Its amazing to think of the technology that was avalaibale at the time the first 747 was launched. It was really the first long range, high pax. commercial aircraft ever made, up untill the early 90s with the A340. I read a good statement in a book a while back that said something like, that every small aspiring nation all want to see a big 747 in there national airline livery parked at their airport, as it is a sign of the strength of the country.
Even though the A380 will be an AMAZING thing to see, the path to long distance high passenger loads have been around for nearly 35 years, so in that respect it is nothing new. Only the design. The 747 has revouluntionised the way everybody travels. It is now possible to get from one side of the earth to the other in 24 hrs! AMAZING!!
Both AI, and Boeing have gone towards making long distance twins in the last few years (777, and A330) but there will still be a large market for long distance travel.
Every time I travel on a 747, I cannot help to think of the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions that have made there thoudorus way across the worlds oceans, and deserts in this metal tube.
And hopefully the Jumbo will be around for many decades to come, and with QF being the launch customer of the new 744 long range maybe we will see them in our skies in 20 years time!