Lonely Planet Writer

The iconic Boeing 747 is being retired in retro style

In celebration of United Airlines retiring the Boeing 747 from its fleet, its final flight will have a 1970s-themed menu and a retro-uniformed crew.

The 747 had a lounge, cocktail service and sometimes even a piano. Image: Boeing

The Boeing 747 was launched in 1968, and United made its first commercial 747 flight in July 1970 with a trip from San Francisco to Honolulu. This retro flight will take place on the same route on 7 November and will be the airline’s farewell flight to the 747 fleet. The 747 in the 1970s was known not just technological achievements but also for its glamour. With a lounge, cocktail service and sometimes even a piano, it held the promise of an elegant, relaxing travel experience.

From a 1970s-inspired menu to retro uniforms for flight attendants, passengers will help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style. The farewell flight is called the “Friend Ship,” the name given to the original aircraft that first made this journey. The journey will begin with a gate celebration at San Francisco International Airport, and during the flight, passengers will be treated to period-appropriate in-flight entertainment on board. Upon landing in Honolulu, local employees will welcome the Boeing aircraft with final festivities to close out the historic day.

Boeing President Bill Allen and Pan Am CEO Juan Trippe celebrate the launch of the Boeing 747 “Jumbo Jet” in 1968. Image: Boeing

In honour of its swansong, customers seated in United Polaris first class and business class will be entered into a draw at the gate prior to boarding for an opportunity to occupy one of a select number of seats in the upper deck during the flight. All passengers on board will get an opportunity to visit this deck during the flight.

Seats on this special, one-way trip on 7 November are available for purchase now at United.com or through the United app.