The era of the most iconic passenger jet of all time is almost over. News of its grounding by one or another airline is coming almost every day, which begs the question: can you still catch a flight aboard the Queen?
Of course, dozens of private and government-operated Boeing 747s are still in service and show no signs of retirement. But not everyone can boast of a possibility to hop on Air Force One or its many sisters.
Then here is cargo hauling. Unexpected upside of COVID-19 induced crisis came in an exploding demand for long-range heavyweights that can carry everything from humanitarian aid to dramatic increase in Amazon shipments, so 747 freighters are roaming the skies as if it’s still the 80s. But you would have to pack yourself in a cardboard box to catch one of those flights and not everyone may find it convenient.
Luckily, passenger Whales are not yet extinct. So, a small list of carriers that still offer tickets on their 747s can be compiled, giving you a possibility to experience the double-decker before it goes away forever. Just keep in mind that travel restrictions and quarantines are still in place in many countries, so, although there are many chances, most of them are not for everybody.
After British Airways suddenly retired its jumbo jets, Germany’s Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) remains the largest operator of the aircraft and amongst the last in Europe. The amount of flights is still impressive though, as the carrier’s Boeing 747-8s fly daily between Frankfurt (FRA) and Chicago (ORD), Mexico City (MEX), Los Angeles (LAX), Bangkok (BKK), Nanjing (NKG), San Paolo (GRU), Shanghai (PVG) and Johannesburg (JNB), covering four continents and providing the most convenient opportunity to say farewell to the Queen.
Third-largest Chinese airline still operates two models of the aircraft: it flies new 747-89L between Guangzhou (CAN) and Beijing (PEK) on a weekly basis, and two slightly older 747-4J6s: one between Chongqing (CKG), Beijing (PEK), London (LHR) and Shanghai (SHA), another between Tianjin (TSN), Madrid (MAD and Beijing (PEK).
A part of Aeroflot group, Rossiya specializes in internal flights within Russia. Its Boeing 747-400s – slightly older model – are still in use connecting the European part with Russia’s Far East. With relatively loose restrictions on domestic travel, once in the country, you can find various daily or semi-daily flights between Moscow (SVO), Sochi (AER), Yekaterinburg (SVX), Khabarovsk (KHV), Vladivostok (VVO) and Simfeopol (SIP).
This South Korean carrier still retains one last 747-400 and operates it on weekly flights between Seoul (ICN), Nanjing (NKG) and ChangChun (CGQ).
Iranian carrier’s sole Boeing 747-400 was returned from storage last year and is now used for flights between Teheran (THR) and Kerman (KRM). Although the same route is usually serviced by various Airbus wide body airplanes, according to Flightradar24, the jumbo jet is still occasionally used.