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The End of the 747

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Published: 11.06.2017
Level 4   |   Time: 2:02
Accent: British
BBC Global News Podcast (11.08.2017)

The life of one of the most famous airplanes of all time, the Boeing 747, is coming to an end.

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triangle Directions


  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. LISTEN to the audio.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary


  • so-called [adj] - well-known as
  • an operator [n] - an airline company
  • a final spin [exp] - a final trip
  • acclaimed [adj] - praised / celebrated
  • a fixture [n] - something that lasts for a long time
  • a hump [n] - a rounded bump on the top of something
  • sheer enormity [n] - very big size
  • 8-foot ceilings [exp] - 2.5-meter high ceilings
  • cuisine [n] - food
  • retro [adj] - style from the recent past
  • a spiral staircase [n] - stairs that go up in a circle
  • phase out [phv] - discontinue/stop using something

[n] - noun,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression


triangle Questions


  1. What is the nickname of the Boeing 747?
    The Big Humpback
    The Queen of the Skies
    The Bird

  2. How long has the Boeing 747 been flying?
    for almost 50 years
    for two decades
    since 2000

  3. What did Sir Norman Foster name the Beoing 747?
    his favorite building of the 20th century
    the safest transportation in the skies
    the best build airplane in the world

  4. What are some unique features of the Boeing 747?
    its spiral staircase
    its hump
    its huge size
    its high ceiling
    its long wings
    its strange name

  5. Who was Boeing first customer for the Boeing 747?
    Delta
    United
    Pan-Am

  6. What route did the Boeing 747 first fly for United Airlines?
    from London to New York
    from Hawaii to San Francisco
    from San Francisco to Honolulu

  7. How will United celebrate the Boeing 747?
    They will sell tickets for 1970s prices.
    They will donate a 747 to a museum.
    They will recreate its first flight.

  8. What will be special about this flight?
    They will sell 1970s style food.
    The staff will wear retro style uniforms.
    They will sell tickets for 1970s prices.
    No upper-deck business tickets will be sold.

  9. What will be the last US airline to use the Boeing 747?
    Delta
    United
    Pan-Am

  10. Why is the Boeing 747 being phased out?
    It is not safe.
    It is not efficient.
    It is not big enough.


triangle Script



For nearly 50 years, the so-called Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747, has been carrying passengers across the world. But later today, the original jumbo jet takes a significant step closer to retirement as one of its last remaining U.S. operators gives this iconic plane one final spin. Jonathan Savage has more.

When the acclaimed British architect Sir Norman Foster was asked to name his favorite building of the 20th century, he didn't choose a museum, a train station, or a parliament. He chose the Boeing 747. With its distinctive hump upper-deck, not to mention its sheer enormity, the 747 is arguably the world's most recognizable aeroplane. And it's been a fixture at airports since 1970.

Chances are you've heard about a plane with a spiral staircase in first-class. The plane with a two-wide aisles and a three-wide screen movies, and the eight-foot ceilings in economy. And chances are you’ve wonders who’s going to get this incredible bird off the ground.

This is how the airline Pan-Am sold its brand new 747 to passengers when it became Boeing’s first customer. Now the American operator United is preparing to take the jumbo on a special farewell flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, recreating the airline's first 747 route in 1970. It's promising flight attendants with retro uniforms and a menu inspired by 70s cuisine. To make the flight even more memorable, no upper deck business class seats have been sold, so all passengers can climb that spiral staircase. After that, Delta will be the final US carrier to fly America's most recognizable plane, but only for a couple more months. Airlines around the world are phasing out the 747 in favor of more efficient jets such as Boeing’s Dreamliner, the 787, and the Airbus 350.