This morning many excited Virgin Atlantic fans attempted to purchase tickets to say goodbye to the airline’s final Boeing 747 at the weekend. However, just 42 tickets for sale tied with a massive surge in demand led to a lot of disappointment.
This year, Virgin Atlantic surprised many when it announced its entire Boeing 747 fleet would be retired with immediate effect. However, Virgin wasn’t alone. Other airlines have taken similar action like rival British Airways, alongside KLM and Qantas. Despite the lack of love for the 747, Atlas Air is taking on three of Virgin’s former 747s, including the last one currently at Heathrow.
Tickets sell out in minutes
With practically the entire British aviation community keen to purchase one of just 42 tickets for the chance to dine on one of Virgin’s last 747s, there was always bound to be a disappointment. Some were lucky to clinch the super rare tickets.
— James | SpeedBirdUK (@speedbird_uk) December 7, 2020
However, many were left unhappy by being unable to purchase tickets for the event, prompting the airline to tweet that it has experienced unprecedented demand.
We had an unprecedented demand for our 747 Experience and all tickets are now sold out. We appreciate this may be disappointing if you were unable to get tickets. Keep your eyes on our channels for coverage of G-VROY’s final departure next week ❤️
— virginatlantic (@VirginAtlantic) December 7, 2020
While the lack of tickets led to some abuse directed at the airline on Twitter, others could see the lighter side of the situation, such as @aviosAdventurer.
— AviosAdventurer 🇬🇧🇿🇦🇹🇷🇰🇭 (@aviosAdventurer) December 7, 2020
What were the tickets for?
But what exactly were these £50 ($67) for? While ticket holders will step onto a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747, they won’t be flying anywhere. Instead, “passengers” will be greeted with a glass of champagne on the aircraft’s upper deck.
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Following the welcome drink, the lucky ticket holders will then be treated to a three-course a-la-carte meal served at a seat in the Upper Class cabin. This will be followed by a tour of the aircraft, including areas usually off-limits, such as the crew rest area and cargo hold. Finally, the icing on the cake will see passengers invited to have a photo taken inside the aircraft’s engine.
What’s next for Virgin?
Virgin made some huge cuts due to the current crisis, including leaving its original home of London Gatwick. However, losing the 747, while already planned, was a big blow for Virgin fans. After all, the airline was founded with the Boeing 747 36 years ago.
The future for Virgin Atlantic lies firmly in twin-engine widebodies. Since last summer, the airline has been taking delivery of new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. It has also retired all of its four-engined aircraft, including the A340. Next on the chopping block are its oldest planes, four A330-200s with an average age of 19.6. Their retirement, and new A330neos to be delivered, will cut the airline’s average fleet age significantly.
Did you manage to get tickets for the farewell? Are you disappointed that you missed out? Let us know in the comments.