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How Big Is A 747 Airplane


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Joye Yancy



The Boeing 747, often referred to as the “Jumbo Jet,” is one of the most recognizable and iconic airplanes in the world. Its distinctive hump-shaped upper deck and four engines make it stand out among other aircraft. Originally introduced in 1970, the 747 revolutionized air travel and set new standards for size and passenger capacity.


Since its inception, the 747 has served as a workhorse for long-haul flights, transporting millions of passengers and tons of cargo across continents. But just how big is a 747 airplane? In this article, we will delve into the dimensions and size of this legendary aircraft, including its wingspan, length, height, weight, passenger capacity, cargo capacity, fuel capacity, and range.


So strap in and get ready for an exciting journey into the world of the Boeing 747, as we explore just how big this remarkable airplane truly is.


Dimensions and Size

The Boeing 747 has impressive dimensions, making it a prominent figure in the world of aviation. Let’s take a closer look at its wingspan, length, height, and weight.


The wingspan of a 747 is truly remarkable. It measures approximately 211 feet (64 meters), spanning a distance greater than two-thirds the length of a football field. This expansive wingspan allows for greater lift and stability during flight, ensuring a smooth and safe journey for passengers.


The length of a 747 adds to its grandeur. It measures around 231 feet (70 meters), equivalent to the length of about 25 average-sized cars parked bumper to bumper. This elongated body provides ample space for the aircraft’s seating arrangement, cargo hold, and various systems required for flight.


The height of a 747 is equally impressive, standing at approximately 63 feet (19 meters). This towering height is roughly equivalent to a six-story building, showcasing the sheer magnitude of this aircraft.


Of course, such a large aircraft also comes with considerable weight. The Boeing 747 has a maximum takeoff weight of around 975,000 pounds (443,000 kilograms) or nearly 500 tons. To put that into perspective, it weighs about as much as 33 adult African elephants!


The dimensions and size of a Boeing 747 not only contribute to its iconic appearance but also play a vital role in its performance and capabilities. A combination of wingspan, length, height, and weight ensures stability, capacity, and range for long-haul flights.



The wingspan of a Boeing 747 is truly awe-inspiring. Spanning a distance of approximately 211 feet (64 meters), it is one of the most expansive wingspans among commercial aircraft. The wide wingspan of the 747 is critical for its performance and stability during flight. The size of the wings allows for increased lift, which is necessary to support the weight of the airplane and its passengers and cargo. The design of the wings also enables the aircraft to glide through the air more efficiently, reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency. To further enhance its aerodynamic capabilities, the 747 features a unique wing shape known as a “supercritical” wing. This design allows the aircraft to achieve higher speeds while minimizing the formation of shockwaves that can cause turbulence and increase drag. The wingspan of a 747 also enables it to take advantage of airports with wider runways. Its wide wingspan requires dedicated taxiways and gates to accommodate its size. This also means that the aircraft typically requires the use of a dedicated boarding bridge or stair system to allow passengers to access the main deck or upper deck. Overall, the expansive wingspan of the Boeing 747 is a defining feature of the aircraft, contributing to its stability, fuel efficiency, and ability to transport passengers and cargo over long distances.



The length of a Boeing 747 is truly impressive, measuring approximately 231 feet (70 meters) from nose to tail. This makes it one of the longest commercial aircraft in operation.


The elongated body of the 747 allows for a spacious interior, accommodating a large number of passengers and cargo. It is worth noting that there are different variants of the 747, with varying lengths. The original 747-100 model had a length of 231 feet, while the extended range 747-400 model measures approximately 232 feet.


The extended length of the aircraft is divided into various sections. The forward section, known as the cockpit or flight deck, houses the crew and flight controls. Behind the cockpit is the passenger area, which can be divided into lower and upper decks, depending on the aircraft’s configuration. The lower deck typically contains the majority of the passenger seats, while the upper deck offers additional seating and premium cabins.


Further aft, the aircraft features a cargo hold capable of carrying a significant amount of freight. The 747 has a built-in cargo door, allowing for efficient loading and unloading of cargo and specialized equipment.


In terms of visual impact, the length of a 747 is breathtaking, especially when seen up close or from a distance. Its sheer size commands attention and signifies the capabilities and capacity of this iconic aircraft. But it is not just the length that matters; it is how the space is utilized to provide a comfortable and efficient flying experience for passengers and efficient transport of cargo.



The height of a Boeing 747 is approximately 63 feet (19 meters), making it a towering presence on the tarmac. This impressive vertical dimension is a result of the aircraft’s design and serves multiple purposes.


The height of the 747 allows for ample headroom inside the cabin, providing a comfortable and spacious environment for passengers. The main deck of the aircraft is designed to accommodate rows of seats, aisles, and overhead compartments, allowing passengers to move around freely without feeling cramped.


Additionally, the height of the aircraft contributes to its stability during flight. The vertical dimensions play a crucial role in maintaining the balance and aerodynamic performance of the aircraft. The tall height allows for efficient airflow over the wings and control surfaces, ensuring smoother handling and maneuverability.


Moreover, the height of the 747 enables the aircraft to accommodate a unique feature – the upper deck. The upper deck, located towards the front of the aircraft, provides an additional seating area and often includes premium cabins and lounges. Passengers seated on the upper deck enjoy a different perspective and a sense of exclusivity, providing a more luxurious travel experience.


From an external perspective, the height of the 747 gives it a commanding presence on the runway. Airports need to ensure that their infrastructure, such as boarding gates and fueling systems, can accommodate the height of the aircraft during ground operations.


In summary, the height of the Boeing 747 serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. It provides ample headroom for passengers, contributes to the aircraft’s stability in flight, allows for the inclusion of an upper deck, and adds to the overall grandeur and iconic status of this remarkable aircraft.



The weight of a Boeing 747 is truly remarkable, with a maximum takeoff weight of approximately 975,000 pounds (443,000 kilograms) or nearly 500 tons. This substantial weight is due to numerous factors, including the size of the aircraft, its structural materials, fuel capacity, and payload.


The immense weight of the 747 is distributed across its various components. The airframe, which includes the fuselage, wings, and tail, accounts for a significant portion of the weight. The materials used in the construction of the 747, such as aluminum alloys and composites, are carefully chosen to balance strength, durability, and weight.


In addition to the airframe, the engines of the 747 contribute substantially to its overall weight. The four engines, typically two on each wing, are powerful and heavy, designed to provide the necessary thrust for a large aircraft of this size.


The weight also includes the fuel required for long-haul flights. The 747 has an impressive fuel capacity, ranging from approximately 48,000 to 57,000 gallons (182,000 to 216,000 liters). The aircraft’s weight increases as fuel is loaded, and as it burns during the flight, the weight decreases gradually.


Lastly, the weight of the 747 also accounts for the payload it can carry. This includes passengers, baggage, and cargo. The seating capacity of a 747 can vary depending on the configuration, ranging from around 366 to 524 passengers in a typical three-class layout. Additionally, the aircraft has a significant cargo hold capable of transporting a large volume of freight.


Overall, the weight of a 747 reflects its structural integrity, power, and capabilities. It is engineered to withstand the stresses of flight, carry a significant payload, and safely transport passengers and cargo over long distances. Despite its colossal weight, the 747 has proven to be a reliable and efficient workhorse for the aviation industry.


Passenger Capacity

The Boeing 747 has an impressive passenger capacity, making it one of the largest commercial airliners in terms of seating availability. The exact seating capacity of a 747 can vary depending on the aircraft model, configuration, and airline preferences.


In a typical three-class configuration, a 747 can accommodate anywhere from approximately 366 to 524 passengers. This includes first-class, business-class, and economy-class seating options. The specific layout and distribution of seats may vary according to the airline’s preferences and passenger demands.


The upper deck, often referred to as the “business class deck,” is a unique feature of the 747. It is a popular choice for airlines to offer premium cabins, with spacious seats, more legroom, and additional amenities for business and first-class passengers. The upper deck typically provides a quieter and more exclusive environment for passengers, creating a more luxurious travel experience.


Depending on the configuration, the main deck of a 747 can have multiple aisles to ensure efficient passenger flow during boarding, deplaning, and in-flight movements. The spaciousness of the cabin allows for a comfortable journey, with sufficient legroom and overhead storage for carry-on baggage.


The passenger capacity of a 747 makes it an ideal choice for long-haul flights, where larger volume transport is required. Whether it’s international travel or densely populated domestic routes, the 747 offers a solution for airlines to transport a significant number of passengers at once.


It is important to note, however, that passenger capacity may vary based on factors such as the airline’s customizations, seat dimensions, and any modifications made for specific operational requirements.


Overall, the passenger capacity of the Boeing 747 showcases its role as a major player in the aviation industry, providing a high-capacity option for airlines and giving passengers the opportunity to travel across the globe in comfort and style.


Cargo Capacity

In addition to its impressive passenger capacity, the Boeing 747 also has a substantial cargo capacity, making it a versatile aircraft for transporting freight around the world. The cargo hold of the 747 is carefully designed to accommodate a significant volume of goods, ensuring efficient and secure transportation.


The exact cargo capacity of a 747 can vary depending on the specific variant and modifications made by the airline. However, on average, a 747 can carry anywhere from approximately 124,000 to 300,000 pounds (56,000 to 136,000 kilograms) of cargo.


The cargo hold of the 747 is located beneath the main deck, typically divided into separate compartments to facilitate the loading and unloading process. This allows for the transportation of a wide range of goods, including oversized items, perishable goods, and other types of freight.


The cargo hold of the 747 is equipped with specialized equipment, such as roller beds, cargo loading systems, and securing mechanisms, to ensure the safe and efficient handling of goods. Additionally, the aircraft’s doors are designed to accommodate the loading and unloading of cargo through various methods, including pallets, containers, and bulk loading.


The ability to transport a significant volume of cargo makes the Boeing 747 a popular choice for freight operators, enabling the transportation of goods across long distances. It is particularly useful for industries such as e-commerce, manufacturing, and perishable goods, where expedited and reliable transportation is crucial.


The cargo capacity of the 747 also allows for a combination of passenger and cargo operations, commonly known as “combi” configurations. This configuration enables airlines to transport both passengers and freight simultaneously, maximizing the utilization of the aircraft’s capacity.


Overall, the cargo capacity of the Boeing 747 contributes to its versatility and utility in the aviation industry. It showcases the aircraft’s ability to handle a diverse range of cargo and highlights its importance in global logistics and supply chain operations.


Fuel Capacity

The Boeing 747, being a long-range aircraft, has a substantial fuel capacity to support its transcontinental and intercontinental flights. The fuel capacity of a 747 can vary depending on the specific model and any modifications made by the airline.


On average, a 747 has a fuel capacity of approximately 48,000 to 57,000 gallons (182,000 to 216,000 liters). This significant volume of fuel allows the aircraft to travel great distances without the need for frequent refueling stops.


The fuel is stored in dedicated fuel tanks located within the wings and fuselage of the aircraft. The tanks are strategically positioned to ensure proper weight distribution and balance during flight. Additionally, the fuel system incorporates pumps, valves, and sensors to efficiently manage and monitor the fuel supply throughout the journey.


The range of a 747 is directly influenced by its fuel capacity. On a full tank, the aircraft has the capability to travel over 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 kilometers), depending on factors such as cargo load, passenger count, cruising altitude, and weather conditions.


The efficient use of fuel is a top priority for airlines, as it significantly impacts operating costs and environmental sustainability. The 747 aircraft incorporates advanced technologies, such as fuel-efficient engines and aerodynamic enhancements, to optimize fuel consumption and reduce emissions during flight.


The fuel capacity of a 747 allows it to reach destinations across the globe, making it a preferred choice for long-haul flights. Whether it’s connecting major cities, bridging continents, or even serving as a relief aircraft during humanitarian operations, the fuel capacity of the 747 ensures reliable and efficient transportation.


Overall, the fuel capacity of the Boeing 747 plays a crucial role in its operational capabilities, enabling it to undertake extensive flights, traverse vast distances, and connect people and places around the world.



The range of a Boeing 747 refers to the maximum distance the aircraft can fly without the need for refueling. It is determined by various factors, including the fuel capacity, payload, cruising speed, and prevailing weather conditions.


On average, a 747 has a range of over 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 kilometers), allowing it to effortlessly traverse intercontinental routes. This impressive range enables non-stop flights between major cities and allows airlines to connect destinations that would otherwise require layovers or multiple connecting flights.


However, it is important to note that the range of a 747 can vary depending on factors such as payload and passenger load. The more weight the aircraft carries, the shorter its range becomes as the fuel consumption increases. Additionally, adverse weather conditions or strong headwinds can also impact the range of the aircraft.


There are several variants of the 747, each with different range capabilities. For example, the 747-400, which is a widely used model, has a range of approximately 7,260 nautical miles (13,450 kilometers), while the newer 747-8 has an extended range of around 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 kilometers).


The long-range capability of the 747 has led to the development of ultra-long-haul flights, connecting cities that were once deemed unreachable in a single journey. This has opened up new possibilities for airlines and passengers, allowing for more direct and convenient travel options.


As technology continues to advance, there is a continuous effort to improve the range and fuel efficiency of aircraft. This ensures that the 747 remains a viable choice for airlines seeking long-haul capabilities and passengers looking for seamless, non-stop travel experiences.


In summary, the range of the Boeing 747 empowers airlines to offer direct flights over vast distances, connecting people and places across continents, and redefining the possibilities of international air travel.



The Boeing 747, with its impressive dimensions, passenger capacity, cargo capacity, and range, has cemented its status as one of the most iconic and influential aircraft in the history of aviation. From its groundbreaking debut in 1970 to the present day, the 747 has revolutionized air travel and set new standards for size, capacity, and long-haul capabilities.


With a wingspan of approximately 211 feet and a length of 231 feet, the 747 cuts a striking figure on airport tarmacs around the world. Its towering height of 63 feet and weight of nearly 500 tons showcase its commanding presence and engineering prowess.


Inside, the 747 offers a spacious and comfortable flying experience for passengers, with a seating capacity ranging from approximately 366 to 524 passengers in a three-class configuration. The upper deck provides a luxurious space for premium cabins, adding an element of exclusivity for discerning travelers.


The cargo capacity of the 747 is equally impressive, allowing for the transportation of a significant volume of goods. Its spacious cargo hold enables the aircraft to serve as a reliable and efficient freighter, connecting businesses and industries across the globe.


With a fuel capacity of approximately 48,000 to 57,000 gallons, the 747 can undertake long-haul flights of over 7,000 nautical miles, connecting major cities and bridging continents. Its range and payload capabilities have made it a preferred choice for airlines seeking to optimize efficiency and provide non-stop travel options.


In conclusion, the Boeing 747 is more than just an aircraft; it is a symbol of innovation, progress, and the global interconnectedness of our modern world. Its remarkable dimensions, passenger capacity, cargo capacity, fuel capacity, and range make it a true pioneer in the world of aviation and a testament to human engineering and ingenuity.


As the aviation industry continues to evolve, the legacy of the 747 lives on, leaving an indelible mark on the history of air travel and inspiring new generations of aircraft design and technology.