A few weeks ago I mentioned that United was moving up the timetable for the retirement of the 747 fleet. They have now released a few more specifics, including what appears to be the final flight of their last 747.
The final flight is slated to be United UA892 that is scheduled to depart Seoul, South Korea at 10:25a on October 29. The ‘outbound’ leg to this turn will be October 27 and will be United UA893 that will depart San Francisco at 10:55a. A 777-200 is showing as operating the route beginning on October 30.
Keep in mind that events like this are subject to change and may not happen as they are currently planned. However, if you want to take the chance to take one of the last flights aboard a UA 747, round-trip Economy tickets are pricing in the high $600 / low $700 for these final flights. Business Class is in the $3800-$4200 area.
United has announced that it will phase out the Queen Of The Sky from their fleet by the end of 2017, versus original plans that had the 747 staying in the fleet until the end of 2018.
The remaining 747s are now all based in San Francisco where UA maintains most of the 747 maintenance facilities. The last United 747 left Chicago for good on January 3 as part of the fleet consolidation to SFO.
From last count, there are 20 of them left and they’ll be phased out during the course of this year as new planes are delivered to United.
Primary drivers for the decision include maintenance expense, fuel consumption, and new aircraft that are joining the fleet. There is also a new FAA maintenance directive that was announced the same day that United said the fleet would be retired a year earlier than expected. No doubt the expenses surrounding the directive played a role in the decision as well.
Regardless, United’s recent introduction of the 777-300 and the ongoing success of the 787 fleet, UA deemed it was time to move on to newer and better. Lets not forget the long list of A350s that UA has on order as well.
None of this comes as a surprise obviously as the newer aircraft with their improved efficiencies make the 747-400 all but a dinosaur in today’s airline world. Since being introduced to United in 1970, the 747 has been nothing but a wonderful and reliable workhorse.
Fortunately for us avgeek types, we still have the 747-8i to enjoy for the next couple of decades!
United has made their first ‘Mileage Sale’ a decent one for 2017. Mileage Plus members can earn between 25% and 75% in bonus miles with their purchase, depending on the amount of miles purchased. The sale runs through January 23.
Here is the breakdown:
If you buy between 10,000 and 14,000 miles you’ll earn a 25% bonus of additional miles (equating about 2.8 cents per mile).
If you buy between 15,000 and 29,000 miles you’ll earn a 50% bonus of additional miles (equating about 2.3 cents per mile).
If you buy between 30,000 and 85,000 miles you’ll earn a 75% bonus of additional miles (equating about 2 cents per mile).
Remember that you can buy 150,000 miles a year (including the free bonus amount), and that ‘clock’ has reset to zero for everyone so you can back the truck up and load up 150k miles once again this year.
And of course you know that the best place to use these miles is for those First and Business Class Seats on Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines, and Austrian!
When you first bring up the Mileage Plus purchase screen, you’ll see an offer for only 50%, but when you log in you should see the 75% offer available.
UPDATE: Some of you have shared that you are being limited only to 50% bonus for purchases. This may be as a result of United targeting certain members for a 50% or 75% bonus. Here is an image from my own transaction, showing that I would receive a 75% bonus: