After going live at noon today on the Qantas website, tickets for the airlines’ three ‘Farewell 747 Jumbo joy flights’ from Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra sold out in just ten minutes.
For every fellow #avgeek who didn’t manage to snare a ticket in the ten minutes before they sold out, the devastating news is that we’ll never get to fly on a Qantas Jumbo 747 again.
With the end of a glorious era in trans-global travel upon us, Qantas is farewelling its last Boeing 747: ‘Wunula’ with three-hour-long joy flights in mid-July before it takes off for the not-so-great jumbo boneyard that is the Mojave Desert in California.
Socially distanced seats for the three flights on the ‘Queen of the skies’ had gone on sale to the general public on qantas.com at noon today priced at $400 for an economy seat and $747 for business.
Around ten minutes later they were gone quicker than you could say “Cabin crew, please take your seats for take-off.”
The one-hour joy flights on ‘Wunula’ (flight registration VH-OEJ) take in key highlights of each city (SYD/BNE and CBR), including a low-level flyby over the coast. The pilots and cabin crew will roam the cabin during the flight for chats and photo opportunities.
Included in the economy ticket is pre-flight morning tea, a light lunch inflight and an exclusive gift bag plus a guided tour of the 747 by the pilots, including a behind the scenes peek at the crew rest area and a photo opportunity in front of aircraft after the flight.
The business class ticket includes all of the above plus a nicer seat (obviously), an additional goody bag with merchandise including a Retro Roo bowling bag and priority access for a post-flight cockpit visit.
If it’s any consolation, there were only 160 economy tickets on each flight with a limited number of business class tickets available. Premium economy seats were quite rightly reserved for Qantas staff.
Not surprisingly, demand was huge and is a testament to how popular Qantas’ 747’s have been, and how many of us who have been lucky to fly on one will fondly remember the experience.
‘Wunula’, the last jumbo ‘red roo’ joy flights will fly over Sydney on July 13, Brisbane on July 15 and Canberra on July 17 with the flight number QF747.
Qantas 747 Fleet Captain Owen Weaver said the 747 has a special place in the hearts of many Australians.
“The 747 has been a magnificent aircraft and it’s fitting that we celebrate the end of five decades of history-making moments for the national carrier and aviation in Australia,” Captain Weaver said.
Qantas’ first Boeing 747-200B came into service as QF’s flagship aircraft in 1971 to enhance its long-haul fleet and became the only all-Boeing-747 international carrier in the world by 1979.
Over the last forty years, Qantas has remarkably owned and operated a total of sixty-five 747s with a number of different models.
Qantas had announced on June 25 that it would retire its last six 747s immediately, six months ahead of schedule as part of the groups COVID-19 recovery plan.
To replace the great jumbo workhorse, Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will become the airlines’ new flagship aircraft with a fleet of eleven 787-9’s by the end of 2020.
The 787 Dreamliner is more cost-effective to fly, has better environmentally-friendly credentials and a longer range, enabling the airline to fly the direct Perth-London sector as well as further flights that have been earmarked for Project Sunrise.
Speaking about the evolution of the fleet, Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce had said previously:
“This really is the end of one era and the start of another. The jumbo has been the backbone of Qantas International for more than 40 years and we’ve flown almost every type that Boeing built. It’s fitting that its retirement is going to coincide with our centenary in 2020,”
Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO
“Over the years, each new version of the 747 allowed Qantas to fly further and improve what we offered passengers. The Dreamliners are now doing the same thing.”
“By the end of 2020, we’ll have farewelled the 747, finished upgrading the cabins of our A380s and welcomed our fourteenth 787. That’s a great proposition for our customers and creates some really exciting opportunities for our people,”
‘Wunula’s’ final journey will depart Sydney for Los Angeles at approximately 2 pm on 22 July 2020 as flight QF7474 before heading onto her final destination, the Mojave Desert.
Sadly, once ‘Wunula’ reaches the Mojave Desert, she will be cut up for scrap and hopefully ends up recycled and reborn as something equally amazing.
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