On Sept. 30, 1968, the first Boeing 747 jumbo jet was rolled out of the Everett, Wash., assembly building before the world’s press and representatives of the 26 airlines that had ordered the plane, and first flight took place on Feb. 9, 1969.(AFP/Getty Images)
The first Boeing 747 jumbo jet, christened the City of Everett and largest transport plane in the world, departs on its first flight on Feb. 9, 1969, in Everett, Wash.(AFP/Getty Images)
A Pan Am air hostess serves champagne in the first-class cabin of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet in 1970.(Tim Graham / Getty Images)
The crew of the first commercial flight of the Boeing 747 from New York to London for Pan American poses for a photograph outside the aircraft before boarding, Jan. 21, 1970.(AFP/Getty Images)
Pan American Airways pilots are seen in the cockpit of the Boeing 747 at London Heathrow airport, on Jan. 22, 1970, after its first commercial flight.(AFP/Getty Images)
A coach lounge aboard a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.(Associated Press)
Two United Parcel Service Boeing 747 cargo aircraft on the tarmac of Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport in 2003.(Peter Parks / AFP/Getty Images)
A Boeing 747-8 intercontinental aircraft undergoes a final body join at Boeing’s Everett, Wash. assembly plant.(Timothy Stake / Boeing)
A British Airways Boeing 747 taxis at sunrise in 2010 at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.(Fabrice Coffrini / AFP/Getty Images)
The new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental after landing at Le Bourget airport near Paris in June 2011. Boeing’s new long version of its famed jumbo jet landed outside Paris a day ahead of its debut outside the U.S. at the Paris International Air Show.(Eric Piermont / AFP/Getty Images)
A Boeing 747-8 at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport in 2011.(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Space shuttle Endeavour sits atop a Boeing 747 at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Sept. 17, 2012.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Ellie Hong, 12, of Northridge, takes video for KidScoop Media as President Obama departs Los Angeles International Airport aboard Air Force One, a Boeing 747, on Oct. 25, 2016.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 sits on the tarmac at England’s Manchester Airport in 2012.(Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)
A Cargolux Boeing 747 cargo aircraft lands at Payerne airport in Switzerland in 2015.(Fabrice Coffrini / AFP/Getty Images)
A Qantas Boeing 747 flys over the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in 2015.(William West / AFP/Getty Images)
An Atlas Air Boeing 747-47UF cargo airplane approaches Los Angeles International Airport after leaving Chicago on its way to Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 11, 2017.(Nick Ut / Associated Press)
Forty-eight years after they first took to the skies, the wide-bodied Boeing 747s are being retired as passenger planes and assigned for use primarily for carrying cargo.
The last domestic flight of the Boeing 747 was expected to depart from Los Angeles International Airport earlier this week, an event marked by a celebration at the Delta Air Lines passenger lounge.
But with Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, Delta added 24 new flights to help evacuate people in the path of the monster storm. Among those flights was a 747 that was dispatched from the Detroit hub Friday to fill up with evacuating passengers in Orlando.
The 747, once known as the queen of the skies, is being replaced by more efficient twin-engine planes. Boeing Co., which now produces only six 747s a year, says it is targeting the cargo market for new customers for the plane.
Delta is expected to be the last U.S. airline to retire its entire Boeing 747 fleet by the end of 2017. Delta said it will use the 747 for a few more weeks on international flights.
At LAX, the last scheduled domestic 747 flight was celebrated with cake and cocktails at Delta’s Sky Club lounge. About 50 elite status Delta fliers booked up the first class and parts of the business class section of the plane for the flight to Detroit, said Delta spokeswoman Liz Savadelis.
The passengers were given special 747 ear buds as souvenirs of the flight. As the plane rolled away from the gate at LAX, Delta employees waved orange wands at the departing jet.
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