Exclusive Qantas Boeing 747 farewell flight for frequent flyers

Frequent flyers can secure seats on the very last commercial flight of a Qantas Boeing 747.

By Chris Chamberlin, August 26 2019

The clock is ticking down towards the retirement of Qantas' Boeing 747 fleet in 2020, but the airline is planning to treat frequent flyers with a series of 'Points Plane' flights on the iconic jumbo, beginning with a Sydney-Los Angeles flight on October 13 2019.

Inspired by the success of the Airbus A380 Points Plane initiative, this will be the last commercial flight of a Boeing 747-400 delivered to Qantas in 2000 (VH-OJU), with every seat in business class and premium economy initially reserved for booking using points.

There's a one-week window during which those premium cabin seats can only be booked using points – from now until midnight September 2 – after which, any remaining business class beds or premium economy seats will be opened up to paying passengers.

Book your business class flight now using points, or if seats remain, you could also buy a ticket

Every economy class seat will be open for booking using points as well, although cash fares will also be available for purchase from day one, to help fill the aircraft.

To book this one-way flight, you'd part with 96,000 Qantas Points in business class, 72,000 Qantas Points in premium economy or 41,900 Qantas Points for economy, plus taxes, fees and carrier charges as levied at the time of booking, covering the initial one-week window as well as any bookings made up to and including September 17 2019.

Premium economy on Qantas' Boeing 747s is similar to that of its Airbus A380s (pictured)

Should there be availability, any bookings made from September 18 2019 will instead require a higher 108,400 Qantas Points in business class or 81,300 Qantas Points in premium economy, when the upcoming changes to the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme take effect, although economy remains at 41,900 Qantas Points.

The flight number to look for is QF99, from Sydney to Los Angeles on October 13 2019:

As with any one-way flight, passengers will need to make their own arrangements to return home, such as by buying a one-way airfare from Los Angeles to Australia, or securing a return seat using points where availability permits on a 'normal' flight.

The aircraft operating this Sydney-Los Angeles service, VH-OJU, will exit the Qantas fleet after this final flight and be transferred to another airline to continue flying.

The Qantas Boeing 747s will enjoy quite a victory lap towards the end of 2020

Since its delivery back in 2000, Qantas claims the aircraft has flown approximately 80 million kilometres: the equivalent of almost 2,000 round-the-world trips.

Qantas steams ahead towards more Boeing 747 retirements

Qantas has been steadily phasing out its historic Boeing 747 fleet in favour of the advanced and fuel-efficient Boeing 787, with a second wave of factory-fresh Boeing 787s seeing the jumbo's staged retirement by the end of 2020 as Qantas celebrates its 100th anniversary.

The stalwart Boeing 747 of Sydney-San Francisco will be replaced by a Dreamliner in December 2019; Qantas is also considering the Boeing 787 for the long jumbo flights to Johannesburg – having announced plans for the same to Santiago – while an Airbus A380 superjumbo could be earmarked for Sydney-Tokyo.

Qantas originally began flying the Boeing 747 in 1971, with early models sporting a rather groovy lounge on the upper deck.

Dubbed the Captain Cook lounge, the 15-seat lounge managed to combine a nautical theme honouring the nation's foremost European discoverer with a then-chic colour scheme of orange, checks and woodgrains.

Read more: The fabulous bars, lounges and restaurants of the Boeing 747

Additional reporting by David Flynn.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Greg84

Greg84

03 Nov 2014

Total posts 89

I also hope to be able to fly on one of these if they do in fact make the flights available!

WeeGee

WeeGee

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 May 2019

Total posts 2

It'll be a shame when they've all gone.

From the passenger's perspective, I don't think that the 787 is a good replacement for it at all. I don't suffer from claustrophobia, but after a 12 hr flight on a 787, I couldn't wait to get off the aircraft. It'd be even worse after a PER-LHR or longer flight.

oliverfreeman

oliverfreeman

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2017

Total posts 6

I hope that they make these flights available to the general public as well. I am not a QF FF so it would be great to be able to get on one of these

Madhatter49

Madhatter49

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 41

If you're not a qff member, then you can just book a normal flight that they're still daily scheduled on.

As the points plane is for qff members who often have a large amount of points to burn.

Not being a member means you can't have any points so won't be able to book a flight. Rather simple.

If you're a member of a Qantas partner airline though, you might be able to transfer some points to a new qff account that you can create? Membership is effectively free. There is supposed to be a joining fee, but I don't think anyone generally pays that considering there's so many ways around the fee.

dm12

dm12

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 38

hope they extend the 744 on the Honolulu run until next April!

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 254

As I watch Sydney go to so much trouble to bring trams back after they dismantled what was the world's largest tram network in the 1960's, I wonder if future generations will regret the end of the 747 in 2020's?

TheBigM

TheBigM

07 Mar 2017

Total posts 32

Well, the A380 was the natural successor, which will continue to operate.

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 254

A380 has already gone the way of the 747, production terminated!!

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 926

They haven't terminated production. They have set a date for production to end. They still have another 50 odd aircraft left on the order books.

MRYJDrake

MRYJDrake

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

31 Oct 2016

Total posts 70

Aesthetically, maybe. The 744 is a very historical bird, a lot of sentimental attraction.

But economically, why send four engines in the days when you have two perfectly good engines doing the job? I don't think there will be economical regret, but the queen will be missed.

Carrots

Carrots

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Oct 2017

Total posts 30

Wouldn't it be grand if Qantas bean counters allowed the marketing department to re paint one of the final ol'gals in the livery of the first QF 747 as a tribute for her swansong.

Pegasus

Pegasus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 46

I was often on the LAX-BNE route. Upper deck, window seat, exit row. It was heaven. I'll miss the old girls.

mspcooper

mspcooper

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 110

When you leave these aircraft and walk past it on the way to immigration (usually in BNE or LAX for me) where you usually get to see the size of the aircraft from front, the 2-3 seconds that you are in awe is unbeatable!

Colesmore

Colesmore

11 Apr 2018

Total posts 3

Qantas are repositioning the 747s for Antarctic journeys (I believe) on certain dates on triangle routes later in the year, so an economy or business reward flight could be snaffled on those as well - as a Silver I was able to see availability. Might work for those with not as much time to give, but of course there's never a guarantee the dates etc. won't change or have an AC swap.

chips

chips

16 Dec 2013

Total posts 2

In the early 70s two Qantas work mates and I stood underneath the first 747-100 to visit Melbourne Tullamarine Airport it was operated by Pan-Am you can imagine what that moment felt like as the biggest planes we had seen were DC8-65F but the 747 was huge very majestic . I amongst many will feel sad to see them go ..Peter WA

Geoff Bell

Geoff Bell

16 Jan 2019

Total posts 1

Have never had the opportunity to fly Qantas 747 although did TLV to LHR on an EL AL aircraft.

iM

iM

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 49

I'd certainly be in on that!

SeaVisionBurma

SeaVisionBurma

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

13 Jan 2017

Total posts 33

Tip for if this happens... Assume that inside economy seats for a special farewell award flight would be cheaper than premium/window seats
Find a friend to do the farewell flight with, book one premium and one cheapie, then swap half way

Marksgreen

Marksgreen

07 Jul 2019

Total posts 2

I’ve been lucky enough to have been on the upper deck twice and even got in one of the old first class seats - right at the very front downstairs. There’s something so majestic with the 747 that just can’t be beat. That said, I’ve also done the PER -LHR and that was incredible. Comfier seat and the humidity and pressure does make a difference. I feel very spoiled to have had all of these experiences. They’re all great!

moecat

moecat

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2015

Total posts 86

This is all great, however when you try and get home you have to pay pretty much the cost of a return fare as one way fares are not discounted! And of course there is next to no availability on points coming home... Perhaps Qantas could offer people flying on this plane a discount on the return ticket

turbojezz

turbojezz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 129

Booked and on the upper deck! woohoo :)

ForeverSilver

ForeverSilver

06 Jul 2018

Total posts 4

I got back from Honolulu on Sunday and met a FA who had been on the 747 routes for well over a decade, it's last flight is apparently this tomorrow. I could tell the crew were very proud of the plane and particularly the upper deck which was really pleasant - I had a great flight (14J) and was very comfortable. Passing through the very long terminals at HNL and comparing the size of this aircraft with the others gave me a lot of perspective given the age. Was really happy to experience on of the final journeys

Celestarsyd

Celestarsyd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2013

Total posts 11

"The aircraft operating this Sydney-Los Angeles service, VH-OJU, will exit the Qantas fleet after this final flight and be transferred to another airline to continue flying."

Does anyone know which airline VH-OJU will transfer to?

lewie787

lewie787

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jul 2016

Total posts 3

Any thoughts on what may replace the 747 on the annual Antartic flights ...A380? ... would they put a 787 on such a long overwater flight or is that the end of Qantas on such flights????


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