SGA2012: Saying a sad goodbye to SIA’s 747s

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As a young boy who dreamed of flying around the world, I had a fixation with the Concorde and the Boeing 747. Even now, just talking about these two beautiful aircraft or writing about them brings a silly smile to my face.


I never flew on the Concorde, although I got a photo of myself beside one in 2010 at Toulouse airport. I also happily parted with a lot of Euros for a beautiful model of one in British Airways colours at the Airbus shop in Toulouse.


I have, however, flown on the 747-400 several times and loved it almost every time. 


Occasionally, I snagged a seat in the upper deck – the special place in this venerable aircraft and my favourite spot. It feels like the cabin of a private jet to which only the invited few have access, and a place where you are virtually guaranteed special attention from the crew.


When you walked down those stairs after your flight, you could look around smugly at those who did not have the privilege. I certainly did that. The tables were turned when I was the one seated downstairs. I would look longingly at those stairs, and daggers would fly from my eyes targeting those who sashayed down with a smile.


Singapore Airlines operated the first 747-400 I flew on, and it was also the first one in which I got into the upper deck (Melbourne-Singapore). The advent of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER means that the 747-400 is no longer economical, and the final aircraft will be retired from SIA’s fleet in March.


So I am glad that the members of the public who are going to the Singapore Airshow next week will get a chance to see the 747-400 on the static display. This is one of the last opportunities to see this beautiful aircraft in SIA colours, and it will be a fond farewell from many of us to what was – and to a large extent still is – a symbol of the romance of flying.


There are many newer, faster and more comfortable aircraft aircraft out there and I certainly enjoy flying in all of them. And when there is an opportunity, I will fly in the 747-400s operated by the other airlines in the region.


Yet, for the romantic in me, the SIA 747 will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for the dreams and memories. You will be missed.


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