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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Farewell, 747


The video above from United is a six-minute farewell to the Boeing 747, which ends its service to the airline on November 7, after 47 years carrying passengers all over the world. It’s definitely the end of an era, but new planes are far more fuel efficient and cleaner, so progress is good.

It was 747s that flew me to and from New Zealand the first time I visited, back in September 1995, and also for the flight bringing me here to live a few weeks later. So I have a particularly personal reason for being sad that they’re being retired, even though I really do think it’s for the best. Mind you, in those days I actually liked United as an airlines, too, so that’s changed as well.

Despite increasing cost of airfares and special charges for extras, overall air travel is far cheaper now than when the 747 was first introduced. In fact, the plane was one of the factors that helped bring down the cost of air travel because they could carry more passengers. Nowadays, there are even bigger planes, and things like fuel efficiency also affects the cost of flying. In the future, the cost of flying will probably continue to rise, no matter what happens with the size or design of airplanes.

In its day, the 747 was a very big deal, but it was in decline for at least a decade. This is just the final chapter in its long story.

Footnote: Although he’s not credited, I recognised the voice of the narrator, Bill Kurtis, who delivered the news for many years at WBBM-TV, the CBS station in Chicago. I used to watch him on that, and also his later documentary series.

Tip o' the Hat to my sister who sent me the link.

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