Qantas 747 jumbo jet 'Points Plane' for frequent flyers: Final flight of VH-OJU to take off in October

Qantas has announced the details of its next "Points Plane" and it's a historic flight.

On Sunday, October 13 the Qantas 747 jumbo jet "Lord Howe Island" (VH-OJU) will take off from Sydney to Los Angeles on its final journey before retirement.

The whole plane will be reserved exclusively for bookings made using Qantas frequent flyer points until midnight on September 2, after which time bookings will be open to everyone. 

Qantas first announced the Points Plane concept in May with an Airbus A380 flight from Melbourne to Tokyo. However, that flight won't take off until October 21, making the 747 the first Points Plane to take off.

The cost for the one-way flight to Los Angeles is 41,900 points plus $205 for economy class, 72,000 points plus $405 for premium economy and 96,000 points plus $480 for business class.

The "Lord Howe Island" 747-400ER first entered service in 2000 and, according to Qantas, flew approximately 80 million kilometres for the airline, the equivalent of 2000 trips around the world.

Once the plane arrives in Los Angeles it will be transferred to a new (undisclosed) operator to continue flying.

Qantas is gradually retiring its aging Boeing 747 jumbo jet fleet, with plans to phase out the iconic plane completely by the end of 2021 as it brings in the more efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Many other airlines have already stopped flying jumbo jets. Singapore Airlines' last 747 made its final visit to Australia in 2012, while Delta Air Lines became the last US carrier to fly the plane, retiring its last one in 2017.

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The jumbo jet has been in the Qantas fleet in various forms since 1971. The hump-backed jet was the largest commercial aircraft to fly until the launch of the Airbus A380 in October 2007.

Boeing rolled out the first 747 on September 30, 1968, with the first commercial flight on January 21, 1970, going from New York to London on Pan American World Airways.

The giant aircraft ushered in a new era of long-haul travel, flying further and faster than most of its predecessors. It also brought new levels of luxury to the sky, with premium passengers enjoying a bar and lounge on the upper deck with some carriers.

While Boeing's new passenger version of the jumbo jet, the 747-8, entered service in 2012 the aircraft has not proven popular with airlines. The same fate has befallen the Airbus A380 superjumbo, as airlines opt for smaller, more fuel-efficient planes utilising newer technology.

However, the 747 will survive due to its continuing popularity as a cargo plane.

See also: The jumbo jet will survive, but not as you know it

See also: Why the 747 jumbo jet was designed with a hump

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