When it comes to airlines that operated the Boeing 747, one stands out as having kept their upper deck lounge the longest. Most airlines removed the lounge by the end of the 1970s, replacing them with passenger seats for economic reasons.

This is unfortunate, as the upper decks were all designed differently, reflecting the trends of the time. Pan American used theirs as a first class dining room, while Australia’s Qantas did theirs up in a nautical theme, among others.

Who Kept Their Upper Deck Lounge The Longest?

The timetable issued by the Belgian airline Sabena in March 1991 shows the upper deck lounge still in place. There are two seat maps showing the lounge, one for a combi (where cargo is carried at the rear of the main deck) and one for a standard passenger version.

Seating for nine people seems to be provided, with two tables and a bar. With 16 first class seats, not everyone would be expected to use the lounge at once, unless some stand at the bar perhaps.

What Did It Look Like?

The image at the top of this post is an earlier version of the lounge. Here are a couple of pictures showing the layout that matches the diagram in the seat map.

Looking at it, I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite design out of all the Boeing 747 upper decks I have seen pictures of. Perhaps it was more inviting in reality.

Overall Thoughts

I would never have thought that Sabena would have held on to their upper deck lounge the longest. It looks like aircraft featuring this were in service through to 1993.

Perhaps passengers on the Belgian airline used it a lot, which meant it made sense for them to keep it. I’d be curious to see if there is any airline around that had the upper deck lounge longer though, but this could be it.

Did you ever experience an upper deck lounge on Sabena or another airline? What was it like? Perhaps you know of an airline that had it longer? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Seat maps from the March to September 1991 timetable via Airline Memorabilia.
OO-SGB lounge via Pinterest.
Upper Deck images and cutaway via fly_sabena on Twitter in tweets here, here and here.