In January 2016 was the last flight of the Boeing 747-400 AIR FRANCE. At the begining it was sheduled for march 2016, but later in 2015 it was moved to January 2016. So many flight enthusiast were looking for to fly on the very last flight of the french Queen of the Sky. Thanks to a a avgeek group I had the possibility to fly on this flight.
I made the AF747 flight which was the very last flight of this plane with passengers. Many passengers tried to get a booking. The airline received 30 000 calls to book a seat on this special flight. The flight price was 220 euros with a business class meal, champagne included. Then after the flight we had the opportunity to get a cocktail in the AIRFRANCE's hangar were was the Boeing 777-300 with the JonOne paint.
The flight a special 747 Tour de France, with many flight enthusiasts, and 747 lovers who came to say good bye a last time to this plane. Let's discover this farewell flight. What a special moment to share, and to talk about. Now let's board on the AF747 between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
This morning I had to wake up a bit earlier than usual. Normally I should be at work but I asked to had a day off. I got it. The day before the flight I made ready my bag. I had to make sure that my camera was working well, and it was. So to go to the airport I took the RER-train from Paris central, and after a 30 minutes ride I joinned some other flight enthusiasts. Before the check in opened (at 09:00 AM) we start to speak about this special plane. Then we were welcome to check in. We had the right to have only one handluggage, but for a 5 hours flights over France it was more than enought.
After check in, we went thought the security control, and passeport control. The atmosphere was a bit special after what happened last November. We quickly arrived in the waiting lounge, where we saw the famous Boeing 747-400 waiting us at the gate M24. Today's plane will be F-GITE (at that time he was 23 years old - like me). Just a bit earlier than us, another Boeing 747 took off for the AF744 flight, the second flight that AIRFRANCE opened due of the high demand of booking. For the little story, the call center had more that 30 000 calls just to fly onboard this special plane.
During the waiting time we had plenty of time to take as many pictures of this Queen as we want. Also it was time to meet other enthusiasts and to talk with them. Today's weather was not so nice, at the beining of the day but arround 10:30AM it was starting to be a bit better. The second flight (AF744) which depart earlier, took off with a sky which was more cloudy. At this time our plane was getting ready to board all Queen's enthusiasts.
Boarding was called. Everyone was going to the queue to board. At this time me and a friend were interviewed about this special flight, what feeling we had during this day, was does this plane mean for us (…) A last picture in front of this plane and we went to join the queue. Before to enter in the jetbrige, we were welcome by a line of AF's stewardess holding a panel with the 747 retirement flight logo.
Then we start to enter into the jetbrige were many people were waiting. It took more time than usual to enter into the plane because people were taken pictures. So welcome onboard !
When we enter into the plane, we had a nice welcome from the crew who guide us to our seat. Mine, was upstairs. I was really to be on the upperdeck today. I enjoy to climb the stairs. I was looking for my seat, and next to me a friend, because he didn't get an camera, I've suggested him to swap our seats, and then later on, I will send you the pictures of the event. I agree with me.
When I arrived upstairs, two stewardess were welcoming passengers who were sitted on the upperdeck. The first one was in the back galley and the next one was on the aisle heping people to sat. Many of other enthusiasts of "our group" was already arrived. All of us were happy to be here and to share this moment all together.
Few minuters later, boarding was completed. I discovered my seat, which was comfortable, a better pitch, and a little side compartement to tidy our belongings. Close to us was seatted a TV's team, and also the AF stewardess who was at the 747 ceremony at Seattle. You'll see her later on the article.
Some messages, were given by the crew about this last flight, the AF pdg made a little announcement and a final one was given by the Chief Captain himself. Now we are ready to depart, bakes released, push back !!! Then the safety video started on our IFE. I filmed it, so maybe later one I will upload it.
After the push back I start to read our today's menu. It will be a cold business class menu, served with champagne. Inside the leaflet there was a note about our special flight, and on it was writting the flight number AF747. After this short reading, I sat properly on my seat and start to enjoy the taxi before take off.
Cabin crew made a final check about the cabin, and sat to their seats. The weather was better, the Sun was starting to arrive !!! What a great news. Also I took time to observe arround me and also the panel above me, which is not so new but in a good condition. We were able to switch on the light from the IFE.
We had to wait a bit before the take off cause some other planes where also taking off. Like this B747-8i Cargo from Cathay Pacific, the water on the runnway, and the engines blast give a nice effect to the picture I think.
Just behind us, two planes were waiting for take off. There was a Airbus A330 Air France and a Boeing 777-300 Saudia wearing a special color sheme. Now we are on the take off runway ready release the brakes ! Last checks were made, after two or three minutes we received out take off clearance and brakes were released !
The 747 speed up quickly and with a great roar which was familiar for a Jumbo plane ! Shortly after starting to fly we were able to see the terminal 2, 3 and 1 on our right. The take off was short because the plane was not full in fiuel and suite case. The Jumbo was carring only passengers today.
Now we are above the clouds. On our left we were able to see Paris, but I was not able to see it from where I was. But anyway I got a nice view during our take off. What a great feeling to be aboard this Queen of the Skies. The sound was surprising and the feeling is so comfy, we are really able to feel how this plane fly, that's enjoyable !
After few minutes, seat belt sign was switched off and many aviation enthusiast start to get up and take some pictures. Also during this time, the crew served us a glass of champagne to start the flying farewell. After speaking with some other aviation enthusiast I start to walk into the 747.
During the flight a speechman was telling us about some stories about the Queen Lady stories. I took time to go to the main deck. At that time we were arrived to ou cruise altitude. But no many pepole stand up, it was great to walk into the plane. Also I start to ask to the crew if it was possible to sign my drawing souvenir. They start to do so.
When starting my walk into the 747, I started by the front of the plane, where was a special area for the radio channel Europe 1. They made a special recording onboard the flight. They made a special seating to allow them to work. Then we arrived into the aircraft nose, where were seating most of AIRFRANCE team such as the CEO.
During that time many people were chatting. When you are in the nose of the plane you here only one thing, the wind arround the nose. That's a special sensation. After I went into the galley to see how it was. As you can see my drawing was here, the crew was signing it.
I continue my little tour onboard the plane, here is the exit door, and the work area for the flight purser. And then a part of the cabin. At this time people stayed seated cause the crew will serve food shortly. Today the flight was full. Most of them were enjoying their glass of champagne and were chatting about their own experience about this Jumbo.
Before to return into my seat, I went a bit in the back of the plane. Here a picture of the plane's toilets. There are many of them in this plane, due of the long flying hours that the 747 can do. Then I went back to my seat because the meal service was starting. To be honest, I was a bit hungry, because I ate my breackfast a bit early this morning.
Now it's time to eat. We were flying over south east of France. Today's menu was a cold one to save time for the service and the to allow passengers to walk into the plane. Everyone got a business class menu due of the special event. I took time to eat everything. I was a nice meal. I really appreciated to eat it.
At the end of the meal, I looked a bit outside and the weather was still cloudy. What a shame cause we know that the french landscape is really enjoyable espacially in the south east with all the monts (Such as Mont Blanc). A little word about the plates and cutlery of Air France, the cutlery was from Cristophle and the plate from Guy de Grenne.
After the lunch I spent some time on the upper deck. I really enjoy this deck, because it is more quiet and we were able to chat each other without to be anoid. With us was the first Air France stewardess who was at the first 747 ceremony at Seattle. Many journalists were willing to get an interview with her.
I took some picture about the different panels that we can find on the upper deck. As you can see the upper deck's portholes are a bit differents than thoses that we can find on the main deck. After my little visit on the upper deck I went into the main deck down the stairs. The 747-400 stairs are differents than those we cabn find on the 747 SP or 100 series.
During my little main deck visit, there were more people in the ailses walking and taking pictures. At that time we were flying over french britainy. We were able to see the famous beach of La Baule. During this time, when I arrived at the back of the plane, I got the opportunnity to visit the crew rest.
Long time in the past I thought that the crew rest was at the front of the plane. I was right, there is one at the front for the pilots. But the one for the rest of the crew is in the back. I went there thanks to a small stairs. The roof of this little space is low, and we can find around 6 beds. That was very kind from the crew to allow us to visit this part of the plane.
Coming back from my visit on the crew rest, I went back to my seat on the upper deck. I got a liitle opportunity to take a last picture of a little hidded area, where the crew use to put their belongings. As well here a last picture of how was the upper deck. Everyone was back to their own seat.
During our decent, there were some clouds over Paris area. Which made a nice sky color. As well we were able to see on our personal TVs that we've made the Tour over France. That was a bit sad to see that it was the end of this flight. The crew made a last check to see if everyone attached their seatbelt.
During the decent, we were able to see that when we were out of Paris, it was raining. Pilot made a final announcement about our short time before landing. When we were arriving in the airport surroundings it was sunny and passengers on the right side were able to observe the plane's shadow.
We touch land on time. Because it was rainy before we arrived, we were able to see the water moving from the runway thanks to the engine reverse power. And then we exit the runway. It was a perfect kiss landing. It was a real pleasure to fly on this Queen of the Sky today !!!
Now we were taxing into the water salute. The pilot made an announcement to explain what's going to happen and that it was absolutely normal event. Also the crew ask to all passengers to stay sitting and fasten to their seats in case of an hard braking. At that time, all passengers were watching out the windows, and were taking picture about what's going on.
The water canon salute was great. After it we made a little turn to taxi next to the maintenance hall where the celebration will take place. After the turn, there was another great airplane, which is the Concorde. What an intense moment for many passengers when you know that it is the very last flight with passengers.
Last turn, disarmed slides, check and report. Last pictures about the wings view and it's time to disembark the plane. When going outside of the plane I took a last picture of the left wing. In the back we can see the 747 which made the AF744 flight a bit earlier. Let's discover where is the 3rd remaining 747.
After disembarking the Queen of the Sky, we went into the hanger where two planes were displayed. There were the B777 F-GSQI with the JonOne paint on it and also the B747 F-GITD. It was to show the old plane, and the new one which will replace the 747. During the time that we were waiting the crew coming, there were some speeches.
After the speeches, the first stewardess who was at the Boeing 747 ceremony, was here and she marked for the last time the 747. Many people were taking pictures. After the crew arrived and all passengers applaud them. After all speeches and all show, it was time now to enjoy some drinks around the 747. On the plane side there was some videos showing the begging of the 747.
I had the opportunity to take a picture with today's captain, and my drawing I made for the day. During the event now, people were chatting and taking some drinks. During this event, one 747 engine was open allowing people to see how it is inside the engine which is a good idea. After the event I went back to the main terminal to go back home.
When exiting the terminal, AIRFRANCE offer to us a bag with some souvenirs of this event. Finally I really enjoy the day. I met very nice people, and this last flight on the 747 was great !!! And the final event in the hangar was a great idea. As well you hope that you enjoyed my sharing about this special event.
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Few days after the farewell flight, AIRFRANCE organized a special week-end. To allow passengers who didn't get the chance to fly on the last flight. The french national airline, in partnership with Le Bourget airport/museum organized some ground visits about the Queen of the sky.
I've invited a friend to this special event. He didn't get the opportunity to fly on the last flight. So we joined at the airport, and when we arrived in the hall, we were welcomed by some AIRFRANCE's crew. Also on the welcome desk were displayed some articles link with the B747 AIRFRANCE history.
To be able to attend to this event we had to register. Then when we arrived to the Le Bourget Museum, our name was asked. The welcome crew asked us to wait and then someone come to bring us the the plane.
Some other people were waiting at the "gate" organized by the AF crew. It was Sunday, with the last group to visit the plane… That's was a bit special to see this Queen a last time. They took a last time our names to confirm our entry to this restricted area.
After everyone was checked, we were welcomed to follow the group. Some AF's crew explain us some details about this plane. In the group we were around 15, and some AF crew joined us during the visit.
We started from the front of the plane. Here is the nose gear. We were able to see how was the system to retract the gear. We were able to see all close details, that we are not always able to see clearly. Many questions were asked by the group.
Then we continue our ground visit, and we passed next to the front baggage hold. As you can see, there was a GPU (General Power Unit) allowing the plane to have some electricity cause the APU (Auxiliaire Power Unit) was off.
I took the opportunity to take some pictures of myself next to this plane. Also my friend do the same, he use to work with this plane in the past. He really enjoyed this day.
I found this visit really interested this visit. It was quite impressive to be next to this plane cause we are so small next to this Queen of the Sky. The size of this plane is really impressive.
Then we were under the wings. We had a great view about the gears. Also we saw how was the back baggage hold. We were very close to every parts of this plane. During this time engineers explain us how all the wings parts were working.
In the background, you can see some AF crew with the yellow jacket. They joined us during the visit. That was great to be with other crew cause we had the opportunity to talk about this plane, and about many souvenirs we had with this plane.
Children were really impressed about the size of the plane. For them the plane was really big and tall. Also you can see how we are small next to this plane. So now we we moved to the back gears.
Here we are. Inside the gear area when it it retracted. Many people were impressed to see so many cables. Children were really interested by this area, and asked many questions.
After the gears we took time to visit the engines. the left engine was open to be able to see inside. At that time, adults ask question about how an engine is working. It was a great feeling to be so close to a 747 engine !
After taking some pictures next to the engines, we were invited to enter into the plane to visit the cabin. When climbing the stairs, we had a nice view over the Bourget Museum's aircraft displayed and some biz jets.
What a strange feeling to see the cabin empty, with black screens. In front of us there was an other group. At the back of the plane a steward was explaining his job to the group. Children were asking many questions…
Some of us were invited to visit the crew rest (on the previous report). The steward was explaining to us some things about the galley, which is the working area of the cabin crew.
Then we were invited to go to the front of the plane, in the first class. And then to the upper deck. Another cabin crew shown us some things about the upper deck galley.
During our visit of the upper deck, the crew offer to us the safety card of the AIRFRANCE 747-400. That was very kind from them. I took the opportunity to take a picture with my 2 friends.
After the visit of the upper deck and the safety card present, we had the opportunity to visit the flight deck. At this time another Avgeek recognize me (Maxime Thibert). That was funny… and unexpected.
Like many other "passengers" of this visit, I had my photograph into the flight deck. Also I took the advantage to take pictures of the flight deck. I really like this cockpit, quiet comfortable. It is one if the highest flight deck which gave a special feeling.
After the visit of the flight deck, it was time to leave the plane. A last picture of the upper deck cabin, before to go to the main deck. Now it was time for the security team to visit the flight deck and to check that everyone leave the plane.
Let's go, now it's time to go. A last picture of the empty cabin. Last view over the wings.and on the side of the plane. The visit was ended, the security team was inspecting the plane to see if anyone leave the plane.
Last view before to be back on the ground. I was the last passenger to leave the plane. I was a bit sad to say good bye to this plane. That's not every day that we are able to visit a whole 747 and for free.
When I was back on the ground, what a surprise I had, I met the captain who was on the flight from La Habana to Paris, few years ago. That was really surprising to meet him here. Before to leave I got a little chat with him… What an ending surprise !
The visit is ended now. It's time to resume the day. It was great, to meet some friends, other AF's staff, crew. This free visit of the Boeing 747-400 was a great idea. I would thanks AIRFRANCE, Le Bourget for the event, and the APAF747 to make it possible.
Thank you for your reading and see you next flight.
Paris - CDG
Paris - CDG
To conclude it was a great flight, I loved it !!! Also I loved this plane the Boeing 747-400. I thanks a lot the whole crew for their kindness during this flight, which was not so easy, many people walking on the aisle, many questions, and keep smile... That was wonderfull, thank you AF for this flight ! Also thank you to the crew who signed my drawing. For the little story, my drawing and I were filmed for the AF little video.
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