No American airline flies it anymore, but the Jumbo has been mythic for decades:

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ANA B747-400. Wikimedia, photo by Kentaro Iemoto

Is it still possible for a passenger to board a Jumbo Jet?
Which airlines are still operating the B747 in 2018?

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    $\begingroup$ FWIW the A380 (and other wide body airliners) is also a "Jumbo Jet" the 747 just happens to be the original Jumbo Jet $\endgroup$ – Dave Jan 10 '18 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ Does commercial use == passenger use? There's also the many 747's in use as freighters, are those worth mentioning? $\endgroup$ – DylanSp Jan 10 '18 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Boeing_747_operators $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Jan 10 '18 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Dave A lot of people consider the phrase "Jumbo Jet" to refer specifically to the 747. I certainly disagree with your suggestion that it can refer to any wide-body at all. Nobody used that term for the DC-10 or the Tristar, so it would be strange to use it for, e.g., the 777. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Jan 10 '18 at 22:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Dave: I thought A380 was a Superjumbo Jet? $\endgroup$ – Mehrdad Jan 11 '18 at 22:28

There are still lots of 747's in scheduled passenger service and at least a few dozen of them will almost certainly remain so for the next 20+ years.


There were deliveries of passenger 747-400s all the way up through 2005, so the newest ones are only about 12-13 years old. The U.S. airlines, however, were among the first customers and had some of the oldest ones. In Delta's case, they literally had the oldest one, as Northwest (which Delta acquired several years ago) was the launch customer of the 747-400. So, while Delta and United's 747s were mostly over 20 years old (some over 25,) many other customers operate much newer ones.


While the 747-400s are on their way out, the 747-8Is are mostly only a few years old and should still be flying for decades. These are currently flown by 3 airlines in scheduled passenger service, as well as several others in charter and/or VIP service.

While the Delta 747-400s with their lovely 14-seat 1-1 business-class configuration upstairs are unfortunately no more, if you're looking to ride upstairs on a 747, my personal recommendation would be Korean Air's 747-8s.

Other Commercial Operations

There are lots of 747s in cargo service and this doesn't appear likely to change any time soon. The 747-8F is still in production and has accounted for almost all of the recent new 747 orders. It appears that it will remain in production for at least the next few years and possibly quite a bit longer than that. UPS ordered 14 of them a little over a year ago, so that will keep the line going for at least a couple more years by itself.

Aside from the numerous 747-400 cargo and charter operators, the following operators all fly the 747-8F and, so, will likely continue flying it for a couple more decades:

  • UPS (14)
  • AirBridgeCargo (7)
  • Silk Way Airlines (5)
  • Saudi Cargo (5)
  • Korean Air Cargo (7) (in addition to the 10 747-8Is operated by Korean Air)
  • Cathay Pacific Cargo (14)
  • Volga-Dnepr Airlines (5)
  • Atlas Air (10)
  • Nippon Cargo Airlines (8)
  • Cargolux (14)

Additionally, 8 747-8Is are being operated as business jets or VIP jets, not counting the 2 recently purchased by the U.S. Air Force for use as the next Air Force One fleet. If the past is any indication, the Air Force One 747-8s will likely still be in regular service (though technically not commercial service) even longer than most of the other recent 747 deliveries, due to the relatively low number of flight cycles that they get. They could possibly remain in service 30 years from now or more. For comparison, the current Air Force One fleet is composed of modified 747-200s, which have long been retired from airline service.

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    $\begingroup$ KLM are planning to retire their in 2020, pending delivery of replacement aircraft (if those are delayed, the fleet may of course remain in service a bit longer). $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jan 11 '18 at 12:55

Quite a few, actually.

British Airways is the largest operator of B747-400 and flies a number of routes:

Where does the Boeing 747-400 fly?

The aircraft operates on a variety of routes, including:

Beijing Boston Cape Town Dubai Lagos

Las Vegas Mexico Miami New York (JFK)

Phoenix San Francisco Toronto

Air China operates both 747-400s and 747-8s

KLM does so but is phasing the 747-400 out

Korean Air, Lufthansa, Thai Airways, Virgin, El Al, Saudia operate 747s, among others.

Wikipedia lists 489 747s in service as of July 2017 though around half of them are cargo and the numbers would have reduced still further by now.

The latest data that I could lay my hands on lists the following airlines (less than twenty, sadly):

  • Air China

  • Air India

  • Asiana Airlines

  • Atlas Air

  • British Airways

  • China Airlines

  • Corsair

  • El Al

  • Iraqi Airways

  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Mahan Air
  • Qantas
  • Rossiya Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Wamos Air
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    $\begingroup$ At first it looked like "Beijing - Boston - Cape Town - Dubai - Lagos" was one route that BA flies 747s on. $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Jan 11 '18 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ just like in good old days when they had the famous all around the world route :) youtube.com/watch?v=Z1iOWJIdIRo&index=122 $\endgroup$ – Bela Vizer Jan 11 '18 at 14:28

There are many airlines still operating the 747 in passenger service. Lufthansa has bought the 747-8, the last delivery was in April 2015, so I'd expect that the 747 will be in passenger service for at least another 20 years.

Here's your choice:

  • KLM
  • Lufthansa (both the Boeing 747-400 and 747-8)
  • British Airways
  • Thai Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Iran Air (747-200, probably the oldest passenger 747 still in commercial service)
  • China Airlines
  • Air China
  • Korean Air
  • Qantas
  • Air Atlanta Icelandic
  • El AL
  • Corsair
  • Dubai Air Wing
  • Saudi Airlines
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Wamos Air
  • Rossiya Airlines
  • Atlas
  • Asiana
  • ...

Probably more, but this is a start.

  • $\begingroup$ Air Atlanta Icelandic is a lessor and charter operation, right? Perhaps their most famous 747 is "Ed Force One," Iron Maiden's 747. It flies with the callsign "Atlanta 666." $\endgroup$ – reirab Jan 11 '18 at 4:06

I took this photo in July 2016 at the Frankfurt airport. So at least in 2016 Lufthansa did indeed operate Boeing 747.

Photo of Lufthansa operated Boeing 747

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    $\begingroup$ These will keep on flying for a long time, since they're 747-8s, which entered service in 2012. $\endgroup$ – florisla Feb 2 '18 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ I flew a Lufthansa 747 in June 2018, though I think it was a -400, not a -8. Sadly, I didn't bother to look out the terminal window to see, nor do I remember from the seat back card. It was a lovely plane! $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Apr 1 at 12:14

Delta just retired their last 747, but plenty of others still use them. If you are in the Dallas area, you can see several 747's (mostly cargo, but BA operates the DFW->LHR->DFW route with a 747-400 - we call her "The Queen")


Looking at the older models, even the 747-200 is in commercial use, here is a complete list. Some days ago a 747-200 of Fars Air Qeshm was damaged in an accident. Boeing is not allowed to deliver repair parts.

But mins asks actually about flying as passenger. I'm not sure, but a 747SP is some kind of 747-100? So it is maybe possible to fly as passenger with one from Las Vegas Sands. But I'm afraid you have to spend a lot of money.


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