Another airline has said its final goodbye to the Boeing 747 passenger jet. That come Monday as Taiwan-based EVA Air retired its last passenger version of the jumbo jet in Taipei. Throngs of aviation enthusiasts gathered in Hong Kong to join the airplane for its final flight to EVA’s Taipei headquarters.
Pressed against the glass, they snapped photos and traded stories with one another while waiting to board. “This is part of the reason I joined the aviation-industry,” said passenger Benjamin Hui of Hong Kong before boarding the jet. Hui worked as a loadmaster on the jet, and EVA 747s were some of the first airplanes he serviced. On the flight deck, Capt.
Dave Gose and first officer Ali Shu were readying the airplane for its final departure but found it tough to get any work done, thanks to the never-ending queue of passengers hoping to pay them a visit. Fliers packed the airplane’s cozy upper deck and clogged the stairwell in the moments before pushback and taxi. Visitors snapped photos, posed for selfies, and asked the two pilots to sign all manner of memorabilia. “This is a little bit crazy,” laughed Gose. TODAY IN THE SKY : Trip report and photo tour: Inside EVA’s Hello Kitty plane ( 747 story continues below ) That chaotic vibe continued once airborne.
Within moments of the seat-belt sign turning off, passengers flooded the aisles, galleys and even the lavatories. It was all part of an effort to take in as much of EVA’s 747 as they could. Flight attendants hurried about the jet as they worked to complete a meal service for all 370 passengers on the short, 1-hour, 17-minute flight. After landing, enthusiasts rifled through seat-back pockets for unclaimed safety cards, taking them as unofficial momentos of the experience. A line once again formed for the two pilots, though this time down on the main deck. For a jet that has served many airlines since the 1970s — especially in Asia — EVA’s nearly 25-year run is comparatively short.
But the addition of the plane to the EVA fleet in 1992 enabled the then-fledgling airline to spread its wings on trans-Pacific routes that had previously been beyond its reach. EVA added Los Angeles first, in late 1992, before expanding to New York and Seattle the following year. EVA’s 747 went on to serve 28 cities in its tenure with the company, airline officials said. T ODAY IN THE SKY : Behind the scenes at a flight attendant training center ( 747 story continues below ) EVA also used the plane’s unique size to roll out one of the first premium economy cabins in the industry, making it one of the first with four classes of service (first, business, premium economy and economy). When the airline cut first class from its jets, EVA installed economy seats on the airplane’s considerably more-private-feeling upper deck, a perk almost exclusively […]