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Editor’s observe: Check again later Tuesday for photographs and updates from the farewell flight festivities.

SAN FRANCISCO — It positive didn’t really feel like a curtain name. But that’s what it was Tuesday morning at San Francisco International Airport as United Airlines bid farewell to its final Boeing 747.

United Flight 747 took off round midday PT, about an hour later than scheduled due to gradual boarding and a upkeep delay, departing from Gate 86 after a de facto occasion amongst these ticketed on what went into the books as United’s last-ever pbadenger flight on the 747.

All on board had booked the flight particularly to be on the final 747 departure, a particular one-off flight scheduled by United in September to provide the well-known jumbo jet a correct farewell.

“It’s a grand finale, no question,” United CEO Oscar Munoz mentioned from the jet’s higher deck simply earlier than takeoff. “It’s a fitting send-off in the most dignified way for the ‘Queen of the Skies’.”

Tickets for the 374-seat jet offered out in hours, regardless of fares of $550 and up for the one-way flight to Hawaii.

ARCHIVES: United’s farewell flight for the Boeing 747 sells out in lower than 2 hours

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“I had to be here,” mentioned John Vanderford, 56, of Detroit, as he partied with different Flight 747 prospects previous to boarding. “It’s the final 747 flight. I bear in mind flying it as a child, on this actual route — San Francisco to Honolulu.”

Following Tuesday’s flight, the airplane will return empty to San Francisco earlier than making its ultimate flight to an airline “boneyard” within the California desert later this week.

The retirement ends the long-lasting airplane’s 47-year run at United, which took its first model of the jet in 1970. Now, with United’s 747 out of service, Delta is the one U.S. pbadenger provider that also flies the jet.                    

But the Queen of the Skies’ days are numbered there, too.

Delta’s ultimate flight on the 747 is also on the horizon. Delta’s final flight on the airplane will come subsequent month, that means no U.S. provider will by flying the plane into 2018. Like United, Delta’s final 747 additionally will head to a southwestern salvage yard, seemingly in early 2018.

The pattern extends past U.S. shores because the pbadenger model of the 747 faces flagging fortunes elsewhere. Various different international airways — together with Air France and Hong Kong’s Cathay — have retired their 747s lately.

Just this week, British Airways — the world’s largest remaining operator of the 747 — confirmed its plans to start phasing out the jet. Of the 36 nonetheless in its fleet, British Airways mentioned half can be pbaded by 2021 and the remaining by early 2024.

YOUR TAKE: Boeing 747 photographs from readers (story continues under)

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The transfer away from the four-engined 747 comes as newer fuel-efficient two-engine fashions have gained favor among the many world’s airways. Increasingly, carriers have seemed to Boeing’s 777 and 787 or Airbus’ A350 and A330 when shopping for new widebody jets.

The outlook isn’t all doom and gloom for the 747, nonetheless. The freighter model of the jet stays a staple for some U.S. cargo carriers, resembling UPS and Atlas Air. And a handful of overseas carriers with latest orders for pbadenger 747s are prone to preserve scheduled service on the jumbo jet a minimum of by the subsequent decade.

But, for pbadenger flights on U.S. airways, the top is close to. 

“It’s bittersweet. This is an airplane that redefined travel,” mentioned Henry Harteveldt, a longtime veteran of the airline business who now runs the Atmosphere journey consultancy. “The 747 has been in United’s fleet for 47 years.”

Against the backdrop, the temper on Tuesday was one among celebration as United’s 747 readied for its trip into the sundown.

United rolled out a “throwback” theme for the flight, an try to recreate the provider’s first-ever pbadenger flight on the 747. Not coincidentally, that first flight additionally flew from San Francisco to Honolulu.

United pulled out all of the stops to evoke the magic of that period on Tuesday’s flight. Crews donned 1970s retro uniforms and prospects have been supplied gadgets from a “1970s-inspired” menu.

When it first introduced the flight again in September, United promised the old-school vibe would “help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style.”

The crowd badembled for the flight appeared to understand the hbadle.

“When they said it was going out with style, this is style,” Vanderford mentioned shortly earlier than boarding started.

The occasion continued onboard Tuesday as United Flight 747 took its spot within the document books.

The flight was scheduled to land in Honolulu later Tuesday night, retracing the inaugural pbadenger route from 1970. Once in Hawaii, the farewell occasion was anticipated to proceed into the night.

As for United, the airline will transfer on to newer plane — newer fashions of the Boeing 777 — to badist it exchange the flying that had been executed on the 747.

“The advent of the new aircraft, while not as iconic or romantic, are certainly incredibly efficient and wonderful vehicles for transportation,” Munoz, the United CEO, said. “It’s just an evolving aspect of what we all do.”

IN PHOTOS: The world’s first Boeing 747 will get a makeover

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IN PHOTOS: One of the final airworthy Boeing 747-200s flies into retirement

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