Boeing 747 Interior

At the time of its introduction, the Boeing 747 was a radically different from anything that had previously been offered to the travelling public. Yes, Boeing had previously offered a twin deck aircraft in the propeller driven Stratocruiser, but the 747s upper deck was not originally designed to boost passenger seating so much as being a by-product of the elevated flight deck.


The Boeing 747 100, 200 and 300 required a three man flight crew, the third member being the flight engineer. This picture shows the three man crew cockpit configuration with the flight engineers panel on the right. The 747-400 and 8 only required a two man crew.

The 747 was the first wide body commercial aircraft. Where the standard set by the incumbent intercontinental jets; the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC8, was to have an economy (coach) cabin lay out of 3 seats either side of a single aisle, the 747 boasted twin aisles with 3 seats on each window side and 4 seats in the centre.

Initially many airlines opted to use the upstairs bubble behind the flight deck as a first class lounge. The area typically featured casual seating with a bar as shown in the Continental Airlines pictures above. As a result of the oil crises in the early 1970s, many airlines looked for ways to maximise revenue to cover the increased fuel costs. The upstairs bubble was converted to paid seating. Business class was also introduced as a compromise between First and Economy (Coach) class, and often airlines would offer the bubble as their Business Class cabin.


The early Boeing 747s used the bubble behind the cockpit as a first class lounge. This Continental Airlines example is looking forward to the cockpit door and circular staircase.


The same Continental Airline 747 upstairs lounge looking to the rear. This was popular until the fuel crises of the early 1970s prompted airlines to use the space for more seating.

As technology has improved along with changes in styles and fashions, so too the aircraft cabin selections of most airlines have. Gone now are the single large movie screens which adorned the front of each cabin. These have been replaced by most mainstream airlines by individual seat back screens or screens that can be stowed away into a seat arm. Passengers are now able to make selections from a suite of entertainment options brought to their own individual screens.


An early Pan Am first class cabin. The spiral staircase to the upstairs lounge can be seen n the back ground. Today you be upset to find these seats in Business Class even.


An older United Airlines 747 economy cabin. No personalised screens.


Many airlines are still heavily committed to the classic 747s in their fleets which still serve them very well. In an effort to maintain their attractiveness to the travelling public, airlines, like QANTAS in Australia, are having their 747 400s refurbished in styles influenced by Boeings new Dreamliner concept. Benefits include a single beam seat design allowing more leg space in economy. Carbon fiber seat backs reduce weight and allow for a thinner seat. Soft lighting and contoured panels make for a more spacious feeling cabin and offer a competitive comparison to newer jet being produced today.


Business Class upstairs in the bubble of the 747. It has a cozier more personalised feel to it.


An early photo of an economy class cabin on-board a Boeing 747.

If there is more you want to learn about this airliner, please visit: Boeing 747 Home, Boeing 747 Specs, Boeing 747 Order Book, Boeing 747 History, and Boeing 747 Assembly,

We welcome your comments below, is there more we could be showing or are there topics you would like to see? Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *