A Bucket List Dream: Riding in the Upper Deck of a Boeing 747
There are a lot of “Bucket List” things I’ve dreamed about doing but one of them that I never thought I’d actually be able to do was ride in the upper deck of a Boeing 747. It’s a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid but as I’ve gotten older and airlines increasingly started retiring them my hope for making it happen began to dwindle. Luckily though I had the opportunity to do last December as part of a 40th Birthday Present trip to Europe sponsored by Viking Cruises to tour Christmas Markets on the Rhine.
While the entire experience was truly a bucket list experience, I was like a little kid the moment I got to the tarmac at London’s Heathrow Airport. The 747 is a HUGE aircraft with a wingspan of 211 feet and four super powerful Rolls Royce engines giving it a range of 8,357 miles. Honestly though, you don’t begin to understand how massive it is unless you also have the experience of walking up the stairs to it. I’m not sure why there was no jet way for our flight, but I’m sorta glad there wasn’t since I got to see it from the outside up close.
Then, once we were at the top of the stairs it was time to enter the plane and ascend another set of stairs to the upper deck. This is where the experience became even more remarkable. This plane has 55 rows and can carry more than 300 people (275 people in the configuration we flew on) … but once we climbed up the stairs to the upper deck it was like we were in our own private cabin.Riding the Upper Deck of a Boeing 747 with British Airways is now on my Bucket List! #BritishAirways Click To Tweet
With only 20 people, our own dedicated attendants, two bathrooms and even our own snack bar – we were in a world of our own. Aside from the fact that I felt compelled to walk downstairs “just because I could”, there was no reason to leave our elite little private plane experience.
Like many bucket list experiences, this wasn’t cheap and I likely will never be able to replicate it again. However, it is a memory of when air travel used to be fun. Never again will there be a plane like this.
Even the Airbus A380, the only other double decker passenger plane right now has its upper deck spanning the entire length of the plane. While I look forward to flying one of those soon, it can’t possibly match the experience of a two by two seating arrangement with near private plane service.
Hats off to British Airways. While our plane was certainly among the older metal flying the skies today, it had been recently updated with new seats, new lighting, and perhaps most importantly a new inflight entertainment system. On our 10+ hour flight from London to San Diego that was a wonderful experience. As were the Cadbury chocolates and champagne that were being constantly offered to us!
It’s an experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and if you too share this dream – make sure you book your flight soon! While there were once hundreds of 747’s flying the skies, British Airways – the largest operator of them currently – only has 40 still in active service. Other airlines such as United Airlines and Delta will be retiring their remaining planes by the end of the year.
About the Author: James Hills
James lives in San Diego, California with his wife and dog Niki Belle. He loves to travel and explore new experiences across the United States and around the world. James is a freelance writer for several publications in addition to running ManTripping.com a site dedicated to men’s travel and lifestyle topics. He is also a member of the IFWTWA and the #MenWhoBlog blogger network. His goal for 2017 is to finally tour Alaska – the last of the 50 US states that he needs to visit.
Don’t forget to Pin this to your Bucket List Board!