History in the Making: United Airlines Final Boeing 747 Flight Takes Off

San Francisco-Honolulu Flight Recreates the Airline’s Original Jumbo Jet Service

Flight attendants serving pre-departure Mai Tais on United's final 747 flight, which operated from SFO to HNL

By Jonathan Spira on 7 November 2017
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SOMEWHERE OVER THE PACIFIC—Since its launch in 1970, over 1,500 Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets have graced the skies. Today, November 7, 2017, United Airlines, one of the two remaining U.S. carriers flying the graceful airliner, operated its final 747 flight, from San Francisco to Honolulu, recreating its inaugural 747 flight over the same route on July 23, 1970. This report is being published live from onboard the final flight.

“Flying to Hawaii on United’s 747 can be a real adventure,” United promised passengers in a television commercial introducing the Jumbo Jet in 1970.

The 747 was the largest and roomiest airliner in the world and the carrier stressed this in its marketing.

Captain Tom Spratt at the controls.

Captain Tom Spratt at the controls.

“We call our 747 the Friend Ship because it was designed for your extra comfort,” the airline said. “We made the Friend Ship roomier by putting the kitchens downstairs, out of the living room, with only serving areas upstairs. That gives you more legroom in coach.”

At the time, United’s Hawaii flights were the longest in the system and had the most luxurious service the airline offered, Royal Hawaii Service.

“We have specially trained people who make our Royal Hawaiian Service really special,” United said, adding that the 747 had five big movie theaters and a “high-class” Red Carpet room (which did in fact have red carpeting) on the upper deck. The crew wore mumus and Hawaiian shirts and the boarding music reflected the destination.

Click here to continue to Page 2Royal Hawaiian Service à la 1970

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