United Adding Final 1970’s Themed 747 Flight to Honolulu

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Update: This special flight has officially sold out within an hour or so of being announced. However, if you are interested, I bet some cancel within the 24-hour penalty-free timeframe, so keep checking back if you want a seat!

It has been a while since I took a flight that was sort of ridiculous just to do it, but I may have just found my return to taking “ridiculous” flights just to experience them in the newly announced United 747’s farewell flight to Hawaii!


In case you didn’t already know, United, like many other airlines, is in the process of retiring the “Queen of the Skies”. In fact, United’s last scheduled international flight of a United 747 is set for next month on October 29th from Seoul to San Francisco. I am not going to make that flight, but this newly announced farewell flight from San Francisco to Honolulu on November 7, 2017, might be too good to pass up.

As per the United press release:

This journey will serve as the ultimate throwback for customers, employees and invited guests as it recreates the first 747 flight operated by United in 1970. From a 1970s-inspired menu to retro uniforms for flight attendants to inflight entertainment befitting of that first flight, passengers will help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style. The original United 747 aircraft that first made this journey from San Francisco to Honolulu was named the “Friend Ship,” the same name bestowed on this farewell flight.

Ahhhh – yes, yea, and more yes!

The upper deck will not be sold, giving all guests the opportunity to spend time in this iconic space.

The journey will begin with a gate celebration at 9 a.m. local time at San Francisco International Airport, featuring a Boeing 747 gallery, remarks from United employees and executives, as well as refreshments. The flight will depart San Francisco International Airport at 11 a.m. local time, landing at Honolulu International Airport at 2:45 p.m. local time. Upon landing in Honolulu, local employees will welcome the aircraft with final festivities to close out the historic day.

The bad news is there is currently no award inventory, paid first and business class seats were snatched up within minutes, and coach tickets are 2x the price most other flights on that route currently at about $550. However, I put a coach seat on hold anyway while I see if I can make it work because I really, really love every single thing about this opportunity (other than the price). I flew on United’s first Dreamliner flight a few years ago and I would be thrilled to be on the final 747 flight to one of my favorite spots on earth.

Anyone else thinking about hopping on this “full circle” moment as United says goodbye to the 747 on the same route where it started in 1970?

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  1. When I was little, c. 1981, my family and I took a United 747 on the HNL-LAX route in First Class (no Business or EconomyPlus in those days). The upper deck was a lounge to hang out in complete with lounge chairs, a couch and a buffet of snacks and other hors d’oeuvres.

    The captain MC’d a game on the intercom with the prize being a bottle of wine. Whoever could guess the exact half-way time of the flight would win (of course with atmospheric conditions like winds it’s impossible to predict a half-way point, but oh well). Only one person got it “correctly”. Don’t know what they would’ve done if they had multiple winners as there seemed to be only one bottle available.

    Wonder if they’ll pull out at least some of the seats of the upper deck and set up some kind of buffet in.

  2. I can’t be off work that day, so will rely on trip reports. Hope you get to take that flight. However, there will be opportunities to fly 747s on other airlines after United retires their last one.

  3. I tried booking as soon as I saw the date. The departure was available for maybe a minute, but once I picked the return date, it was gone. I’m sick.

    • It disappeared so fast!! I saw first class available when I first looked and within a few minutes it was gone, then coach prices doubled, and then it sold out. I’ll be sure and tweet or comment here if I see any availability pop back! I bet some people will cancel.

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