Flying Onboard A 747 On A 1 Hour Service From Brisbane To Sydney

by Zac George
a large airplane at an airport
The 747 is an incredibly iconic aircraft, not only is it adored by aviation enthusiasts but it’s even recognised and grabs the attention of people who don’t usually enjoy aircraft and aren’t too familiar with aviation. The aircraft has been such a monumental part of aviation history, and it’s also been the backbone for Qantas’ international services. I’ve had the pleasure of flying on 3 747 flights, but to me, that’s nowhere near enough, and I would love to get on a few more.
As sad as it is to write this, Qantas will be fully retiring these beautiful machines by the end of 2020 and will be replaced by the much more fuel-efficient, 787-9 aircraft as well as a new aircraft type which will be revealed by the end of the year. The airline has already retired all of their 747-400 variants and only have six extended range aircraft left. For those wanting to know the registrations of the remaining aircraft, here they are – (VH-OEE, VH-OEF, VH-OEG, VH-OEH, VH-OEI, VH-OEJ).
I booked this flight the night before and was lucky enough to snag seat 43K, which is the first row of economy directly behind the premium economy cabin.
seats in an airplane with a seat belt

Qantas Row 43

The business cabin consists of 58 seats, 36 premium economy seats and 270 economy seats. The economy cabin is set out in a 3-4-3 configuration, the premium cabin is in a 2-4-2 configuration, and the business cabin is in a 2-3-2 layout and 2-2-2 in the nose and top deck of the aircraft.

seats in an airplane with a seat belt and a seat belt

Qantas Row 43


two seats on an airplane

Qantas Row 43

As you can see below, the wear and tear is quite evident, but that is to be expected for an aircraft with the amount of travel it’s taken, I can say though Qantas have kept their 747’s in a lot better condition over BA…

a person's legs and feet in a seat

Leg Room

On the side of the seats is where you’ll find your IFE and seating controls as well as the release button for your screen if you’re seated in the bulkhead row.

a close up of a panel

In-seat Controls


a screen on a plane

IFE Monitor

The air in Brisbane has been terrible the past few days, and that is due to the bushfires up and down the coasts of Queensland and New South Wales, big thank you to all those firefighters keeping it under control the best they can, you guys are incredible.

a plane window with a view of airplanes

View From 43K


an airplane wing and land below

Takeoff From Brisbane

Our flight levelled off at 38,000 feet, and it was a flight like I’ve never taken before domestically. The amount of excitement and interest towards this flight was incredible, I had the privilege of meeting a lot of aviation enthusiasts and even some readers onboard – thank you for the continued support, and it was lovely to meet you all!

wing of an airplane in the sky

View From Cruise

As you can see, people were all walking around and taking heaps of photos; it was a fantastic atmosphere.

a group of people sitting in an airplane

Economy Cabin

Passengers were allowed to walk around and take photos of all the cabins:

the inside of an airplane

Business Class


people sitting on the seats of an airplane

Nose Section

This view is possibly my favourite angle of the 747; I could sit here and just stare out the window for hours upon hours.

the wing of an airplane flying in the sky

What a view!


a plane wing with blue sky and clouds

What a view

From any angle, the 747 is just a beautiful and sleek looking machine – I don’t think anything will quite match it. I absolutely love the A350, and how it looks but can honestly say, the jumbo is just an extremely appealing machine.

an airplane wing in the sky

Wing view

Our flight time was overall 1 hour and 14 minutes, and I can honestly say, I was tempted to jump across the terminal and book a ticket to San Fransisco which is where this flight was heading to later that afternoon 😉

an airplane wing on a runway

Arrival into Sydney


a plane with stairs leading to it

Arrival in Sydney

This hopefully won’t be the last 747 flight I take but nonetheless, it was a fantastic opportunity to fly one of these aircraft on a short sector once again. I’ve flown on the QF8 service when it stopped through Brisbane in 2014 and also flew one of the -400’s from Sydney to Melbourne a few years ago, and the excitment has never died.

a large airplane at an airport


I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say so, flying onboard the Queen of the skies on a short domestic sector is an incredible experience for anyone, especially for those interested in aviation.

Qantas is running a few more domestic sectors this year and into next year and if you want to learn more about them, click the link here.

Will you miss the Qantas 747 when it retires next year?

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Jack November 12, 2019 - 10:26 am

Hi Zac,

Great to get the chance to chat while we were admiring the forward engine view from the emergency exit near the middle gallery!
It truly was an amazing flight and a once in a lifetime opportunity for any Aviation Enthusiast! It was my first time on a 747 and I hope it wont be my last.

Zac George November 12, 2019 - 7:34 pm

Hi Jack, it was lovely to meet you, it was a fantastic flight!

jon November 12, 2019 - 11:10 am

Great shot looking out at the right wing and engines. I have had that view too. You could sell prints of that shot ! When I had that view on a QF LAX-SYD, I was a happy camper: I was on Qantas, on 747-400 & heading to my favorite place: Sydney. That wing shot brought back good memories.

Zac George November 12, 2019 - 7:34 pm

Thank you very much, John! Glad you liked them 🙂

Ripley62 November 12, 2019 - 1:13 pm

I book a flight on Thai between Bangkok and Phuket, around a 1 hr flight, and 3 of the 4 options are on 747. Of course I chose the 747 flight.

Who would have though the queen of the sky’s would become a short haul aircraft.

Zac George November 12, 2019 - 7:33 pm

I’m looking at doing that hopefully at the start of the coming year, would be a really cool experience!

Neil November 12, 2019 - 7:30 pm

Brisbane to Sydney and then San Francisco? Doesn’t make sense

Zac George November 12, 2019 - 7:32 pm

The aircraft was operating QF73 that afternoon, QF529 was the domestic sector it operated.

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