The 747-200 was one of several versions of the ‘jumbo jet’ that United flew over the years.

For several decades, United Airlines’ Boeing 747s were its flagship aircraft. Connecting far-flung corners of the globe to its US hubs, the airline utilized several different versions of Boeing’s double-decker quadjet, including the 747-200. Let’s take a look back in time to examine United’s relationship with this particular variant.

Two initial arrivals

All in all, data from shows that a grand total of nine examples of the Boeing 747-200B served United Airlines over the years. These were split into two distinct waves of arrivals, with the first pair coming onboard in 1987.

The first bore the registration N151UA and joined the carrier brand-new in March of that year. It spent over 13 years at United and left in July 2000 to be fitted with a side cargo door. After subsequently flying for Northwest, Delta, Kalitta Air, AirGeoSky, and The Cargo Airlines, it was withdrawn in 2017 and scrapped in Tbilisi.

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A United Airlines Boeing 747-200 pulling up to the gate.

The second Boeing 747-200B that United Airlines received came onboard in April 1987 and was registered as N152UA. It followed a rather similar career path after leaving in July 2000 and flew for Northwest, Delta, Kalitta Air, and Sigma Airlines before eventually joining cargo carrier Aerostan in 2020. It remains active today.

Older examples

United Airlines’ other seven Boeing 747-200B jets were older than the pair it initially received but came onboard later as second-hand aircraft. Built between April 1975 and September 1978, all seven joined the US legacy airline from Australian flag carrier Qantas. The acquisition of an eighth ex-Qantas 747-200 was canceled.

These aircraft, which joined United between January and August 1991, were re-registered with American designations, with numbering patterns that roughly followed the initial pair. Indeed, they ran from N158UA to N165UA, missing out ‘162’ in the process. All in all, their tenure at United Airlines lasted just over a decade.

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A United Airlines Boeing 747-200 on the taxiway.

United Airlines’ ex-Qantas Boeing 747-200s began leaving the US ‘big three’ carrier in June 1999, when N164UA was scrapped at Marana Pinal Airpark in Arizona. N161UA and N165UA were the next two examples to go, departing for Ariana Afghan Airlines and Orient Thai Airlines just over a year later, in November 2000.

The last departures

By this point, United Airlines’ remaining Boeing 747-200B aircraft were between 22 and 25 years old, with their days at the carrier numbered. 2001 saw another three departures, with N160UA and N163UA leaving in March that year, followed by N159UA two months later. All three were withdrawn and scrapped.

N158UA managed to last the longest, staying at United Airlines until November 2002. Despite the 1975-built jet being more than 27 years old at that point, it was not scrapped after leaving the Star Alliance founding member. Instead, it moved to Ariana Afghan Airlines and subsequently served several other Asian carriers. After almost 35 years of flight, it was finally withdrawn from use in November 2009.

Did you know that United Airlines used to fly the Boeing 747-200? Perhaps you even traveled on one of these aircraft yourself back in the day? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!


  • nPhoto: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying”” data-img-url=”–1.jpg” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal”>


    Even United Airlines had flights canceled and delayed this weekend, although not as much as others.

    Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

    United Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Scott Kirby

    United States


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