One Less Queen: KLM Schedules The Boeing 747’s Retirement

KLM has just scheduled its last Boeing 747 Combi flight, from New York JFK to Amsterdam on January 3, 2021. If you have always wanted to fly onboard the KLM 747, the clock is now ticking for you to buy that ticket.

KLM
KLM is set on retiring its Boeing 747 fleet. Photo: Nicky Boogaard via Flickr

What are the details?

As reported by The Points Guy, KLM has moved ahead with plans to retire the Boeing 747 and has scheduled the final passenger service on the aircraft for their network.

Specifically, Routes Online is reporting that the final trip will be flight KL644 from New York (JFK) to Amsterdam (AMS) on January 3, 2021.

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KLM
The final flight of the KLM Boeing 747. Photo: GCmaps

Not only is it the last KLM Boeing 747 passenger flight, but it will also be the last Boeing 747 Combi Aircraft. As we mentioned in our special 747 variant article, the ‘combi’ version of the 747 was a special aircraft that could carry passengers and cargo via a moving divider.

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If an aircraft was going to fly a route with little passengers but a big demand for cargo, KLM could quickly reformat the aircraft to carry more cargo. This feature was especially useful for KLM when it flew to its Carribean destinations like St. Maarten.

It is possible that another airline might pick up the airframe when it is retired (like a cargo carrier), however, with so many cheaper and more efficient aircraft on the market it is unlikely.

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What is it like to fly onboard the KLM 747Combi?

The KLM Boeing 747 ‘combi’ is configured to carry 268 passengers.

There are 35 lie-flat seats in business class, spread over two decks. These seats have 80 inches of pitch in a lie-flat mode and are in a 2-2 configuration in most of the rows.

The next cabin onboard is the premium economy (economy comfort) with 35 inches of legroom in a 3-2 configuration with a single aisle. The other half of the aircraft, including the other aisle, is actually a galley.

The economy cabin has 197 seats with 31 inches of pitch in a 3-4-3 configuration.

KLM Incident
KLM is iconically known for its sky blue Boeing 747s. Photo: KLM

A cool item to note (and well said by The Points Guy) is that thanks to the way the 747 fuselage curves forward, seat 1A and 1K in business class actually look forward. This gives you a look down the runway as you take off and land, and allows you to make sure there is nothing in front of you when flying.

And as mentioned at the start of the article, it is unlikely that you will be down the back of the aircraft as this space is reserved for cargo.

If you want to catch this aircraft before its retired, you can fly onboard the last flight to Amsterdam from New York on the 3rd, or another KLM 747 Combi from these destinations:

  • Mexico City to Amsterdam on the 28th of November.
  • Toronto to Amsterdam on the 31st of December (Happy New Year).

What do you think about this news? Will you be jumping onboard the KLM Boeing 747? Let us know in the comments.

The schedule information in this article was originally published by Routes Online.

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Marc

We all knew this was coming, nevertheless sad news.
As with other retirements in recent years (MD-11, Fokker F-70) it is very likely KLM will schedule farwell flights after those dates for the public. The Boeing 747 will not leave KLM without spending some attention to it’s long service life with the airline.
In 2021 KLM will have the aircraft in service for 50 years (since 1971).

Anonymous

It just makes me sad to know the queen of the sky is leaving the sky. I have never even flown on one yet, and they are going away too soon ):

Gerry S

Another fond farewell for another quad jet. End of an era.

ian mcintosh

PAN AM used the combo out of Australia. Dining for first class pax was a treat – you would order your steak from your seat up front – and go upstairs to your candlelit table for dinner.

Jon

Pan Am only ever owned the 747-100, 200 & SP variants. The only 747-200 combi aircraft were owned by KLM and UTA. The main combo’s were all 747-300 which Pan Am never operated any type of 747-300 Pan Am did operate a lot of 747SP’s from Australia and they had the upstair dining for first class passengers

William

Why haven’t KLM ordered the new and great 747 8 like Lufthansa has done…? Still the most comfortable airplane in the sky…!