Delta’s finally final 747-400 flight flies

How many different final flights will the 747-400 take? For Delta Air Lines today is the final “final flight” for the type as N674US finally flies off to the boneyard in Arizona as flight DL9971.

Today’s flight comes after:

  • The final scheduled domestic flight last summer
  • A couple extra domestic flights after that for hurricane evacuation lift from Florida
  • The final scheduled international flight from Seoul in December
  • The extra final scheduled flight from Seoul added in after the “celebratory” flight; incidentally, this flight was then delayed a day because of crew staffing issues
  • A grand “farewell” tour of 13 final flights (mostly for crew and media) to the various hubs the 747 served under the Delta and Northwest brands
  • The final charter flights, culminating with the Clemson Tigers football team’s trip home on 2 January; bonus points for getting all the charter customers to share the social media love for the #DL747Farewell tour

I probably missed a few in there, too.


The celebration en route to Marana, Arizona will include a wedding on board, among other things.

Oh, and the 747 really isn’t gone yet.

This is the final retirement for a US-based scheduled passenger operator but not the last US-based passenger 747 (Atlas Air flies them for charter) and definitely not the last passenger 747-400 (British Airways expects ~5 more years of flights, including many US routes). Plus there are the 747-8i still flying, though not nearly as many of those as the prior generations of 747.

I’m in favor of celebrating airplanes and aviation and these fleet retirements are as good a reason as any. But the Delta #DL747Farewell saga seems to be dragging on quite a while now. Perhaps it really ends today.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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