The Boeing 747-300 featured an upper deck that was 7.11 metres longer than the previous jumbo jets. This immediately distinguished it from its predecessors and also permitted a higher cruising speed of Mach 0.85.
First flight took place on 5 October 1982, and the launch customer Swissair received the first example on 23 March 1983. In addition to the standard version, there was a Combi designated the -300M and a short range version for Japanese domestic routes, the -300SR.
Boeing 747-300 Videos
Following on from the last video about the one of a kind Boeing 757-200M, this time we stay stateside and look at the Boeing 747-300. First up is a short video of a Rolls-Royce powered Qantas example taking off from Manaus in Brazil.
Sure sounds good, doesn’t it? Next up is a Malaysian Airlines safety video from 1987, when the plane would have been brand new. It runs for four and a half minutes and is mostly in English.
Not much has changed when it comes to these really. Finally, here’s another one taking off, this time with Pratt & Whitney engines. It’s a different sound.
The Boeing 747-300 was quickly replaced with the Boeing 747-400 in the product line. That was a great decision for Boeing as it proved to be a very popular aircraft indeed.
Boeing 747-300 Operators
The largest customer for the aircraft was Singapore Airlines operating 14 examples (they called theirs the “Big Top”), closely followed by Japan Airlines with 13. Saudia operated 10, with Qantas and Cathay Pacific flying six each.
Swissair took five examples, three went to ILFC, Korean Air Lines, UTA and KLM, two to South African Airways, Thai Airways, Varig, Sabena, Egyptair and Air India. Finally, Malaysia Airlines, Japan Asia Airways and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took one apiece.
There were just 81 Boeing 747-300s produced, with the last rolling off the production line in September 1990. That makes it the second least popular version of the plane, with only the Boeing 747SP selling fewer examples.
Today there is just one flying in passenger service with Mahan Air of Iran, for those wanting to take a flight on one. An ex-Qantas example is located at Avalon Airport in Australia without engines, where it can be used for filming. Some of the music video for A Foreign Affair by Client Liaison was recorded on board this plane.
Have you ever been on a Boeing 747-300 before? I have, just once, on the one currently at Avalon, coincidentally. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on Airliners.net via Pinterest.
Nalanji Dreaming via Qantas.
A total stop gap plane for Boeing. The 744 made this a has-been.
I was fortunate enough to fly aboard a Boeing 747-300 twice. I suspect that the design costs for the 747-300 was a money loser but that the engineering design for the stretched upper deck was re-used for the 747-400. Therefore, in one sense, the 747-300 was not a money loser. Even rarer is the Boeing 747-200 SUD or stretched upper deck. These were approximately 10 KLM planes that can be identified because they lack an overwing exit on the main deck. Japan Air Lines also had two 747-200 SUD but these were short range planes used domestically in Japan so… Read more »
True enough there with regards to the SUD. I plan on doing an article on the KLM aircraft at some point, as they’re pretty interesting. I’ve seen some pictures of them doing the manufacture for those and it looked like a hell of a lot of work. I think Lufthansa will keep their 747-8i in service for some time yet. Here’s hoping, as I’d like to get at least one flight in row 1 in the nose just to say I’ve done it. I’d better start saving!! Hope you get to try it too.
Flew them twice on Swissair in business, once, ZRH-JFK, again ZRH-ORD. Both were Combis as I recall. The JFK flight involved a go around on very short final which was interesting. The ORD flight was supposed to stop first at BOS but didn’t because of a hurricane. As a result, I got home several hours early. Nice for me.
Oh, a go around is always a little bit interesting! Must have been amazing in such a large aircraft like the 747. You certainly lucked out on that early arrival… a shame for the BOS passengers though! Thanks for the comment, always enjoy reading experiences like yours.
I remember well…..The -300 at Singapore was the BIG TOP and the -400 was the Mega Top
I had forgotten about the BIG TOP and Mega Top until I was looking for a featured image for this. It’s been a long time since I had thought of those!
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I flew on a Swissair 743. It looked cool, but internally (if you weren’t on the upper deck or in F class, where it didn’t have the spiral staircase) it didn’t seem meaningfully different from a normal 747.
That makes sense, as it really was just a -200 for the most part. Great that you’ve been on one! I really lucked out getting the one I did, as it was operating a domestic flight I had booked. Totally random all round!