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End of an era: United Airlines bids farewell to the Boeing 747 — a look at the 'Queen of the Skies'

CNBC Logo By Leslie Josephs of CNBC | Slide 1 of 15: A chapter of aviation history closes Tuesday when United Airlines UAL true true false //api-chart.cnbc.com/api/chart/chart.asp GE 4 3 bids farewell to the Boeing 747, the jumbo jet that made air travel way more affordable for millions of people around the globe.The double-decker plane with the humped fusilage is one of the most recognized planes in the world. But after flying the four-engine, fuel-guzzling plane for decades, United, and other airlines are retiring the so-called Queen of the Skies in favor of sleeker, more cost-efficient models. The planes are used frequently for cargo, which was the reason for the plane's design. Some models were given a hinged nose to allow for easy loading of goods.United's first 747 took off from San Francisco and flew to Honolulu in 1970. It's repeating that route for the final passenger flight Tuesday, complete with a crew dressed in 1970s uniforms. Smoking will not be permitted, however.In a sign of how efficient modern planes have become, Southwest Airlines LUV true true false //api-chart.cnbc.com/api/chart/chart.asp GE 4 3 last month announced it will offer service to Hawaii , and new, single-aisle Boeing 737s will likely do the job.Delta Air Lines DAL true true false //api-chart.cnbc.com/api/chart/chart.asp GE 4 3 will retire its Boeing 747 fleet by the end of 2017, the last U.S. airline to do so. But the plane will live on as a workhorse cargo jet, flown by UPS UPS true true false //api-chart.cnbc.com/api/chart/chart.asp GE 4 3 and others.Here's a look at the Boeing 747, and how it changed the world from its introduction nearly five decades ago:

United and other airlines are retiring the jumbo jet

A chapter of aviation history closes Tuesday when United Airlines bids farewell to the Boeing 747, the jumbo jet that made air travel way more affordable for millions of people around the globe.

The double-decker plane with the humped fuselage is one of the world's most recognized planes. But after flying the four-engine, fuel-guzzling plane for decades, United and other airlines are retiring the so-called Queen of the Skies in favor of sleeker, more cost-efficient models. The planes are used frequently for cargo, which was the reason for the plane's design. Some models were given a hinged nose to allow for easy loading of goods.

United's first 747 took off from San Francisco and flew to Honolulu in 1970. It's repeating that route for the final passenger flight Tuesday, complete with a crew dressed in 1970s uniforms. Smoking will not be permitted, however.

In a sign of how efficient modern planes have become, Southwest Airlines last month announced it will offer service to Hawaii, and new, single-aisle Boeing 737s will likely do the job.

Delta Air Lines will retire its Boeing 747 fleet by January, the last U.S. airline to do so. But the plane will live on as a workhorse cargo jet, flown by UPS and others.

Click ahead for a look at the Boeing 747, and how it changed the world from its introduction nearly five decades ago.

© Source: U.S. National Archives
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