Many fans of the Boeing 747-400 aircraft were sad to hear that Delta is retiring the “Queen of the Skies” at the end of 2017. They may be cheered up by the news that they may be able to join a special “employee farewell tour” by bidding for a spot on the much-loved aircraft’s final flights.
The Boeing 747 double-decker was launched in 1968, and Delta’s decision means that the last of the fleet operated by any US passenger airline is being retired from service after almost five decades. For its farewell tour, Delta will take the 747 on a final tour from Detroit to Seattle on 18 December, Seattle to Atlanta on 19 December and Atlanta to Minneapolis–St. Paul on 20 December. Employees and retirees will be able to participate in one of these flights at a significantly discounted rate, with all proceeds going to the Airloom Project, an organisation that supports the 747 Experience exhibit at the Delta Flight Museum.
A few spots have been kept open for customers, who can make a bid using their Delta SkyMiles. The online auction will end on 1 December at 9pm ET. After the farewell tour, the 747 will fly a handful of sports team and ad-hoc charter flights until the end of the month, and the very final 747 will fly to its retirement place in Arizona in early January, on a flight that won’t be open to passengers.
The retiring aircraft will be replaced by the Airbus A350, which will be Delta’s flagship international aircraft and are the first to feature the all-new Delta One Suite business class suites. The airline will be celebrating the revolutionary 747 throughout December in all of its channels, and encourages customers, enthusiasts and employees to share their own tributes and memories using the #DL747Farewell hashtag.