An era of almost half a century is coming to an end in mid-July, as Qantas is taking its final Boeing 747 for a farewell tour. The Queen of the Skies will bow out from the Australian flag carrier’s service with a series of three “Jumbo Joy Flights” from Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra. Tickets for the hour-long scenic goodbye hops will go on sale on the airline’s website next Tuesday.
Any break-up is traumatic. No less so when it is a relationship stretching back nearly fifty years in time. The first 747 entered Qantas’ service in September 1971. The last one will exit in July 2020. But not before she gives her long-standing fans one last chance for a spin around the block.
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Three flights, one hour each
Qantas will operate three-hour-long “Jumbo Joy Flights” from Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra on July 13th, 15th, and 17th, respectively. Tickets for the flights will go on sale at a thus far undisclosed hour on July 7th.
According to Executive Traveller, business-class tickets will sell for AU$747 (US$518), and economy for AU$400 (US$277). All, of course, very appropriate for the final chance to fly the red-and-white liveried 747-400 model.
The airline has promised not to sell the flights to capacity, leaving enough space for people to be able to enjoy the scenery. The plane’s premium economy will reportedly be reserved for Qantas employees.
The flights will operate solely on a “cost-recovery” basis, with any additional proceeds to be donated to the HARS Aviation Museum in Sydney and the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach.
Heading to Mojave after the farewell tour
Once the last of Qantas’ 747s has performed her farewell tour, she will make her final flight from Syndey to Los Angeles on July 22nd. From there, she will join the rest of her fleet-mates in the Mojave desert at the famous Californian boneyard.
Qantas had planned to retire its remaining six jumbo jets by the end of 2020. Then, of course, a pandemic came along, and so, like other carriers such as KLM, it decided to let the iconic model go early.
Unfortunately, this is sad news not only for 747 aficionados but also for the 220 or so pilots that will lose their jobs as a result.
In 1989 Qantas took delivery of is first 747-400 model. A precursor to the Perth to London and the Project Sunrise ultra-long-hauls, that delivery run was the first-ever non-stop flight between the UK and Australia. In 2020, the last of its kind is leaving the oneworld member fleet. If you happen to be in the area of the farewell flight path, be sure to look up and give her a wave.
Did you ever fly on the Qantas 747? What will you miss about it? Let us know in the comments.