El Al’s last commercial 747 flight takes a most memorable flight path

Nov 4, 2019

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Retirement flights are sometimes joyous, and sometimes somber. El Al completed its last commercial 747 flight on 3 November 2019, as flight LY1747 with aircraft 4X-ELC. The flight was scheduled to depart Rome (FCO) at 10 a.m. and arrive in Tel Aviv (TLV) at 3:45 p.m. TPG wasn’t on this final flight, but it seems the airline went for joyous and memorable based on the flight path:

The last commercial flight of El Al’s 747 on 4X-ELC. (Photo courtesy of Flightradar24)

Yep, El Al’s final 747 commercial flight drew a 747 shortly before landing in TLV. While this special flight path is a fitting tribute to the 747, some might counter that the airline created unnecessary carbon emissions by adding extra time and maneuvers to the flight.

El Al isn’t the first airline to have drawn something special in the skies though. One memorable example is when Boeing drew a 787 in the sky over the U.S. And, other final flights have taken special flight paths for sentimental reasons. One recent example is when Qantas’ VH-OJU, which is named “Lord Howe Island,” flew over its namesake when leaving Australia for the last time on its final commercial flight.

El Al is replacing its four-engine 747s with newer, more fuel-efficient twin-engine Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The switch from 747s to 787-9 Dreamliners is also an improvement for passengers, as the new aircraft feature vastly improved business, premium economy and economy seats. But, some passengers will miss the vintage feel of El Al’s 747s.

TPG himself flew El Al’s 747 in first class earlier this year and had an experience to remember — though perhaps not in a good way. Luckily, he has a video review to remember his experience:

Although many passengers are happy to see older products retire and be replaced with modern products and aircraft, some travellers hold a nostalgia for the Queen of the skies. If you’re still looking to fly on a 747, your best bet from the U.K. is British Airways or Virgin Atlantic.

If another airline retiring their last 747 from passenger service makes you nostalgic, check out the following AvGeek-friendly articles and flight reviews:

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Featured image by Jack Guez/Getty Images.

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