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Saying goodbye to the Queen: our tour of Virgin’s last Boeing 747 (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of our press preview of Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 747 retirement event yesterday. Part 1 is here.

Crossing under the aircraft, we moved to the opposite wing where one engine was unfurled for engineering work:

Virgin Atlantic 747 GE CF6 engine

Which exposed the complex piping of the turbofan:

Virgin Atlantic 747 turbofan

We also took a peek into the forward cargo hold:

Virgin Atlantic 747 cargo hold

Virgin has flown over 3,500 dedicated cargo flights since the pandemic started, transporting essentials such as PPE. With lots of routes suspended worldwide many airlines are now flying cargo-only flights and are even putting cargo into the cabin.

Back on board, we took a look at the flight deck, which is situated in the nose on the upper deck of the aircraft:

Virgin Atlantic 747 cockpit

Before I got carried away and reversed Pretty Woman out of the hangar, I opened the flight deck’s emergency escape hatch:

Virgin Atlantic 747 escape hatch

What an amazing view!

Virgin Atlantic 747 Vaga girl

After our tour of the aircraft we sat down for a three course meal in the exclusive 14-seat Upper Class cabin in the nose:

Virgin Atlantic 747 Upper Class cabin

The champagne was free-flowing….

Virgin Atlantic 747 champagne

I had the mozzarella and tomato salad:

Virgin Atlantic 747 starter

The Dingley Dell pork belly:

Virgin Atlantic 747 main

…and a cheese selection to finish.

Virgin Atlantic 747 cheese board

It was a wonderful reminder of long-haul travel and a taster – I hope – of what 2021 has in store for us. Touch wood ….


The 747 has played an iconic role in aviation since its debut in 1970. In the last 50 years it has flown passengers from virtually every corner of the earth – and made a lot of memories in the process.

The retirement of Virgin’s 747s is the bittersweet end of an era. On the one hand, these aircraft are iconic with their unique profile.

On the other hand, they are gas guzzlers, and newer aircraft are both more efficient and more enjoyable with quieter cabins and higher cabin pressurisation to reduce jet lag.

It will be sad to see the 747s go – but at least they’re leaving in style.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (April 2024)

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

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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