Tag Archives: 747

How many 747s have you flown on?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, the days of the iconic 747 as a passenger jet are coming to end for many of the world’s airlines. Before you freak out, please know that the 747 will continue to fly for the foreseeable future. Most of the 747s that will continue to fly will do so as freighters, and the passenger version of the 747 will continue on with a few select airlines around the world. The last two US airlines flying this most beautiful flying machine, Delta and United, will retire their 747s by the end of 2017.

So much has been written about this plane. The ways in which it influenced and inspired  commercial are innumerable.

My first ride on the Queen of The Skies was with Swissair: PHL – BOS – ZRH. Riding in the upper deck solidified my love of this aircraft.

Swissair 747-300 photo credit: Eduard Marmet via wikimedia commons

As I reminisce over the almost 30 years of aviation experience, I think of the number of times and different airlines 747s I’ve flown on (thus far). Here’s the list:

Air France 747-400 photo credit: AirlineGuys

Air New Zealand 747-400 photo credit: Pedro Aragao via wikimedia commons

Delta 747-400 photo credit: AirlineGuys

Japan Airlines 747-400 photo credit: Aero Icarus via wikimedia commons

Photo credit: Africaspotter at wikivoyage shared, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22688609

Northwest Airlines 747-200 photo credit: Paul Spijkers (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via wikimedia commons

NWA 747-400 photo credit: planephotoman http://www.flickr.com/photos/planephotoman/93492771/

Qantas 747-400 photo credit: AirlineGuys

TWA 747-200 photo credit: Jon Proctor http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=5960616

Virgin Atlantic 747-200 photo credit: Ralph Kunadt

Virgin Atlantic 747-400 photo credit: Adrian Pingstone via wikimedia commons

How many 747s have you flown on?

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A Plane for Everyone

A Plane for Everyone

In March of this year the Delta Flight Museum will display its newest artifact: a Boeing 747. If your idea of a museum object is fragile and dainty this will have you re-thinking museums. Born in Seattle in 1969, by the Boeing team lead by Joe Sutter, the 747 changed aviation. The litany of firsts associated with this aircraft has filled books. The museum’s ship 6301 is a first in its own right. Delivered to Northwest Airlines in December of 1989, it is the first -400 version of the 747. Often referred to as iconic, the Boeing 747 holds a special place in the hearts of passengers and crew alike.

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(Credits: Boeing)

While airplane enthusiasts may speak of the runways that needed to be lengthened, and of the, as yet to be designed, engines that would carry the plane aloft, it is the space inside that deserves some attention. A space that was enviably inclusive and exclusive all at once.

To begin with the space was large. The 747 was the first aircraft to have two aisles. Early pictures from Boeing show passengers enjoying legroom that would have today’s first class passengers scrambling for a seat in the back. The sidewalls did not curve-in leaving the cabin feeling cramped, but went straight up, almost encouraging the tallest of travelers to stand. The dual aisle aircraft enabled passengers to move with more freedom than their single aisle counterparts. Bathrooms numbered in the double digits and were located throughout the airplane, not just in the front and back. The tray tables that were introduced on the Boeing 707 could be found at each seat so you could enjoy a meal along with your in-flight entertainment. Boeing’s hope was that the open space of the 747 would have passengers thinking they were in their living room.

The people filling the plane represented a broader spectrum of U.S. citizenry than ever before. The increased seating capacity allowed for lower ticket prices. People who were once excluded due to higher costs were now taking a seat. The aircraft designers considered the upper deck, or “bump”, on the top of the aircraft, as a place for the crew to rest. Juan Trippe, Pan Am’s founder turned it over to luxury travelers. The small cabin, accessible by a private staircase, maintained the exclusivity of previous flying. Many a flight attendant has had to say, “yes you can take a ‘peek’ but you will have to wait until we land.”

Crews loved the plane as well. Its multiple galleys had plenty of storage for catering and other items needed for the long flights. As a flight attendant you are constantly looking for ways to wow your passengers and the interior did some of the work for you. The galleys had been placed in the center of the aircraft, leaving the preferred windows available for passenger seating. Simply entering the 747 upper deck had the ability to make grownups smile. The space itself made them feel special. The enormous main deck interior was broken up into smaller sections for the comfort of the passengers, but for those working on the flight it allowed for quick and easy access to supplies. As a flight attendant the main deck was perhaps the only negative. I am not sure if I can express how intimidating it is to pull a beverage cart to the front of a cabin of this size and know there are 300 plus thirsty passengers awaiting your arrival. In each instance you just put one foot in front of the other and start. You try and do justice to passengers who are going on a once in a lifetime vacation, an important business meeting or simply to see friends and family. But on the 747 you also try to do justice to the many crews that made the plane the most elegant place to be, the sexiest place to be and the only plane to fly on during its time in the air.

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Ship 6301, N661US landing at KATL, May 2014 (Credits: AirlineGuys)

Lisa Flaherty is a career flight attendant and a public historian with a love of aviation stories

Collecting experiences never gets old

While waiting on my flight I bumped into a former colleague. During our chat he asked “And why would you do that?” and my response was “Because I can. I like to collect experiences.” And he wasn’t the only asking why I would fly roundtrip over the Atlantic ocean to spend 4 hours in another country. Now before your mind starts to wander, please know this was a legitimate journey. No shenanigans planned or expected.

As the youngest of 9 children I used to dream of doing things like this. Experiencing something like this helps me bring my existence full circle. As a kid growing up in rural Florida I used to dream of hopping on planes and flying around the world. Those dreams have come true and are still coming true. Why this trip? Well, let me tell you about the trip.

The 747, The Queen of The Skies, is rapidly approaching her last coronation. Many of the world’s airlines have retired or are retiring this majestic machine. What started as a dream for the Boeing designers ended up changing the world. The original “jumbo jet” made the world a smaller place.

Every now and then you can catch a 747 operating on a domestic route. Most 747s ply the Pacific or are freighters. As part of the summer schedule, Atlanta and Detroit receive daily 747 service to Amsterdam. With Spring Break winding down, and summer travel not here just yet, the loads look great for NRSA travel. Let’s go!

When flying NRSA you have to be strategic and most importantly flexible. Flying  to Detroit to take the daily 747 to Amsterdam was the better option because loads were extremely favorable. Hopped a flight to Detroit and had several hours to spend enjoying the airport. When boarding began I kindly requested from the gate agent seat 1K., if available. Wanted to be at the “pointy end” of the plane. Sitting in Row 1 puts you further forward than the pilots. I think most people would prefer to sit on the upper deck. However, I had sat on the upper deck of a 747 before from Tokyo to Detroit a  few years back and wanted to experience something new.

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Ship 6308 DTW – AMS

While sitting in my seat I took in the lines, the curves, and the essence of this magnificent flying machine. Thought about all the talented men and women who put her together. I wondered how may times she had flown around the world, who she had carried to far off destinations, what her last flight would be, where and when she would be retired. Spent the flight enjoying some tasty foods, drinking fine champagne, watching movies, looking out the window, and having brief conversations with the crew. The crew was very nice and took great care of me. While sitting there I couldn’t help but think this is exactly what I had imagined my life was going to be.

We arrived early in Amsterdam. Checking in for the return flight to Atlanta was quick and efficient. The Delta and KLM agents were most friendly and helpful. Now I had about 4 hours before I headed back to Atlanta. What to do? People watch of course. And buy some stroopwafels to bring back home.

The boarding process was a bit hectic as the nonstop 747 to Atlanta was very full. The company which handles security for my flight were efficient, thorough, and very friendly. There were the usual questions (“did anyone give you anything to carry?”), however, there was a difference in how they did their jobs.

Ship 6308 AMS - ATL

Ship 6308 AMS – ATL

I was pleased to receive a seat on the the flight in the “pointy end” of the plane on the main deck. Just before pushback the flight attendant was able to move me to an open window seat at 9K. For the next 8 hours and 49 mins I was again taking it all in. Had some terrific food and drink, watched a couple of movies, shared pics via twitter and instagram (thank goodness for inflight wifi), and had great conversations with the crew. Speaking of the crew, they were most excellent. They treated the whole cabin with kindness and respect. They were attentive, efficient and smiled a lot. I felt grateful to have such a wonderful crew on this special trip.  Some of the same thoughts I had on the DTW-AMS flight came to mind. In addition I started to think about experiences.

As I get older I have begun to collect less things and more experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I still have lots of airline stuff (writing this while sitting in 747 seats from NWA). However, things are things. They accumulate. They collect dust. We store many of these things and then rarely think about them. Experiences on the other hand are with us at all times, no matter where we are. The slightest thought, sound, or smell can trigger a memory that is as vivid as when it first occurred.

Also on this flight I’m transported back to the little kid who dreamed of getting away, seeing the world, experiencing new things. As Annie Lenox sang, “Sweet dreams are made of this.”

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Sylvester

airlineguys™ Community builders. Aviation enthusiasts. Experience in airline operation/leadership/PR/. Former cabin crew. Discerners of excellent customer service.

5 Reasons You Should Book The “Pan Am Experience” Today

Stepping onto the Pan Am 747 named Juan T. Trippe was amazing. Every detail, from the stewardess uniforms right down to the galleys, was just perfect. No, we weren’t dreaming, we were getting ready to embark on the “Pan Am Experience”. There has been much written about Anthony Toth, his love of all things Pan Am, and how he partnered up with Air Hollywood to recreate the passenger experience on board a Pan Am 747. Here are the Top 5 reasons you should book a flight on the “Pan Am Experience” today:

5.  If you love all things Pan Am – Pan Am was truly a pioneer. If you’re into waxing nostalgic about the “good old days” of Pan Am, you’ve come to the right place. Be prepared to walk down memory lane and be transported back to a time when flying was considered glamourous.

4. If you like to time travel – Being on board for Pan Am Experience was truly like stepping back in time. Every detail was meticulously recreated to give you the sense of what it was like to fly on a 747 back in the 70s. The seats, the galleys, even the clipper appliqué on the wall.

3.  If you’d like to meet a real Pan Am stewardess – On our flight was Barbara. She flew with Pan Am during the heydays. She was there to provide background and answer questions from the passengers about Pan Am. She was lovely and shared stories from a wonderful time in aviation history. We even played a game of “do you know…” And she knows someone that we know, who is a former Pan Am stewardess. The world is truly a small place. The “stewardesses” who served us were models, actresses, and dancers. In other words, they have day jobs. They were a fun bunch and brought lots of good energy to the experience. This is something that they do because it’s cool and allows them to experience something different. This era of flying was at least 25 years before they were even born.

2. If you’d like to meet someone who has taken “avgeek” to another level – Anthony Toth served as the “Captain” of our flight. This captain worked behind the scenes assisting the stewardesses in providing a seamless experience. Not only was he in the galley preparing meals, he answered questions after the flight. Anthony has over the years put together a huge archive of Pan Am memorabilia. He informed us that his collection now has upwards of 50,000 Pan Am items. A good selection of the collection was on display in the lobby of the “terminal”. The majority of the collection is kept behind the scenes and is used during the flight.

1. Because it’s “AirlineGuys-approved” – The reason you should book today? As the AirlineGuys, we approve of this message. And we’d never steer you wrong when it comes to aviation 😉

Barbara, Darin, Sylvester, Rachel

Barbara, Darin, Sylvester, Rachel

Sylvester & Darin

To see more pictures from our flight, click here.

 

Aviation Geek Fest 2014 (AGF14) – Highlights

Aviation Geek Fest (AGF) is becoming a rite of passage for the serious avgeek. We first heard of this annual get together last year in 2013 (AGF13). Sadly, due to scheduling conflicts we were unable to attend. We followed the avgeekry antics and activities of those who were able to attend. To say we wish we had been able to attend is an understatement. So, it was with great determination and perseverance, that we cleared our schedules and made sure we were logged into the website minutes before the tickets went on sale this year. Once the tickets for AGF14 went on sale, those who hadn’t been quick on the computer were out of luck. The event sold out in 3 minutes! Thank goodness for the refresh button!

For those who do not know, AGF is the brainchild of AirlineReporter.com’s David Parker Brown. David began AirlineReporter.com in 2008 and has been sharing his knowledge and passion for aviation with others over many years. The first AGF was in 2009 and attendance for this annual event has been growing by leaps and bounds.

The weekend was full of activities that would turn the novice planespotter into a serious avgeek. Some of the activities and events included: tours of both the Everett and Renton Boeing factories, a raffle for amazing prizes, and the opportunity to meet bloggers, travel writers, those genuinely interested in aviation, and the opportunity to see friends and to make new ones.

Here are but a couple of the highlights from AVG14:

The prototype mockup of the Boeing SST — located at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center, the remnants of this mockup made our hearts go from V1 to VR in seconds! Of course we had heard and read about the Boeing 2707 SST that had never been built due to the large capital resources need to launch the program and political reasons. Click here for link to Boeing site regarding the SST, or here to read more about what would have been the first American SST.

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Inside the first Boeing 747 — going inside the first 747 ever built has been a lifelong dream. We’re sure more than a few avgeeks have this on their bucket list. Thanks to David Parker Brown, and his passion for aviation, he was able to gain access into this iconic aircraft for the attendees of this years AGF14. When the doors of the first 747 were opened we ascended the airstairs with great excitement. Walking inside this airplane was like walking into a time machine. On the day of our visit,  45 years and 1 week had passed since this aircraft took its first flight and would become the first aircraft given the moniker “jumbo jet” (the first flight was February 9, 1969).

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Again, we’d like to thank AirlineReporter.com and David Parker Brown in particular for making this years AGF14 truly amazing!

(More pictures from AGF14 available at our Flickr account: airlineguys)