Yesterday, United Airlines announced that retirement of its Boeing 747 fleet would be accelerated by a year from a flet update announced last march, with the last 747 flight now planned for late 2017. The primary replacement for the 374-seat Boeing 747-400 will be the 366-seat Boeing 777-300ER, which will enter service with United next month and then graduate to international flying in March. For now, United still operates the 747 on six routes, all from San Francisco.
United starting flying the 747 in 1970 and over the following 47 years operated 87 examples of the type in four different models:
Today's Featured Map looks back 15 years to United's 747 flying in mid-January 2002. At that time, United had its full fleet of 44 Boeing 747-400s though the winter schedule only required 19 of them. (The remainder were undergoing maintenance or flying charters; during the heavy northern summer all were needed.) This schedule consisted of 36 segments totalling nearly 168,000 statute miles—just over 270,000 kilometers. In addition, three routes flown today but not 15 years ago are shown in grey. (The other three current routes, also flown in 2002, are to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Taipei.)