KLM Waves Goodbye To The Boeing 747 On Its Chicago Route

KLM is slowly retiring its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft. As such, the airline is gradually replacing the Boeing 747 with other aircraft across its routes. On Friday the airline operated its final Boeing 747 flight to Chicago.

KLM, Boeing 747, Chicago
KLM has flown its final Boeing 747 operated Chicago Service. Photo: KLM

The Boeing 747, also known as the queen of the skies, is an icon of the aviation industry. However, as airlines become more interested in two engines as opposed to four, the 747 is gradually being phased out of passenger service. Airlines across the world are gradually replacing these aircraft with two-engined aircraft. For example, KLM will be replacing the 747 with the Boeing 787-9 according to data from FlightRadar24.

KLM, Boeing 747, Chicago
City of Shanghai was the last Boeing 747 in KLM colours to fly to Chicago. Photo: KLM

Final Boeing 747 flight to Chicago

KLM’s final Boeing 747 operated flight to Chicago took flight on Friday. The flight, KL611 departed from Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport at 12:42. Unfortunately, the aircraft got off to a delayed start with a scheduled departure time of 12:25. The flight was operated shortly after the airline’s 100th birthday.

KLM, Boeing 747, Chicago
The last flight to Chicago arrived ahead of schedule. Photo: KLM

The aircraft initially flew in a roughly Northern heading, before making a left turn parallel to Copenhagen. While the aircraft initially climbed to an altitude of 30,000 feet, it continued its climb to 36,000 feet and then 37,000 feet. It then skirted around the top of Scotland before passing below Iceland. The aircraft then cut across Greenland before heading toward Chicago over Canada.

The Boeing 747’s scheduled time of arrival into Chicago was 13:55, however, FlightRadar24.com reports that the aircraft arrived into Chicago at 13:43, a whole 12 minutes ahead of schedule.

KLM, Boeing 747, Chicago
The final flight from Amsterdam to Chicago. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Chicago celebrations

The final Boeing 747 flight operated by KLM into Chicago didn’t go unnoticed, either by the airport or the airline. Most momentous flights will receive a water cannon salute. This is when a fire engine parks either side of where the aircraft will taxi. They then both fire water into the air to make an archway for the aircraft to pass under. The Boeing 747 was afforded this treatment on Friday.

KLM, Boeing 747, Chicago
The final 747 services didn’t go unnoticed. Photo: KLM

Additionally, KLM and the Airport hosted a big celebration at the gate in Chicago. This included cupcakes, photo opportunities, balloons, and more.

KLM, Boeing 747, Chicago
Balloons and cupcakes were present. Photo: KLM

When passengers boarded the flight from Chicago, they may also have received a little treat. KLM told Simple Flying that its premium passengers received a postcard, champagne, and a KLM Boeing 747 keyring. Meanwhile, other passengers were offered cupcakes to commemorate the occasion.

KLM, Boeing 747, Chicago
Passengers received treats onboard. Photo: KLM

About the aircraft

The final 747 service to Chicago operated by KLM was operated by an aircraft registered as PH-BFW. According to AirFleets, the aircraft is named the City of Shanghai. It first flew 19 years ago on the 11th of October 2000. However, the aircraft was delivered to KLM 15 days later on the 26th of October. The Boeing 747 is a combi aircraft, meaning that the back of the main cabin deck can be used for freight.

Were you on KLM’s final Boeing 747 flight from Chicago? Let us know how it was in the comments.