Sometimes it's 20 years, sometimes it's 60, but there comes a time when every aircraft's life comes to an end.
Unless it's an aircraft featured in the history books, they're sent off to the scrapheap.
With COVID-19 bringing forward the retirement of hundreds of airliners, there's now massive money to be made from recycling them.
There are dozens of companies around the world which dismantle airliners and salvage what they can for resale. Once that's done, the aircraft is just a large piece of metal, and what they can do to a Boeing 747 would make Judith 'Crusher' Collins look like a matchbox car enthusiast.
Some items are sold back to airlines as replacement parts of aircraft still in operation, from parts of the galley to engines and electrical components.
The aircraft is usually then dismantled and using special magnetic machinery, the aluminium is separated from the rest of the millions of parts of the former aircraft.
A recent report said the aluminium taken from a small airliner can weigh around 40 tonnes, and sells for as much as NZ$3400 per tonne.
Some of that aluminium is then sold to soft drink manufacturers and starts a whole new life as a can of Coca-Cola.
So next time you throw one back, just think, the can you are drinking out of could have spent the last 50 years travelling around the world.