It is perhaps a bit strange that I have thus far avoided the plane discussion on my China trip. Fear not; that discussion is here! The delay is due inevitably to how conveniently (if somewhat unrelated) it served as a segue into this post: it’s no secret that I have a love for planes and spend an inordinate time planning flights in order to fly on certain planes. No matter how hard I tried this time, though, I couldn’t get away from flying on the original jet that coined the term “Jumbo Jet”: the Boeing 747.
While I had flown on the newest iteration, the Boeing 747-8, on my trip back from Germany last year, I’ve tended to avoid United’s 747s in particular because they are old and lack in-seat entertainment. (My trip back to the US was on an electronics-rich United 787-8, in comparison.) My flight from ORD-PVG was nevertheless on a United 747-400, and in the absence of all things luxurious I got to appreciate flight as it was just twenty years ago. (Shout out: the captain did a masterful job landing the plane — it was probably the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced.) Accordingly, I felt a pang of sadness as I watched a 747-400 push back from Shanghai’s Pudong: the view came with the realization that my inbound flight might have been the last time I fly on a 747-400. Addictions, even so immaterial as one to dated commercial aircraft, die hard.