When I read the much debated article in Time magazine on ’20 reason’s to hate airlines’ (here is my rebuttal to the article – Why I hate Time’s 20 reasons to hate airlines list), it was the first time I heard of a piano bar on the upper deck of a Boeing 747. I did not even know such a thing existed. So, I googled it and after much searching, actually got a result. I found this very cool blog post talking about the piano bar, along with multiple pictures, including one of an actual piano, with someone playing and singing. It was real! I guess I am just to young to have heard of it.
I have actually never had the opportunity to fly in the upper deck of a 747. I have travelled on a 747 multiple times, including in Business class on Lufthansa. That too in the first row of the lower deck. That was a great experience. The window seats actually have windows that allow you to look forward! Because of the curvature of the nose cone and the fact that the cockpit is on the upper deck, the seats in the first row have a partially front facing view. That was some takeoff!
So, some airlines used the upper deck as live entertainment and lounge areas for their upper class passengers. No seats, just fun. I guess they saw the upper deck of the 747 as extra space that could be put to creative use. That is no more. All 747’s flying today have seats in the upper deck. Some, like Lufthansa, have all their First Class seats upstairs. Others, like United have Business Class seats, along with more business class seats in the lower deck.
There are airlines that still do have bars and small lounge areas on their planes. They in no was occupy the whole upper deck of a 747. They are smaller and of course, still for the upper class passengers. Today, some airlines also have self serve food pantries on extra long flights. On a United flight that I took from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Dubai (DXB) – a good 13+ hours – the second meal on the flight was self serve sandwiches and beverages, all laid out in the galley. I thought this was a great idea as all those asleep would not want to be disturbed by food carts in the middle of the night. I have no idea how the arrangement was for upper class passengers. I had searched high and low for cheap flights to Dubai, so I had a non-upgradable ticket and was stuck in economy. This was a 777 anyways, so no upper deck.
Going back to the 747 piano lounge. Wow, live entertainment. What a concept. So, not only did the airlines take up all the space in the upper deck for passengers to chill out, relax and mingle, they put in a piano and hired a piano player (looks like he can sing too) to come along on the flight to entertainment the guests. Ah, the nostalgia. Maybe some airline can try out a ‘1970s Nostalgia’ flight and have a piano bar in its 747 upper deck for a while. I heard United has a 747 that still has the old configuration that needs to be reconfigured with their new seats. Here is a chance to make some money during the ‘in-between’ stage. Anyone have Mr. Tilton’s number? Can Taylor Swift play the piano?