I have a long personal history with El Al's B747s fleet. My very first flight abroad was on El Al B747 (-200), so as my first flight to Europe (4X-AXD), my first flight to the US (4X-AXH), my first business class long haul flight (4X-ELA) so as my first flight to Asia (4X-ELE). Throughout my teen years, I flew almost every year to my family in North America using El Al B747s (both -200 and -400). Back then, boarding in TLV was done using stairs only, hence I remember vividly how, as a child and teenager, I was amazed from the 747 size and beauty every time I boarded the jumbo.
Time passed by, other twin engines started dominating the skies, consequently catching a flight on a 747 became gradually rare. El Al, my home airline, is due to retire the 747 for good on October 2019, after 48 years in service; there was no doubt in my mild that I must fly on the Queen of the skies under El Al one last time. The Queen's last routes were Bangkok and Barcelona. I was supposed to be in Budapest 3 weeks before the last 747 flight, and I decided to make a short hop to Barcelona to fly back to Israel on the jumbo, on the very last day of the Jewish year.
I arrived to BCN terminal 1 well 2.5 hours before the flight. The terminal was very busy, and it took around 25 minutes just to pass passport control. As the flight was operated in all economy, it was possible to buy main deck business class seat for a fee, as I did. With the 747 having lie-flat beds it was a good deal in my opinion (FCL and upper deck JCL were empty this flight). Busy morning in BCN terminal 1:
To my surprise (and joy), we were bussed to remote stand what gave me the option to admire once again the 747 size:
My ride was 4X-ELA, LY's first 744 built in 1994, one of couple jumbos left in the fleet. I flew it 3 times in the past. Doors L2 and L5 were open, I went up L5 as I never used this door before to board a 747:
Entering the plane, I was greeted by the crew than I was hit by the nostalgia - thick seats, those small PTV screens (state of the art in 1994, size of smartphone today), main projectors - it was all going back to my childhood:
My "regular" seat as a teenager - 27K:
I walked upfront to my seat in main deck business class (mien was in the single JCL row behind first class):
I had to take a look at first class in the nose of the plane. It was El Al's pride for many years, and in spite of been out of date the magic of sitting in front of the pilots cannot be beaten:
El Al first class, around since 1971, is sadly dismantled: On remaining 747 routes no first class seats are sold, and the 777 fleet planes are been refurbished that first class and current business class seats are replaced with new JCL seats, known from the 787.
View from the open L2 door:
After running up and down the plane, taking pictures and behaving like 10 years old flying for the first time, it was time to sit down for takeoff. My seat:
Wing view from my seat:
To my surprise, all passengers were given amenity kit - very nice touch for all-eco flight:
It’s the last month that the B747 is shown on El Al's fleet page:
View from my seat:
And off we go:
Visit to the loo - remember the days that one could actually turn around in the bathroom?
My screen and controls - I well remember those controls from my previous flights:
Inflight service was a warm sandwich (roast beef or vegetarian) and drinks. I had orange juice and red wine:
After eating I was trying to get some rest, but I was too excited to fall asleep. Hence, after a short while I took another cabin tour:
On those long transatlantic flights, I remember standing in the very back of the plane, looking upfront and simply cannot understand how this thing, long like a street, can get up in the air:
I can't praise the crew of this flight enough. They immediately understood that I am an aviation fan, they allowed me to take as much pictures as I wished, some talked to me about their own personal history with the 747 and their feelings about the retirement, they couldn't care about me walking in the aisles and even allowed me on the upper deck after landing. They were simply amazing.
It was short flight after all, and before landing I moved to 21A, first row in Economy cabin, to an empty seat to get good wing view for landing:
On the ground, after rare landing on runway 21:
Taxing next to the decommissioned 4X-ELD:
After landing, I asked if I could take quick look on the upper deck:
And that was it, my 28th and last El Al 747 flight was over:
Thank you for reading, comments and feedback are always welcome. Please take a look at my other trip reports: viewtopic.php?t=1413959viewtopic.php?t=1398745viewtopic.php?t=1395195viewtopic.php?t=980779viewtopic.php?t=980517viewtopic.php?t=980227viewtopic.php?t=980133viewtopic.php?t=979993viewtopic.php?t=979147viewtopic.php?t=979033viewtopic.php?t=978985viewtopic.php?t=978873viewtopic.php?t=978799viewtopic.php?t=978147viewtopic.php?t=978113viewtopic.php?t=977921viewtopic.php?t=976481viewtopic.php?t=976377viewtopic.php?t=975801viewtopic.php?t=974995viewtopic.php?t=973791viewtopic.php?t=973363viewtopic.php?t=972713viewtopic.php?t=971915viewtopic.php?t=971739viewtopic.php?t=971653viewtopic.php?t=971655viewtopic.php?t=971561viewtopic.php?t=971465viewtopic.php?t=971447viewtopic.php?t=971411viewtopic.php?t=971363viewtopic.php?t=970207viewtopic.php?t=970269viewtopic.php?t=969725viewtopic.php?t=969327viewtopic.php?t=1208233viewtopic.php?t=969233viewtopic.php?t=969111viewtopic.php?t=969103viewtopic.php?t=968619viewtopic.php?t=967967viewtopic.php?t=967787