Which Airlines Fly The Boeing 747-8I?

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The last generation of the iconic passenger Queen of the Skies is the 747-8I. As more airlines retire the 747-400s, the 747-8Is will likely be the best bet for getting on board one of these aircraft before they are gone for good, but don’t worry, you probably have some time before these jets leave the sky. Here’s a look at which airlines fly the 747-8I.

Boeing 747-8I
Only three passenger airlines fly the Boeing 747-8I. Photo: Boeing

Air China

This Beijing-based airline operates a grand total of seven Boeing 747-8Is. However, one of the aircraft is used for VIP transport by the Chinese government. Other than that plane, these aircraft traditionally operate much of the airline’s prestigious long-haul routes, such as to Frankfurt, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and more. The airline also uses these jets on domestic legs to high-demand cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou. All of these routes operate out of Beijing.

Boeing 747-8I Air China
Air China is the only Chinese carrier to fly the 747-8I. Photo: Boeing

Onboard an Air China 747-8I, passengers can find a four-class experience. On the upper deck, there are 30 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration. Another 12 of these can be found in the nose of the aircraft on the main deck. Lastly, behind the forward set of doors on the 747, there are another 12 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. This comes out to a grand total of 54 lie-flat business class seats.

There are 12 first class suites in a 1-2-1 configuration just behind the last set of business class seats and before the second set of doors on the main deck. And then, in a 3-4-3 configuration, there are 66 premium economy seats followed by 233 economy class seats, also in a 3-4-3 configuration. This comes out to a total of 365 passengers maximum on the jet.

Korean Air

Seoul-based Korean Air has 10 Boeing 747-8Is in its fleet. These aircraft first arrived at the airline about five years ago and also serve multiple routes. Some common 747-8I routes include New York, Atlanta, Singapore, and Honolulu, among others. All of these routes are served out of Seoul.

Korean Air Boeing 747-8I
Korean Air operates 10 of the 747-8Is and another seven of the 747-8F. Photo: Boeing

Onboard one of Korean Air’s 747-8Is, passengers can find a three-class configuration. In the nose of the jet, there are six first class “Kosmo Suites 2.0.” These are private, suite-style seats arranged in a 1-1 configuration. Business class, called Prestige Class at Korean Air, is split between the upper and lower deck.

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There are 22 seats in a 2-2 configuration upstairs and another 26 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration on the main deck behind first class. Lastly, in a 3-4-3 configuration, there are 314 economy class seats. This brings the plane’s total capacity to 368 passengers, just three more than Air China’s.

Korean Air business class
Business class on Korean Air’s Boeing 747-8. Photo: Boeing

Lufthansa

With 19 Boeing 747-8Is in its fleet, Lufthansa is the world’s largest commercial operator of the type. The German airline was the first airline to put the type into commercial service back in 2012. The 747-8Is primarily fly out of Frankfurt, where they operate to cities like New York, Houston, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and more.

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Lufthansa 747-8I
Lufthansa is the largest passenger operator of the Boeing 747-8I. Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa’s 747-8Is come in two different configurations. Both variants have eight first class seats located up in the nose. There are six seats flush against the windows, three on each side, with a pair in the middle of row three where the nose is the widest.

Business class is where things split. Lufthansa has a 2-2-2 lie-flat configuration on the main deck and a 2-2 configuration on the upper deck. One variant has 80 business class seats, while the other has 92. Both variants also include 32 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, also on the main deck. And then, one variant has 244 economy seats; the other has 208. Both variants have coach in a 3-4-3 configuration.

The total capacity for each variant is below:

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  • Eight first class, 80 business class, 32 premium economy, and 244 coach seats come out to 364 seats.
  • Eight first class, 92 business class, 32 premium economy, and 208 economy seats come out to 340 passengers.
Lufthansa First
Lufthansa’s first class seat on board a 747-8I. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Simple Flying was able to review the Boeing 747-8I’s first class last year onboard Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Johannesburg. It was quite an experience on board the last generation of the Boeing 747.

Which carrier’s Boeing 747-8I is your favorite? Will you fly on any of these jets? Let us know in the comments!

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