The Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380 are both in danger of extincting. Just like the dinosaurs the are vulnerable because of its massive sizes. Smaller creatures dominate the earth today. The pelican is a big bird and the massive Directly is extinct. Now you can imagine why the Pterodactyl is extinct as it ran out of cow sized lunches. Boeing finds itself in the same position as the prehistoric big birds that faced extinction, not enough cattle to load on board. A smaller birds have moved in and taken a part of the 747 feedlot with 777's and 787's. The A350 will also nibble away more foliage in an ever shrinking market place for Raptors and and avians.
This may all sound preposterous comparing the airplane market to dinosaurs, but the lessons learned back then apply today in quantum physics. Lifting large masses need lower costs of fuel. The 747 and A380 make the Brontosaurus case wallowing in dried up mud holes. They weren't fast enough or versatile enough to dodge asteroids in time. Volcanic global climate change occurred. Scientist then didn't see that one coming. The 747 isn't really a dinosaur unless its people in the think tank are still reading "The Land That Time Forgot" books. The 747 has to re-purpose itself in a hurry. It needs to make itself into a "Love Boat", type airship. Boeing should market the 747 as a freighter as it does, even though the freight market is down. It also needs to innovate the internals of the aircraft as part of its customer experience.
The passenger mind set is changed for the airline owning a 747. The paradigm shift brings in the reasons families will travel on the 747. Internal innovations is not about cheaper seat tickets because of fuel efficiency, it about the travel experience entirely.
A passenger boards a 747-8i because of what it offers better than its competitor. Again the flying "love boat" theme. Innovations for traveling families that would include areas for children having a theme of games, comfort and observation for the parents. A club atmosphere in first class. "Sleeping over" is part of the theme for adults with this special airline small compartments like you find in booths at the restaurants. Part of the booking experience is having the 747 configure for the passenger's travel space within the allotted square footage.
A passenger may order up a privacy screen for its passenger space or a different style of seating sequence within the economy space for its friends and family. The 747 would break the mold of three or four abreast in rows and rows and rows. While online, a passengers orders tickets that fit the passengers wants. If you want to line up the family in three or four abreast you get the lowest price ticket. If you want to reconfigure passenger space, the 747 Lego interior could do that in minutes with its ground service crew using snap in and lock appliances like mini partitions facing seats or turning the layout into lay across couches. A cruise ship has balconies on the outside and inside cabins at a lower price. Window watching on the inside space would suffer but additional features not found on windowed areas would be available. A particular section forward on the 747 would have convertible space where beyond a certain point back it would be standard seating for all sardine seekers.
The only way the 747 can survive is not flying like a row by row, row boat. It must survive with innovation inside the frame at a standardize features or make it fitting a customers wants, they just have to buy the space. They would offer enough variation for long flights where its not about your seat but its about much you enjoy getting there on a 747. Damn the efficiency of twin engine full party ahead. Getting there is more fun than being there on a 747. even if it only seats 350 rather than 450. What an airline can do on the 747 square footage is more than the sardines can do on a 777. This new American party animal can survive the meteor hits, ice ages, and a run of volcanoes. Boeing needs to innovate to the extent that people board because its a 747 and not a row by row boat, its a cruise ship in the air.
All this is just brainstorming, Boeing needs to think out of the box to save the 747 as a customer flying machine. Upstairs could be that Private cruise space with customer compartments. In the nose could be where clubbing is possible. Main deck midsection is convertible family space and the back third traditional space for boring people who like reading magazines and texting. The plane from the ground up is built to receive internal innovations for its customers. I would buy a ticket on a fun 747 cruise ship over any row by row boat. The customers will save the 747 dinosaurs by receiving great value while getting there.