Billed as the “hottest ticket in town for aviation enthusiasts”, fewer than 50 tickets will be released for sale at 9am on 7 December for the one-off event on 12 December.
Guests will board the aircraft at the airline’s hangar at Heathrow where they will enjoy a tour of the plane that few get to see, including the areas where the crew sleep during flights.
They can also step into the cargo hold and take a seat in the cockpit.
While on board, they will be treated to champagne on the upper deck, known to fans as “the bubble”, before settling into an Upper Class suite for a three-course a la carte meal inspired by the airline’s inflight catering.
Pilots, cabin crew and engineers for the airline will be on hand to entertain guests with anecdotes of life on board the “Queen of the Skies”.
And to finish the experience, guests will have their photo taken in one of the aircraft’s red engines.
Tickets are priced at £50 each, with all proceeds going to food bank charity The Trussell Trust to support its work.
Corneel Koster, chief customer and operating officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “The much-loved Boeing 747 has played an important role in Virgin Atlantic’s story. It carried our first passengers to New York 36 years ago on our inaugural flight and over the years has transported countless millions of holiday-makers and business travellers safely around the world.
“As we close this chapter and continue the transformation towards a cleaner, greener fleet, what better tribute than to showcase the Queen of the Skies one last time. I’m delighted we’re able to offer this opportunity to a lucky few to be part of aviation history, before we say our fond farewells to this iconic plane.”
Virgin Atlantic will be retiring its entire fleet of 747s and will be replacing these with the newer, more fuel efficient Airbus A350 and Boeing Dreamliner. The last 747 flight is expected to be on 16 December.
Earlier this year, British Airways also retired its fleet of 747s. During its final journey, two 747s were simultaneously dispatched from the two runways at Heathrow.
The Boeing 747 has long been slated for retirement but it’s far from the only model to be phased out early during the coronavirus pandemic.
While Airbus had already announced that it would stop producing the A380, dramatic drops in passenger demand due to global travel restrictions has meant that many of the jumbo jets were prematurely grounded.
Lufthansa has retired seven of its 14 SuperJumbo planes, and Qantas may not resurrect its fleet, but Emirates is continuing to fly the A380 throughout the pandemic.