Boeing 747 Nostalgia

One of my most memorable childhood vacations involved two weeks in Hawaii. Aside from the allure of the islands, I suppose the reason it was particularly memorable was because my parents required each child to contribute $100 to the project, no small goal when my brothers and I were just 8, 9, 11 and 13.

When we arrived at the airport to begin the trip, we installed ourselves at the gate, and my brothers and I rushed to the window to see our plane. Holy cow: It was a Boeing 747! A jumbo jet! A new aircraft at the time, the 747 was a big deal even to children. Decades later, I can still recall that, ironically, our departure was delayed for several hours: mechanical!

The 747 is such a distinctive aircraft, with its long and illustrious history, that many passengers carry memories of flights and strong feelings about the experience onboard. The look of the plane is unusual enough that even non–Av geeks can immediately ID it. I liken the 747’s beauty to that of Barbra Streisand: ironic, striking, unforgettable, but not conventionally pretty.

However, while the 747 may be passenger-friendly, it is not airline-friendly. It’s expensive to operate and many airlines have already replaced it with the 777. This week I contributed a post to The Bay Area Traveler that looks into the disappearance of the 747, specifically from SFO.

What has been your experience on the 747? Is its move toward extinction tragic or non-too-soon?

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