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See photos and video of yesterday’s BA Boeing 747 retirement – and take our BA 747 quiz

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Yesterday marked the final departure of the final two British Airways Boeing 747s from Heathrow Airport as the aircraft enter retirement.

BA 747 retirement pilot

Whilst the two aircraft were due to make a dual synchronised take-off, inclement weather meant that this was not possible. There was extremely poor visibility, reduced by the drizzle and very low lying clouds.

BA 747 retirement pilot (2)
Just three pilots were on board each aircraft to ferry them over to their retirement homes

Instead, G-CIVB lifted off at 8:40am and G-CIVY followed one minute later, managing to complete its flyover of the runway at 1000 feet.

BA 747 retirement Concorde tail
G-CIVY with the tail of Concorde in the foreground

The aircraft headed to different destinations – one to Cotswold Airport at Kemble and one to St Athan Airport in Wales – where they are being stored until their final fate, scrap or sale, is decided.

The weather wasn’t good in the Cotswolds either with winds of 20+ knots, which meant that G-CIVB had to circle seven times before finally making an approach.

BA 747 retirement nose to nose
At one stage, the aircraft were nose-to-nose (with a bit of perspective magic)

As well as photographs, British Airways supplied this video. If you cannot see the video, click here. Full credit to the team who turned this around in just a few hours:

Catch up on our Boeing 747 articles

It was back in July that we found out that the Boeing 747 fleet was heading for early retirement as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. You can read our original article on the news here.

We followed up with a two-part story detailing the events that lead to the design and development of the 747 at Boeing in the 1960s as well as an article on the history of the Boeing 747 at British Airways.

BA 747 retirement

Join us on Instagram for a BA Boeing 747 quiz

To mark the occasion we thought it would be fun to host a BA Boeing 747 quiz on our Instagram story this afternoon. You can follow us @HeadForPoints or by clicking here.

The quiz will be on our story from midday. Here is your starter for 10 – In which James Bond film was a British Airways Boeing 747 First Class cabin featured?


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses.

There are special sign-up bonuses on both of the BA American Express cards until 28th February 2022. The bonus on the free card is doubled to 10,000 Avios and the bonus on the Premium Plus card is increased from 25,000 Avios to a huge 40,000 Avios.

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios (SPECIAL OFFER) and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 30,000 Avios.

30,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 4th February 2022.

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

30,000 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 45,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

45,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 28th February 2022.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

45,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (14)

  • SM says:

    Sad to see it go, grew up flying in and watching take off’s of 747’s, absolute beauty, will be missed.

  • Gareth says:

    The 747 was all I wanted to fly as a child. I am fortunate to have done so on several occasions.

    She will be missed!

  • Tom says:

    The weather was shocking, maybe it was the sky crying 😢

    • Sanjay Patel says:

      Well Said. You are right. Rain was the sign of tears from Heaven.😢😢😢

  • Kate says:

    I was BA Cabin Crew for 22 years, leaving earlier this year. I flew on the 747 for my whole career. Amazingly the weather cleared to beautiful blue sky at Kemble yesterday, just for her to land, then closed back in again 😢 very sad. But I’m glad I was there to see it and get some photos

  • Paul says:

    That’s a bit of our flying history gone. When we first started travelling at the back on VS I longed to be upstairs. When that happened, I longed to be at the front. When that happened and we had 6A and K a couple of times, we loved the fact that no one could walk past us and we arrived at the destination before the flight crew.

  • marcw says:

    A shame the dual T/O didn’t happen. Stupid weather.

  • Adrian Dubock says:

    Between 1977 and 2007 i visited and worked in more than 90 countries. Wherever i could i flew BA on a 747 – the most comfortable combination, especially in business class in the upper cabin: wonderful. I already have missed the 747 for a number of years. Bye bye old friend! Gold For Life BA Exec Card holder.

  • Andrew says:

    Don’t forget – other airlines are available. Lufthansa is still flying the much more modern variant of the 747 and now that they have mothballed the A380, the 747 is their flagship for a long time to come.

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