About a month ago, I wrote about how both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines – the last two US 747 operators – were retiring their Queens of the Skies this year.
Since then, the United 747 finished passenger service with a retro flight from San Francisco to Honolulu. The flight, operated on November 7, 2017, was a recreation of the airline’s very first 747 flight operated back in 1970.
— Henry Harteveldt (@hharteveldt) 2017年11月8日
With the United 747 out of passenger service, Delta Air Lines is the last remaining US airline operating the Jumbo Jet.
That will not last long, though, as it is planning to operate its last passenger flight with the aircraft in December 2017.
The Last Scheduled Passenger Service: Seoul Incheon to Detroit
For me, the farewell started when I had the chance to cover the last Delta 747 flight out of Japan. The flight operated on October 31, 2017, from Tokyo to Detroit.
And, while I wish the flight out of Tokyo could have been the aircraft’s last flight, the “lucky airport” is going to be Seoul Incheon – the airport that United picked for its last international 747 flight as well – instead.
The last international roundtrip – and the last regularly scheduled flights of the Delta Air Lines 747 will be operated as follows:
- Flight DL159 departing Detroit at 12:31PM on December 15 and arriving at Seoul Incheon at 4:30PM on December 16
- Flight DL158 departing Seoul Incheon at 11:15AM on December 17 and arriving in Detroit at 10:14AM the same day
With that, sadly, the era of 747s on regular passenger services at Delta Air Lines – and at US airlines overall – will come to an end.
Domestic Farewell Tour for (Not Only) Employees
The last flight from Seoul to Detroit will still not mean the absolute end of the 747 at Delta Air Lines, though.
Instead, the aircraft will embark on a domestic farewell tour stopping by Delta Air Lines hubs. First, the 747 will fly from Detroit to Seattle on December 18, followed by a flight to Atlanta the next day. Then, on December 20, the aircraft will fly to Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
Map generated using Great Circle Mapper.
The flights – besides being available to current and retired Delta Air Lines employees – will also be available for bidding using Delta SkyMiles.
Besides the employee farewell flights, the airline also plans to fly a number of charter flights using the aircraft.
The last one of those will be on December 31, 2017, at latest – which seems to be the date that Delta considers to be its “official 747 retirement date” in a way.
Off to the Desert
After the aircraft’s last charter flight, it will be ferried to an aircraft storage space in Arizona in early January 2019. And with that, the era of passenger 747s at US airlines will come to a definitive end.