Last updated: 01:52 PM ET, Tue May 31 2016

Ever Dreamed About Owning Your Own Airliner? There's One For Sale on eBay.

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | May 31, 2016

Ever Dreamed About Owning Your Own Airliner? There's One For Sale on eBay.

Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Some airlines have started to remove the Boeing 747 from their fleets in favor of lighter, more fuel efficient aircraft. Now, you can actually buy one of these legendary planes on eBay. 

A former Virgin Atlantic 747-400, now sitting unused at an airliner “graveyard” in Arizona, is up for sale on eBay. The plane, which is named Lady Penelope (Virgin Atlantic names all of its planes), flew its first passengers in 1994. It was retired in 2015 after working on the busy New York-London route. 

Not in flying condition 

The plane has been listed on eBay with a starting bid of $299,000. The price for buying the plane right now without participating in the auction is $900,000. The auction ends at 12:09 a.m. on Saturday morning. As of yet, no one has entered a bid. 

Unfortunately, for people who have dreams of flying off in their own private jet, the plane is not in working order. It still has Virgin Atlantic’s trademark exterior and art, but its four engines have been removed and all of the wiring and electrical elements have been stripped out.

Most of the interior also remains. The craft still has 350 seats and most of its galley equipment is intact.  

Because of the lack of engines, the buyer will have to pay for the seller to transport the plane overland. They will probably have to take it apart and then reassemble it at its final destination. This will add a significant amount of money to the overall cost of purchasing the airplane. 

READ MORE: Iconic 747s Disappearing from the Skies

Who would buy a plane that can’t fly? 

People do use retired airplanes for things other than flying. Such aircraft have been used as tourist attractions or displayed on the grounds of flight museums. Some have been converted into hotels or even private homes. 

The company that is selling Lady Penelope, Concord Aerospace, has suggested in the eBay listing that the cockpit could be used for a flight simulator. 

A hotel or a home?

There is certainly a precedent for airplane hotels. Examples include a 1950s propeller plane known as the Plane Motel in New Zealand. A 747 in Sweden was converted into the Jumbo Hostel, which has a bar in the first class cabin and 29 rooms, including a "cockpit suite." 

If it does not become some sort of tourist attraction or museum piece, this seems like a likely fate for Lady Penelope, especially given Virgin Atlantic’s cool image.  

Or the plane could even be converted into a private home, just like an Oregon man did with a retired Boeing 727. Given the cost of Penelope, that kind of conversion seems less likely.  

It will certainly be interesting to see what happens during the eBay auction. If there are no bids, the plane will remain in Arizona until the company can find a buyer using other methods. 


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