The Boeing 747 is an aircraft of distinction, unique to the industry and part of our airline’s very identity. Those of us who have spent any part of our career here at United know of the incomparable attributes of the Queen of the Skies whether working as Flight Attendants, Pilots, Ramp Service or Airport Operations personnel. To all of us, her splendor is as well-known as her wingspan and as recognizable as her unique silhouette and we are all deeply connected to her. It is because of this connection that the news of the advancement of her impending retirement is bittersweet for us all.
Last March, management announced that this “venerable lady” would be retired by the end of 2018. With the advancements in technology, there are more fuel efficient, cost effective and reliable aircraft in our fleet. These new aircraft will provide a state of the art, updated inflight experience for those traveling and working on long-haul flights. However, our affinity for this grand dame of an aircraft will never be diminished. Our “lady” will be retired as of the fourth quarter of 2017.
Since United began flying this aircraft between California and Hawaii in the 1970’s, millions of passengers and employees have had the opportunity to experience the expansive interior and comfortable ride. As we bid farewell to the Queen of the Skies we will honor her memory with an unforgettable retirement celebration that will recognize her many contributions to the success of our airline and will create an experience that will become a memory - in and of itself.
Management has prepared a Q & A document intended to address employee’s initial questions on her retirement. However, because of our affinity for her, it may be difficult for many of us to understand and accept her retirement. Time marches on and so must we. And, as in all we do, we will do so together, remembering fondly our experiences with this grand aircraft. And we will smile.