A Guide to United Airlines Boeing 747-400

Boeing Commercial Airlines is the largest aerospace company. It is the manufacturer of top-class commercial, military, and cargo aircraft. Boeing 747 was a significant hit when it was introduced in 1969. It was the first airliner with a wide body that revolutionized the aviation industry. In the following years, many variants came out with little to no performance improvements. All this changed with the introduction of Boeing 747-400 on April 29, 1988.

The Boeing 747-400 was heaps and bounds ahead of its previous variants in terms of specifications. It was upgraded to improve performance because the 747-300 had nothing new except a wider body. Boeing 747-400 quickly gained popularity in the aviation industry, with Northwest Airlines being its first-ever customer, followed by many others, including United Airlines, British Airways, and Lufthansa.

A Brief History of Boeing 747-400

When Boeing 747-300 came out as a variant for the 747 series, it only had increased passenger capacity. This was made possible by increasing the Stretched Upper Deck (SUD), an optional feature in the previous versions. There was no change in the range of in-flight deck technology or construction material besides this factor. Plus, the manufacturing of 747-300 was getting a lot costly. Boeing Commercial Airplanes then decided to develop a better cost-effective variant – Boeing 747-300.

By 1984, it was clear that the new variant should have a 1,000 nautical miles range increased, effective engines, and almost 10% reduction in manufacturing cost. The “Advanced Series 300” rolled out as Boeing 747-400, and it quickly gained attention. 

Enhanced Features 

The Boeing 747-400 includes the following improved features:

  • Fuel-burning efficiency of about 4% was made possible by wingtip modifications and additional winglets.
  • Glass cockpit design for two members, which was initially for three.
  • More fuel tanks were added to increase the range.
  • Installation of improved engines courtesy of renowned companies like Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and General Electric. 

Specifications of Boeing 747-400

Specifications Value
Wing Span 64.4m
Length 70.6m
Height 19.4m
Body Wide
Wing Type Fixed Wing
Position Low Wing
Tail Regular tail, mid-set
Powerplant 4 x R-R RB211-524 G/H (258 kN) or

4 x P&W PW4056 (252.4 kN) or

4 x GE CF6-80C2B4 (257.5 kN) turbofans, and more.

Engine General Electric CF6, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, Rolls-Royce RB211
Engine Position Underwing mounted
Landing Gear Tricycle retraceable
Travel Range 7,285 Nautical Miles

13,492 Kilometers

Fuel Economy 0.13 nautical mile / gallon

0.064 kilometers / liter

Sales Statistics for Boeing 747-400

The Boeing 747-400 was a trendy model when it came out. Many famous airlines ordered their crafts. By 2005, Boeing has sold up to 695 aircraft around the world. It was considered the best jumbo passenger jet of all time.

As of 2007, the market value of a Boeing 747-400 aircraft was US$266.5 million. Since this aircraft is more than 20 years old now, most of the airlines have grounded them. The maintenance and profits were not matching; instead, it was getting costly for the airlines to maintain it. United Airlines flew their last flight with 747-400 in November 2017.

Incidents Involving Boeing 747-400

Unfortunately, the Boeing 747-400 was involved in several hull loss and performance accidents. Some of them are listed below:

September 23, 1999


Qantas Flight 1, flying from Sydney to London, overran the runway during heavy rainfall. Minor passenger injuries were sustained with repairable aircraft damage.

July 25, 2008


Qantas Airline Flight 30 bound to Melbourne Airport from Hong Kong made an emergency landing in Manilla due to a hole in its lower forward fuselage. No one was hurt during the chaos.

October 31, 2000


Singapore Airlines Flight operating a 747-400 was bound for Los Angeles when it crashed in a construction site moments after taking off. The plane caught fire, resulting in the deaths of 79 passengers and four crew members.

July 28, 2011


Asiana Airlines flight operating the freight variant 747-400F crashed into the Pacific Ocean. It was bound for Shanghai Airport. The crash killed two crew members on board.

April 29, 2013


National Airlines Flight 102, a 747-400F, crashed at Bagram airbase, killing all seven crew members.

January 16, 2017


Turkish Airlines Flight 6491, a fright 747-400, faced trouble landing in thick fog. The plane crashed into a residential area killing 39 people, 35 of whom were present on the ground.

Where to Buy
Daron Skymarks United 747-400 Post Co Merge Model Kit with Gear (1/200 Scale)
JC WINGS United Airlines for Boeing 747-400 Final Flight N118UA 1/200 diecast Model Aircraft
Delta (07-Cur) Boeing 747-400 Airplane Miniature Model Snap Fit 1:200 Part#ABO-74740H-019
TANG DYNASTY(TM) 1:400 16cm B747-400 Thai Airlines Metal Airplane Model Plane Toy Plane Model


Popular Products Based on Boeing 747-400

Since Boeing 747-400 was considered the best among the jetliners, there are many miniature products based on it. You can add them to your miniature collection:

1. Daron Skymarks United 747-400 Post Co Merge Model Kit with Gear

This one is an excellent choice for all the people who love model airplanes. It features injection molded plastic construction with highly detailed graphics and markings like an original Boeing 747-400. It has dimensions of 14×11.75×8 inches. No glue is required in its assembly.

2. JC WINGS United Airlines for Boeing 747-400 Diecast Model Aircraft

With a scale of 1:1200, this is an elite model of the actual aircraft. It is metallic and has plastic detailing. It is a ready-to-display model that requires no assembly.

3. Delta (07-Cur) Boeing 747-400 Airplane Miniature Model Snap Fit

This is another plastic miniature model of Boeing 747-400 that weighs 8 ounces. A perfect addition to your miniature collection or gifting to your friends. 

4. TANG DYNASTY(TM) B747-400 Thai Airlines Metal Airplane Model Plane

This is a toy model of Thai Airline’s Boeing 747-400, which means it has no age restriction. It is 16cm in length and weighs 0.24 pounds.

Boeing 747-400 – Retired but Not Forgotten

The Boeing 747-400 takes pride in introducing a golden era in the history of aviation. It was called a jumbo passenger jet that was popular among people and foreign airlines alike. You may or may not see the Boeing 747-400 flying in the sky now, but it will always remain a symbol of class.