As of today, no US airlines operate the mighty Boeing 747

build you your own 747-8—but don’t expect it to be cheap!

On a personal note, the 747 has been a pretty important aircraft in my life. When my family moved from South Africa to the UK in the late 1970s, it was onboard a jumbo jet. And I’m pretty sure the same is true for my move to the US back in 2002. This past summer I crossed the Atlantic in 747s twice, most memorably sitting in seat 1A on one occasion.

even ferrying space shuttles. The US Air Force uses a small fleet of E-4Bs as airborne doomsday control centers, and it even tried using one for ballistic missile defense, complete with a giant laser poking out its nose. More outrageous (stillborn) proposals even wanted to use 747s as mobile cruise missile launchers or as airborne aircraft carriers for little jet fighters.
Boeing was already having a pretty good time selling its 707 jetliner, but Pan American Airlines boss Juan Trippe wanted something special for his passengers, and he approached the aircraft manufacturer with a request for a plane that could carry twice as many passengers as its bread-and-butter long-haul model. In 1966, Trippe signed an order for 25 of the new passenger airliners. The first of these entered service in 1970, and the world would never be the same again.

two people who got married mid-flight—for it marked the very last flight of a Boeing 747 being operated by a US airline. Delta’s last scheduled passenger service with the jumbo was actually late in December, at which point it conducted a farewell tour and then some charter flights. But as of today, after 51 long years in service, if you want to ride a 747 you’ll need to be traveling abroad.

Delta at Twitter: