Qantas Boeing 747 farewell flights for Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra

Get ready to make your fond farewell to the Qantas Boeing 747, because these scenic joyflights will sell out fast!

By David Flynn , July 3 2020
Qantas Boeing 747 farewell flights for Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra

Qantas will give fans of the Boeing 747 the opportunity to take one last trip on the much-loved jumbo jet before the iconic 'Queen of the Skies' heads into retirement.

The Boeing 747s were set to retire at the end of this year, but the coronavirus-triggered travel slump has seen all but one red-tailed jumbo already put out to pasture.

Responding to overwhelming demand, Qantas has moved to give the Boeing 747 a fitting finale with a series of 75-minute scenic 'Jumbo Joy Flights' to take place in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra as follows, under the QF747 flight number:

  • Sydney: Monday July 13, departs 10.15am
  • Brisbane: Wednesday July 15, departs 10.15am
  • Canberra: Friday July 17, departs 12 noon

Tickets for these Boeing 747 'farewell flights' will go on sale as noon on Wednesday July 8 at the Qantas website at the following rates:

  • business class: $747
  • economy class: $400

A small number of business class seats on the Boeing 747's upper deck have been set aside for the airline's Platinum One frequent flyers, who are being invited via email, while the premium economy cabin will be reserved for Qantas employees.

As with previous similar Qantas flights, there'll be enough spare seats left unsold so that passengers can enjoy the view as well as a little extra elbow-room.

The Boeing 747 was once the flagship of Qantas' international fleet.
The Boeing 747 was once the flagship of Qantas' international fleet.

Qantas says the flights will operate on a 'cost-recovery' basis and any profits will be donated to the HARS Aviation Museum in Sydney and the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach "to help preserve and promote the 747 legacy for future generations."

Qantas 747 Fleet Captain Owen Weaver said the Boeing 747 holds 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."

"There is an enormous amount of nostalgia and affection associated with our 747 and for those who miss out on a seat on the flight, they will at least be able to catch a glimpse of the aircraft as it takes to Australian skies for the last time."

The final flight of the Qantas Boeing 747

This last member of the Qantas Boeing 747 fleet is scheduled to bow out at 2pm Wednesday July 22 as QF7474. Qantas says the aircraft will taxi past Sydney Airport's Shep’s Mound viewing area prior to take-off.

Weather permitting, it will do a flyby of Sydney Harbour, the CBD and northern and eastern suburbs beaches, followed by a low level overfly of the HARS Museum (Albion Park) where it will dip the wings in a final farewell to Qantas’ first 747-400, VH-OJA, which is preserved there.

It's then out across the ocean to Los Angeles, then onwards to the infamous Mojave 'boneyard' where her siblings await.

Three Qantas Boeing 747s at Mojave, with one already stripped of its markings and listed for parts.. https://www.instagram.com/west_coast_aviation/
Three Qantas Boeing 747s at Mojave, with one already stripped of its markings and listed for parts.
https://www.instagram.com/west_coast_aviation/

A proud history

Qantas has flown the Boeing 747 for almost 50 years, beginning with the 747-200 model, which entered Qantas’ fleet in 1971.

Qantas first began flying the Boeing 747 in 1971.
Qantas first began flying the Boeing 747 in 1971.

With a sprawling economy class cabin, the Boeing 747 helped democratise international air travel, while literally elevating first class to another level thanks to the upper deck's exclusive Captain Cook lounge where first class passengers could mingle, dine, relax, drink, and even smoke.

Your first class ticket unlocked the inflight Captain Cook lounge.
Your first class ticket unlocked the inflight Captain Cook lounge.

Read more: Inside the Qantas Boeing 747's Captain Cook lounge

Qantas also introduced the world's first 'business class' cabin – in name, if not in concept – on the Boeing 747 in 1979, carving out a new level of comfort and service between the luxury of first class and the entry-level economy class experience.

Ten years later, in 1989, Qantas took delivery of the Boeing 747-400: boasting globe-striding range, it set a world record for the longest non-stop flight with a 20 hour marathon trek from London to Sydney (take that, Project Sunrise).

After decades serving as the flagship of the Flying Kangaroo and dominating international routes to the USA, London, Europe and Asia, the Boeing 747s were steadily replaced by the larger Airbus A380 and the more modern mid-sized Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Boeing stopped producing the 'classic' Boeing 747-400 in 2005, and is now preparing to bring down the curtains on the stretched 747-8 series.

Also read: The Qantas Boeing 747 – looking back on a half-century of flying

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

15 Jan 2020

Total posts 1

Thankfully QF are doing this, will aim for the Syd scenic flight.

25 Jul 2011

Total posts 15

This is pretty exciting! I dibs the upper deck!

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 62

I dibs lower deck!

Have to love this sentence! "Boeing 747-400: boasting globe-striding range, it set a world record for the longest non-stop flight with a 20 hour marathon trek from London to Sydney (take that, Project Sunrise)." She rests permanently now at HARS, VH-OJA, "City of Canberra", #1 Longreach.

05 May 2016

Total posts 581

Nice idea. Sad that there's no Melbourne flight though in the current environment I don't think I'd want to do joyrides just for the sake of it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Nov 2012

Total posts 19

My first commercial flight was on a DC3 and it was only about 10 years later that I first flew on the Qantas '747B' as Qantas called it – what a contrast! I have very fond memories of those early 747s which (when first introduced) had generous leg room in Economy (more than the 707s of the time) and 2-4-3 (ie 9 across) seating, so plenty of shoulder room, too. First class had bigger recliner seats that didn't seem all that much more comfortable than Economy, the contrast between the two classes was more subtle compared to now, and there were only two cabins anyway, although Economy in the early days would probably pass for Premium Economy now. Meal trays were pretty generous, too, and in the interests of tidy male grooming there was even a communal 'razor bar' down the back of the aircraft with electric razors provided (later removed after health concerns, apparently). I travelled on a student charter flight to London in the mid 1970s where it was run of the plane, including the not-so-comfortable Captain Cook Lounge, and I also remember spending time on the flight deck having various things explained by the Captain, such as the SQ 747 in front of us. Definitely a different era! Earphones were plastic tubes that were quite painful to wear, and I don't remember even a movie screen (audio channels only), so entertainment has definitely come ahead in leaps and bounds – well, at least up until the time of Covid-19. What I remember most about the 747 was its size and its spaciousness – really something else. Every square inch on a 787 or even an A350 seems to be accounted for, whereas the 747 actually had space. I will always have a soft spot for those early planes – a fabulous design.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 101

May be a silly question but if a farewell flight quickly sells out, why wouldn't Qantas simply add another on if the demand is there ? At the end of the day it's more passenger revenue for the airline (and more work for their employees) - all of which would be welcome at this time.

BTW. David, could this be an ideal opportunity for an Executive Traveller community get-together ?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 926

Given they are all meant to be gone a few days later they may not the capacity in terms of people logistics etc.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 446

@Patrickk, I think there is only one active. VH-OJE

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 446

Oops, VH-OEJ is the last one ,

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 377

They may well end up doing exactly that! But would wait for the first flight to sell out before adding another.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 578

There is no revenue for Qantas as the article says its all cost recovery. But you do make a good point that if demand were there that more flights shouldn't be difficult.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2015

Total posts 41

Yes, but as I live in Adelaide, I will buy a domestic flight to connect with this.

21 Jun 2018

Total posts 4

A pity that Melbourne misses out, but then Melbourne has always been low down in Q's priorities.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 377

Do you need to have the reason explained for them not doing a MEL flight?

Qantas would need to drown the aircraft in Dettol afterwards!

11 Apr 2012

Total posts 3

:))))

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 477

Maybe sort out the behaviour of your fellow Victorians/Melbournians first re COVID-19 and then throw stones at Qantas..?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 147

I think its understandable its not doing flights from MEL with the current situation.

Shame its not getting over to WA though

15 Mar 2018

Total posts 37

Maybe Melbourne is out because they have COVID problems.

21 Jun 2018

Total posts 4

Q runs flights from Melbourne to Sydney so why not this flight?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Feb 2020

Total posts 7

Remember the days when QF had an all 747 fleet ! That was big news at the time. Very sad to see these wonderful Aircraft retired. My first ever flight was on a QF 747 in 1981, SYD > SFO ( via HNL) and with a cockpit visit mid Pacific. Wonderful memories.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

I'll be stuck at work during these flights. T_T

07 Nov 2018

Total posts 4

If I was given more notice I would have booked one of the flights.

20 Jan 2017

Total posts 41

Great to see any profits going to HARS and QFM. Highly recommend a visit to HARS to see OJA and many other great aircraft.

11 Apr 2012

Total posts 3

I think it is a fabulous initiative and one last hurrah for the Queen of the Skies. As I live on the East West Runway, I remember as a child the Jumbo's coming in to land and how they lit up the skies. To this day she is still the Queen majestically gliding into Sydney, with her head held high. Even visually compared to the A380's her shape an presence in the sky, will always be one above and be sorely missed by me. May she rest well in the Mojave and thank you for all your decades of service. Long Live the Queen.

KT
KT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2018

Total posts 3

Sad. Give me the upper deck on a Qantas 747 over any seat on any plane everytime. Lots of great memories.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 10

Yes, I remember an upper deck economy flight, albeit on JAL from Japan to USA. Felt so special being away from everyone else with our own staff and facilities.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 926

I did upstairs economy on a swiss air flight in the 1980s ex Colombo where I distinctly remember them introducing the movie as ‘A room with a window'; something got lost in translation. Upstairs though was very nice sort of a 737 cabin in a jumbo.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

09 Jun 2019

Total posts 5

There was a time not all that long ago after first class was withdrawn from some of the QF 747s, and the lower deck business class was extended to take up the space. If you were lucky, you could score one of the old first class seats near the front for a business class fare.

12 May 2013

Total posts 2

Can't join in the discussion as such but been flying twice yearly for the past 15 years Syd-JHB in the glorious 747 Long Reach - will miss her on this route - not sure what the replacement will be...

Japan Airlines - JAL Mileage Bank

06 Dec 2016

Total posts 1

The rates for the flight, Business: $747, Economy: $400. Love how it follows the airliner name 'B747-400'

04 Jul 2020

Total posts 1

Disappointing that there is no WA flight, would love to be on one, but can't justify the 2 weeks WA quarantine on the way back.

02 Jun 2013

Total posts 49

Will the aircraft be operating revenue sectors between BNE, SYD, CBR between the scenic?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 926

Doubt it too complicated for such a small load.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 72

Bargain, $400 to take a one hour flights from Brisbane to Brisbane. Now where did I put my credit card

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 748

Anyone fortunate enough to participate in these flights, make sure you are especially respectful to the flight and cabin crews. Many of them will be facing imminent redundancy following the elimination of the 747 fleet and are facing uncertain times.

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 62

That's a lay down misere. If it's tough for us passengers to "say goodbye" to the "Queen of the Skies", how much more so for those for whom she was their work place. We shall be kind and considerate, and wear our masks, like them or lump them. They're for the good of the health of us all. Fly safely and in health.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 134

Have been lucky and flown to Santiago and Jo'burg over the last 2 years both on the upper and lower decks. A great experience. Loved seat 1A on QF 63 to Jo'burg. A sad day in Qantas' aviation history.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 332

Does anybody have information on how to actually book these flights? Only information I have found says they will be bookable on the Qantas website from Noon today. However there is nothing up on the website and you can't search for flights Sydney-Sydney or Canberra-Canberra

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

They are bookable from 12pm noon Wednesday at Qantas .com

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 332

oops it is getting harder to keep track of what day it is lately

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 327

Clearly we can now see what QANTAS thinks of its Melbourne customers (go to hell?).

Brrrrrr - talk about the 'cold shoulder' !!!

We must again remind all readers to keep discussions civil, and on-topic to the article at hand. Comments which did not fit this description have been removed.

28 Feb 2014

Total posts 18

Its sold out! I was on the web site - kept refreshing (even rang Platnium Frequent flyer for the link at midday). When the link appeared on the website, it would not let me book - kept getting an error. Website says its sold out. BLOODY HELL! Very frustrating, hoping the roo may put on some more flights....

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 332

P1 got access yesterday. That probably didn't help. Hope everyone who got tickets has a wonderful time

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 327

Clearly there's an appetite for joy flights during the school holidays, just wonder if 777-300's would fill up as well or if its isolated to the 747. Perhaps the 'promotion' that accompanied the last time to fly in these planes helped out?

Hope the very well paid marketing executives have noticed and are paying attention.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Feb 2019

Total posts 6

A shame that at 12.00 +10 secs only Y seats available.Hopefully more flights same day may be scheduled...

A lot of frantic keyboard work and we got 2 x economy class tickets for Brisbane. No business available. Booking this has been top priority since seeing the announcement. It is going to be a very emotional experience.

Hope we get to depart on land on new runway - that will make it all extra special.

Booking shows BNE-Antarctica.

Pity we miss out on duty free!

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 62

I'll admit to being disappointed, even though my typing fingers worked at speed, others worked faster. Enjoy your flight, people, you did well. It was your turn.

I console myself with the memory of making my last international flight (before the curtain fell) back from Canada on VH-OEJ, "Wunulla". I've booked my seats to and from Sydney to wave her bye-bye. Hopefully a brass band, fire engines spraying water, staff and visitors will do her proud. She'll represent all her sisters over almost 50 years of carrying passengers. I saw the first Queen in Australia. I'll see the last. Farewell, lovely lady. Legions of loyal fans will miss you.

27 Nov 2016

Total posts 16

It was a wonderful plane which holds many wonderful memories of travelling not just for me but for so many. The world, travel & I have aged and changed so much during her time but she has survived with grace! As a Qantas P1, I am surprised QF did not invite P1's to enjoy one of these flights or perhaps my invitation is still in the mail!! I know others who are also P1 & Chairman's but did not receive invites either. Perhaps too many dignitaries and media to accommodate ahead of loyal customers! Still, I am glad for all those who have the chance to say a fond farewell, should be fun!!

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 62

Here, here, Janeblogs.

It was sad missing out on one last flight. We'd been fortunate to have flown many thousands of miles and over many years, and even (in my case, a last flight from Vancouver) on her. There were people who'd never been on a Queen who "struck gold" for a first, last and only flight. I'm sure they enjoyed the event and little bag of goodies. Farewell, beautiful lady. Hundreds of thousands of Australians will miss you.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 327

I sort of feel lucky in that a Singapore Airlines cargo plane (9V-SFM) flies over the house on a weekly basis, just low enough to identify as 747 with the naked eye (the four strong engines and hump are a dead give-away).

It will be interesting to see what becomes of the Qantas fleet, because I've no doubt they were nurtured and serviced like a baby and would be in excellent condition. Hopefully one of the readers here with inside knowledge of the aviation industry will keep us posted via the editors? I at least will/am very interested.

27 Nov 2016

Total posts 16

That's funny @Boeing-Tragic! This Joy riding 747 is off to the Mohave Desert later this week to join the rest of it's abandoned family & friends!

11 Apr 2012

Total posts 3

Good Bye our Beautiful Queen and thank you :*

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 327

Aside from QF7474 departing SYD @ 1400 hrs tomorrow, when do the others head off (or have they already gone)?

PS: Apologies to aviation enthusiasts around AUS (QF and VA alike) for the TOTAL STUFF UP caused by the Victorian Premier's choice of 'security personnel' (can you believe some local bunch of failed police cadets now dressed in black with a security number - over the ADF ??) and the resurgence of COVID-19. And just when both carriers were readying to amp-up their flight schedules.

'Embarrassed' doesn't begin to describe.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 578

The others have already gone hence this being the last.

And do we really need the political grandstanding in this thread?


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