Boeing's 747 is an icon, but future is in doubt...

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by gregm, Oct 24, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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  2. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    The 747 has been very special to me. My first trip to Europe was in a 747 on KLM (ORD-AMS). Mrs Willie & I took our two trips to Australia in the exit row on the upper deck of a 747. Most of my ORD-SIN MRs were on 747s as well.

    Not being a plane geek, it is one of the only planes I can readily recognize.
     
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  3. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Well, the old 100's had the lounge on the upper deck and that was special. The later models have seating up there and I still haven't flown in anything later than the 400 series. (AF MIA-CDG) lower deck, first class in the nose.
     
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  4. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    My first and (so far) only flight in an international premium cabin was in BA Club World in a 747, IAD-LHR. I bought an economy ticket and was op-upped to CW (I assume because Y was overbooked). I was first in line when the ticket desk opened, so I assume that's why I was upgraded. I had no idea I was being upgraded (the TA gave me a Y BP), until the machine beeped when the GA scanned my BP upon boarding. I was freaked, and thought they weren't going to let me on the plane. The GA told me I had been upgraded to business, and my only thought at the time was whether or not I was going to be charged for it (I was a FF rookie at the time). She said no, I relaxed and boarded. It didn't really hit me that I was sitting in business class (I was so relieved at not having to pay extra) until I got to my assigned seat. I sat down and thought, "I can get used to this." :D Because of this, the 747 will always be special to me, but I was a fan before this, simply because it looks cool.

    I think the Airbus A380 is what's going to kill of the 747 eventually. The A380 had such a long head start that it was pretty much impossible for Boeing to catch up. If an airline wanted a 4-engine double decker, Airbus had one already in service by the time the 747-8 was ready. Add to that the airlines' preference for two engines, and the limited market for the capacity of a double decker, and there you go.
     
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  5. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Once they looked like this:
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Too bad they now look like this:

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    I'll always love the 747...it is and will always be the iconic figure of the skies......nothing beats the JUMBO JET......In fact, to honor this great bird, I collect them in my own 'hangar' in my office.....

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  8. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    As a young Navy pilot stationed in Hawaii in 1969, I was at Barbers Point. Nearly all approaches to Honolulu started over the VORTAC near the field. I remember watching in awe as the giant planes -- so big they looked like they were too low -- gently let down. Clipper One and Clipper Two circled the earth every day in opposite directions and they met in Honolulu around noon.
    Many of us went down to HNL for lunch, pressing our noses to the glass and watching in rapture as the wizened Captain deplaned with the bevy of PanAm flight attendants. Oh, how we wanted to be that guy! What an airplane! Even now, that sweet memory lingers....
     
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  9. Mirror74

    Mirror74 Gold Member

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    Today its all about economics... if airlines can transport appx. same number of passangers with economically much cheaper aircraft (like versions of 777 of A350), espcially in term of fuel consumption, they will do so with no remorse... :)
     
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  10. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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  11. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    My favorite aircraft throughout the years. Saw one of the new B747's in PanAm's colors flying very low and slow over Biscayne Bay in Miami in early 1969 while it was on a test flight there. And the pix above of the TWA bird reminded me of a flight we took to Madrid and back to JFK on one in 1971 with that new plane smell still evident. Several years later on a flight to Dublin on an Air Lingus B747. Many other flights on them when they flew for Wardair, Air Canada, Canadian Airlines Int'l., British Airways, KLM. Beautiful, comfortable, sturdy planes.

    Remember the ill fated TWA 800 that went down off Long Island? Years later I read that the aircraft had originally been delivered new to TWA in 1971 and later sold or leased to Air Lingus where after more years it finally got back to TWA.
    Eerie thinking that that aircraft might have been the one we'd flown on a couple of times in the past.

    Sad to see them slowly getting phased out, with only a few orders for the new 747-8.
     
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  12. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    My Dad is a retired TWA mechanic from JFK and I wouldn't be surprised if I was on it as well, as a kid. As far as the 747-8, I think Boeing screwed up on the prediction that 4 engine aircraft would still sell. (Unless HUGE, like the A380)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
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  13. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Somehow an aircraft as large as the A380 won't be in what's left of my flying years. Over 500 ppl vying for spots in an already packed airport's custom and immigration lines, fighting to get luggage off of the carousels, and waiting while 499 others get their meals before me, no thanks. Besides, if I wanted a cruise ship with its private staterooms, showers, etc., I'd take a cruise. The A380 won't have to save a seat for me, or us, as we'd prefer one of the Boeing models anyway, even if it's not the B747. Why do I think of the A380 as an overinflated whale, while the B747 and its siblings are classic birds?
     
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  14. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I agree that it's overinflated, but I had to try it at least once. I flew AF CGD-JFK, last month on an A380, and aside form a mechanical breakdown that caused an equipment change and a 5 hr delay, it was OK. I flew Biz on the second row of the upper deck and it was essentially the same as other AF flights; great food, an almost flat bed seat etc. It did seem quieter. What was disappointing, however, was that I eagerly anticipated watching the views from the 3 cameras (nose, tail and down-facing). Unfortunately, the delay went on almost to sunset, so I hardly saw a thing.
     
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  15. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Glad you had a good flight on the A380, and only had a five hour wait for a replacement aircraft. Had there not been another one available, they'd have to use two smaller aircraft to accomodate all the masses from your plane. How was the mob exit from the plane at JFK, although with you being in J, you were probably only behind the pax in F, so well ahead of the unwashed, kettle, once a decade fliers (as many are often referred to by those frequently flying on their company's dime) who followed you off the aircraft from front and rear doors, to C&I and the carousels, if you had luggage to pick up?

    Would you pay extra in miles or cash to fly it again on the same route or another?
     
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  16. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I left the mob in the dust and was the 3rd person into customs and at the Global Entry kiosks. Zipped through customs in about a minute. Unfortunately, even with the "Priority" bag tags applied when I checked my bags, my bags were almost the last to come off. I was so disappointed as with checked baggage, your total exit time is still dependent on baggage control. If your bag is not one of the first few, it negates the time saved with GE. One of the other travelers, who showed me where the GE kiosks were, also stated that unless you were just traveling with carry-on, this was likely to happen. I did make it out of the airport ahead of most pax. On a side note, since we arrived so late I missed my connection to FLL, but AF had already booked me a room, overnight.

    I only use miles for int'l travel, and usually avoid CDG. I only was through there for the AF A380 Biz product.
     
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  17. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Even when most of the current fleet of -47's are gone to the great airport in the sky (desert) there will still be at least one or two of those beauties still flying. Aren't two new ones now in production to replace the current pair of Air Force One's that are being retired in 2015? Still time left to marvel at their grace and power! Wonder what will become of the two current birds. Museum, desert, scraps?

    Anyone want to buy a slightly (over)used B747? Make a great plane for MP or FT gettogethers, but what do you do with it in the meantime?
     
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  18. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    No, they're not in production yet. I don't even think they've officially been ordered yet (if they had, you'd bet your tail that Boeing would be pounding their chests about it). Or even unofficially. The current two will be flying well past 2015. Given the clusterf*** that is DOD procurement, it'll take a while. And their replacements don't even have to be 748s, they could be 787s or 777s. I'd bet that they will be 748s, but no one can possibly know for sure this far out.

    Museum, most likely.

    I don't think this one is a valid complaint against the A380. You don't have to be flying on an A380 for this to happen, you just to be flying into an airport that has A380 flights, unless you want to avoid all airports with A380 service.

    I wouldn't pay any extra in miles to fly on an A380, or a 747, but I'd gladly pay extra in cash (up to a point) to fly on one of those two planes.
     
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  19. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    I'm surprised that the new AF1's haven't yet even been approved, since they were mentioned several times on TV as being planned as replacements for the current duo. I'm guessing that when and if they ever come about, the B747 would be the appropriate aircraft, for safety and security reasons with it's four big fans and because it's built in the U.S.
    Only other current four engine aircraft are the A340 and A380, which I'd guess wouldn't be considered at this point.

    Most people can't avoid large airports that have flights with A380's, particularly if they're making onward connections across the world, and many of the intermediate fields don't as yet have the facilities to handle them. But the larger airports such as LHR for example, which may have several A380's arriving within an hour of each other into the same terminal, may eventually find the logjam that occurs to be overtaxing their current facilities.

    I won't even consider flying on an A380, but I still enjoy being on a B747 if it's available where we're headed. Seems I must be stuck in a never ending time warp, where I remember decent, full, edible airline meals even in the back of the bus, and that small five pack of (cough, cough) ciggies on the tray.

    Thanks for your response, and I'm looking forward to seeing the new Air Force 1's when, and if, they ever arrive.
     
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  20. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I'm curious, as well, about the replacement aircraft. I don't have a preference, but 747-8s would be nice. I wouldn't be surprised if the Air Force ordered them last minute, and paid Boeing an "expedite fee"! My Dad was aboard AF1, while at JFK when Clinton was in office. (All the TWA crew had to be vetted or they couldn't even get close.) He was even given some of the on board goodies, like peanut M&Ms with the Presidential seal on the package.

    I booked my most recent vacation flights to return via CDG and JFK specifically to ride the A380 and until either AF or KLM uses that equipment to fly to MIA, I won't be on it. I'm not a fan of either CDG or JFK as a passenger. I'm also not a fan of the Customs and baggage retrieval processes with such a large number of passengers at once.

    I need to ride a 787 and an A350 to make myself whole! Been on almost every other passenger jet since the era of the 707, DC-10 and L-1011. Wish me luck!
     
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  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    You could arrive on a 787 and if a 747 or 773 arrived just before you, their pax might give you that massive line ahead of you. You could also arrive on a 757 and if customs or immigrations isn't appropriately staffed, it could take a while. Frankfurt has LH A380s and others arriving. I have never seen huge immigration lines there that I see regularly at US airports. So the complaint is just anti-A380 FUD.
     
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  22. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    It sure is a valid complaint against jumbo jets. The complaint applies to all, but 380 is the largest and so it deserves more of the blame.

    Arriving on any aircraft you may be stuck behind a planeload of people from another flight, but if you are on a 380, you are guaranteed to be fighting with 500 more people for an opportunity to chat with customs and immigration. If you are stuck in the back, exiting the aircraft may take extra 20-30 minutes. Inadequately staffed immigration facilities affect all passengers, but an increase in arrival rate due to 773->380 upgauge can leave airports unable to catch up.

    Now, is the above enough to make me avoid booking 380 operated flights? No, not by itself. But combine it with full-length, 98-seat C cabins feeling "less exclusive", 420-seat Y cabins producing more noise and disturbance than smaller ones, and I may look for other flights, after the novelty of flying 380 is gone.
     
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  23. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    773.png 380.png


    Left, AA 773, right LH A380.

    Are you saying that the experience -- noise and disturbance-wise -- is going to be significantly different in the two random seats I selected for you? In both cases you're going to travel with hundreds of strangers, and the number sitting in your vicinity (where you can hear/see them) is pretty much the same. Not a pleasant experience in either case, but I would argue also not measurably different.
     
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  24. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    420 strangers vs. 220 strangers? Even that section of the cabin is 104 vs 142 seats. The difference is not insignificant. For the C cabin, it's even more striking.

    Again, while none of these issues is bad enough by itself to steer me away from 380, their combination might be. And I am hard-pressed to find any advantage of flying 380 to compensate for any of these - however minor - differences.
     
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  25. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    The military plans for all kinds of things, but they don't always execute those plans.

    The A340 is no longer in production. The A380 could work, and in a sense would be even better (more room for staff/press/Secret Service, etc.) but Airbus has said they're not going to submit a bid. The reasoning is that the US government will require the planes to be assembled in the US, and it doesn't make financial sense to set up a production line in the US for A380s for only a handful of planes.

    Don't think that the airlines that have significant numbers of A380s (or any large number of widebodies) haven't thought of this. If they thought it was going to be a big problem, they'd be having discussions with the relevant airports about improvements to the facilities.

    No offense, but, yes, you are. Those days are gone and they're not coming back.

    Yep.
     
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