they were) and the coach cabin itself roomy. If one looks back at the configuration of those aircraft, in coach seating was “2-4-3” not the “3-4-3” of today. Made a big difference! Large movie screens were located throughout the cabin. Headsets were proved and there were several channels of music available. Pan Am called theirs “Theater in the Air” and noted it was Bell and Howell equipment. They also distributed post cards with a picture of their “coach” cabin as well as flyers with movie info, etc. Playing cards, games for children (and wing pin’s), magazines, newspapers and Pan Am timetables and information were available if one wanted it.
    During the 70’s and into the 80’s I also flew TWA’s 747’s many times to Europe (a few in First Class; Royal Ambassador and they called it) and the upper deck was a lounge NOT seating. There was a standup bar up there and light food service was offered if you wanted something. In the coach cabin they actually handled you a menu and one could choose an entree for dinner (was a choice of 2 or 3 as I recall, all at no charge, except for alcoholic beverages). If a plane was late they would announce drinks with the captain’s compliments.
    United, as many domestic carriers in the early 70’s actually removed seats from the coach cabin and installed lounges (Yes folks in coach!!). American called their 747’s Luxury Liners and advertised the “best coach lounge in the sky”. Imagine such a thing today!
    Given the current cramped fleets ,mediocre food, lackluster service and fees galore hardly a comparison to “back then”. Oh by the way, security “then” consisted of showing your boarding pass; period!

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