Vintage Airline Seat Map: United Airlines Boeing 747 with First Class lounge (1979)

I should have asked for a time machine for Christmas because I really would like to fly on the aircraft featured in this edition of Vintage Airline Seat Maps – a United Airlines Boeing 747 from 1979. I should note that I turned seven that year, so was around, but didn’t end up taking my first flight until 1982. Why didn’t I start mileage running earlier? 😉

The guide this map came from doesn’t specify whether this is a -100 or -200 series, and United flew both variants, so your guess is as good as mine. Seating a total of 374 passengers with 26 in First Class and 348 in Coach, United primarily flew this aircraft on transcontinental and Hawaii runs.

Be sure to check out the seat pitch figures where coach had either 36†or 38†depending on seat location. This is probably one of the last 747s to dedicate the entire upper deck to a lounge given the Airline Deregulation Act was signed into law the previous October and cabin real estate became much more valuable. Interesting to note is the lack of galley, or buffet as they’re calling it here, just aft of First Class. It’s also a shame they couldn’t have a movie screen/projector in that first coach zone between doors one and two.

In First Class you’d find me in either row two or three and definitely a window seat. In coach I’d favor 18H if I were alone or 17J/K if traveling with a partner.

Where would you sit?

a close-up of a seata close-up of a signa diagram of a circuit board


  1. Based on size of upper deck and position of stairs, I think this is a -200. I was on a UA 747-100 on UA1 ORD-hnl back in the 80s. That -100 had a j cabin (sold as Y) between the first and second doors. This doesn’t show any j configuration, which I think UA moved off of for domestic service by the time their -200s started arriving.

    Wo got lucky and got j seats for the 8 hour flight!

  2. After a strike at UA in late ’79, I think, they ran a sweepstakes to entice fliers back. On every flight they were to hand out scratch-off cards, one of which might have a prize of a first class ticket anywhere in the 50 states. I was flying a lot on United in the process of relocating to the Chicago area. Despite that I didn’t win. However, the fine print said you could enter by mail, one entry per day per person. I did, including one for each family member. Low and behold, my six year old got a winner. I then found one adverised for sale for $400. I bought it. I told my son we could drop him off at O’Hare and he could fly anywhere he chose, but after seeing tears well up in his eyes at the prospect, I suggested he turn it over to mom and me and we’d make it up to him someday. He readily agreed.

    Our chosen trip was ORD-HNL on a 747 like this one. I recall that only one other person came up to the lounge with us. Despite that, a flight attendant covered a table with tray table cloths and banana leaves. She then set out fruit, cheeses, macadamia nuts and such. Mai-Tais were the featured drink. It was a great trip.

    So, what about the promise to the small boy? I’m sure he has collected many times over in the ensuing years. But to be sure, this Xmas Eve he and his wife are flying from RNO to ATL (coincidentally on UA) for a week with his parents and siblings. Yes, of course, the tickets are courtesy of mom and dad.

    • What a great story! Thanks so much for stopping by and posting it. I’m sooo jealous you flew that version. Very heartwarming you’re flying them to ATL. Merry Christmas!

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