Virgin Atlantic is going to turn it’s last Boeing 747 ‘Queen of the Skies’ into a pop-up restaurant for one night only before the iconic 19-year-old plane is retired for good. Tickets for the event are just £50 but will be in short supply as space is strictly limited because of Coronavirus restrictions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hastened the end of the gas-guzzling Boeing 747 as airlines turn to more efficient twin engined aircraft like the 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 which also have the benefit of a smaller capacity that better matches travel demand in a post-COVID world.
Virgin Atlantic wants to give it’s final 747 a proper send-off even though strict Coronavirus restrictions are still in force by taking a lucky few passengers on a tour of the aircraft. Afterwards, paying guests will sit down in the Upper Class cabin for a three-course a-la-carte meal inspired by Virgin Atlantic’s onboard menu.
“The much-loved Boeing 747 has played an important role in Virgin Atlantic’s story. It carried our first passengers to New York 36 years ago on our inaugural flight and over the years has transported countless millions of holiday-makers and business travellers safely around the world,” commented Virgin Atlantic’s chief customer and operating officer Corneel Koster.
“As we close this chapter and continue the transformation towards a cleaner, greener fleet, what better tribute than to showcase the Queen of the Skies one last time. I’m delighted we’re able to offer this opportunity to a lucky few to be part of aviation history, before we say our fond farewells to this iconic plane.”
The event is set to take place on December 12 at the airline’s engineering hangars at Heathrow Airport before the plane makes its final flight to be decommissioned on December 16. Tickets for the event go on sale at 9 am (GMT) on December 7 and are expected to sell out within a few minutes.
Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to The Trussell Trust.
Champagne will, of course, be flowing and guests will also get to hear from Virgin Atlantic’s first female 747 pilot, Yvonne Kershaw. The tour will include a look into areas normally off-limits to passengers like cabin crew and pilot rest facilities, the flight deck, and cargo hold.
Guests will even be allowed to sit in one of the plane’s huge engines for a unique photo opportunity – a practice that was once popular amongst crew but has been outlawed in recent years.
Virgin Atlantic says the aircraft replacing its Queen of the Skies are on average more than 30 per cent more fuel efficient and will not only reduce greenhouse emissions but will also help the airline to save money.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.