When KLM Said Goodbye To The Boeing 747:End of an Era: Looking Back on KLM’s Farewell to the Iconic Boeing 747
When KLM Said Goodbye To The Boeing 747:End of an Era: Looking Back on KLM's Farewell to the Iconic Boeing 747 - The 747 - Queen of the Skies
The Boeing 747, affectionately known as the “Queen of the Skies,” has been an aviation icon for over 50 years. This massive jumbo jet revolutionized air travel when it first flew commercially in 1970. With its distinctive hump-shaped upper deck and four engines under the swept wings, the 747 became instantly recognizable around the world.
For KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the 747 has played an especially important role. KLM was one of the first airlines to operate the plane, putting its first 747 into service in 1971. Over the following decades, various 747 models made up the backbone of KLM’s long-haul fleet. On average, KLM had at least 30 jumbo jets in operation at any given time.
The spacious interior of the 747 allowed innovations that made flying more enjoyable. The upper deck was originally designed as a luxurious “flying lounge” area just for first class passengers. Airlines later added business class cabins upstairs as well. The 747’s size also meant airlines could give economy class more spacious seat layouts, which were welcomed by passengers.
For pilots, flying the Queen of the Skies became a badge of honor. Captains loved the power they commanded from the cockpit. The high vantage point allowed excellent visibility for takeoffs and landings. First officers appreciated learning from experienced captains on how to handle such a massive airplane. Of course, the 747 also brought challenges, like increased complexity of systems management.