Today marks a sad day for anyone even remotely interested in the Australian aviation industry. Thanks to that damn virus Covid-19, Qantas made the decision to terminate the use of 747’s as part of its commercial passenger fleet way early than initially planned.
In 1971 Qantas took delivery of its first Boeing 747 and changed way the way Australians traveled overseas. This elegant and powerful plane was able to carry us on long haul flights without the need for multiple stops.
Fondly known as the ‘Queen Of The Skies’ she has safely transported us to all corners of the globe and thanks to my 13 years in the travel industry I have spent many hours onboard this magical aircraft heading off on fabulous adventures.
KLM withdrew the 747’s from service in March, Qantas only announced it’s plans a month ago, and just days ago British Airways followed suit with an immediate halt.
I never got to go to Phuket in April as we were banned from travelling and I honestly didn’t think I would fly anywhere this year, and had resigned myself to never flying on a Jumbo again! Until…………..
Qantas announced that they were going to do 3 #747farewell flights, one from Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. My eldest daughter and I share a passion for travel and planes and we sooooo wanted to be on this one, but honestly never thought we would have a chance of securing tickets but we were going to try.
It was the longest 8 minutes of my life as Bec battled a glitchy reservation system that was struggling with an onslaught at 12nn on the 8th of July, but we got our seats and found out that it only took 14 minutes for all three flights to be booked out. We were beside ourselves with glee.
Our day started at the Qantas Club lounge which reopened after months of covid closure. Coffee, fruit salad plus an egg and bacon roll was a nice way to start the day. Was so excited to get an actual boarding pass as these are really a thing of the past now. We also got a goody bag with a flag, cap, amenities kit and a face mask.
Covid safe boarding was quick as the aircraft was not going out at full capacity. Our taxi to takeoff included a water salute from the fire brigade. I just could not believe I was on a plane, and a 747 at that!
A beautiful low sweep at only 2000mt over Brisbane city was spectacular and we did it twice so that passengers on both sides of the aircraft got a great view. If you were on the ground and didn’t know about this flight you might have been wondering what the hell was going on.
No sooner had the seat belt sign been turned off everyone was up and moving about, chatting and looking for that perfect photo opportunity. It truly felt like a party and even though they did make announcements regularly asking us to remain seated, no one was really listening.
We could have not asked for a more perfect day weather wise for a scenic farewell flight. We gently flew down to the Gold Coast and it was picture perfect.
We then headed back up the coast admiring the brilliant blue water and sky until we landed and hour and 15 minutes later. There may have been a tear or two in my eyes when the final announcements were made including the fact that our pilot had just completed his very last flight and was now going to enjoy retirement.
But instead of being taken back to the gate, we got to go to the hanger and admire her beauty from the ground.
I have walked under a jumbo before at the United Airlines maintenance base in San Francisco, but once again I was in awe of her size and beauty.
A final glimpse before boarding buses to be transported back to the terminal.
Was it worth $400, absolutely! Its a chapter that’s now closed, and it was the best mother/daughter date I could have asked for in a year where travel is not allowed, and I got to fly in a plane again. This #avgeek is very grateful for the experience.
With Captain Sharelle Quinn in command, at 3.29, QF7474 took off from Mascot Airport in Sydney, enjoyed a half hour flight over the city and suburbs at only 1200ft and is now somewhere over the Pacific on her way to the Majave desert and her final port of call.
It is the end of an incredible aviation success story and her distinctive shape will be missed at airports all over the world. Farewell VH-OEJ Wunala, enjoy your final majestic sweep across the Pacific.
Have you ever flown on a 747?