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United, Delta ready to retire 'Queen of the Skies'


Delta and United are the only two U.S. carriers with 747s still in the air, but both have announced plans to retire them, marking the end of an era for the jumbo jet once dubbed the "Queen of the Skies."

There are still about 500 747s of various models flying, but increasingly they are being replaced by more fuel-efficient large airliners that can serve more routes economically, especially the 777 and 787 family from Boeing, and Airbus's A330 and A350 models.

Although those all carry fewer passengers, the 747's huge capacity, up to nearly 500 passengers in some configurations, isn't needed on many routes. Delta's and United's have been flying with about 375 seats. Although the last passenger 747 is already several years old, the line continues to produce cargo versions, and recently got a large order from UPS.

Overseas carriers with significant numbers are led by British Airways with 39, Korean Air with 37 and Lufthansa with 32. All are phasing them out, although none has announced a deadline. But Delta, which will be down to 5 by the end of this year will replace them with A330 and A350 planes within a year, and United expects its last 20 to fly off the radar by the end of 2018, replaced by 787 and 777 models.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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I'm afraid to say that the changing modes of transport are a yard stick to measure your life-span.

I remember with great affection travelling on a steam train. But fail to recall the hot ash that went into your eye through the open window.

My favourite childhood vehicle .....Ice Cream Bike


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