Saying Goodbye To The Virgin Atlantic 747, Up Close And Personal

On Friday, December 11th, 2020, I made my way to a Heathrow engineering hangar to say goodbye to the last Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747. 

The retirement from the fleet means yet another airline will never fly this iconic plane again.

Virgin Atlantic logged over 2.3 million flying hours with the iconic Boeing 747,  launching its first ever commerical flight on June 22nd, 1984, with a flight from London Gatwick to Newark. 

Four thrusters are increasingly rare, as airlines move to more fuel efficient, twin engine jets.

The 747 boasts one of the most iconic flight decks of any aircraft, and this plane, G-VROY known as "Pretty Woman" flew many Prime Ministers through its years. Parking next to Air Force One frequently...

Among the Boeing 747's many unique features was the Upper Deck "bubble", which offered huge storage to those in window seats. You'll never see those again. 

Virgin Atlantic used the 747 bubble for premium economy, and the world's most exclusive economy cabin.

The Virgin Atlantic 747 also offered one of the largest economy cabins on the main deck. Where does it end?

The retirement of the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 marks one of the last opportunities to fly business or first class in the nose of a plane. You're literally in front of the pilots upstairs in the bubble!

Cheers and farewell to Virgin's the Queen of the Skies.

Airlines are moving to more modern two engine planes, like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. 

As massive as they are, these 747 engines pale in comparison to new twin engine sizes.

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This Rolls Royce engine for the newer Boeing 787 is much larger than the 747 engines. For scale, the gentlemen climbing the ladder is over 6 feet tall. 

While it's nostalgic and sad to see the last Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 go, new planes offer innovative cabins, with better air pressure and. less noise. 

From Austin Powers to Air Force One, the 747 will forever be the most recognizable plane in the sky. It's sad to say farewell to the Virgin fleet. 

In true majesty, even after 50 years of service, a Boeing 747 set the record for fastest New York to London flight last year, in under 5 hours!

Goodbye, G-VROY "Pretty Woman". The last Virgin 747.