Delta Air Lines

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Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Delta logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded May 30, 1924; 91 years ago (1924-05-30)
(as Huff Daland Dusters)
Macon, Georgia, USA[1]
Commenced operations June 17, 1929; 86 years ago (1929-06-17)[2]
AOC # DALA026A[3]
Frequent-flyer program SkyMiles[6]
Airport lounge Delta Sky Club[6]
Alliance SkyTeam[6]
Fleet size 722 (mainline only)[9]
Destinations 334 [10]
Company slogan Keep Climbing
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Key people Richard H. Anderson (Chairman & CEO)
Edward Bastian (President)
Revenue Increase US$ 37.773 billion (2013)[11]
Operating income Increase US$ 3.400 billion (2013)[11]
Net income Increase US$ 10.540 billion (2013)[11]
Total assets Increase US$ 52.252 billion (2013)[11]
Total equity Increase US$ 11.643 billion (2013)[11]
Employees 80,000 (2015)

Delta Air Lines, Inc. ("Delta"; NYSEDAL) is a major American airline, with its headquarters and largest hub at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.[12] The airline along with its subsidiaries operate over 5,400 flights daily and serve an extensive domestic and international network that includes 334 destinations in 64 countries on six continents, as of June 2015.[6] Delta is one of the four founding members of the SkyTeam airline alliance, and operates joint ventures with: Air France-KLM and Alitalia; Virgin Atlantic; and Virgin Australia.[6] Regional service is operated under the brand name Delta Connection.

Delta is the sixth-oldest operating airline by foundation date, and the oldest airline still operating in the United States. The company's history can be traced back to Huff Daland Dusters, founded in 1924 in Macon, Georgia as a crop dusting operation. The company moved to Monroe, Louisiana and was later renamed Delta Air Services, in reference to the nearby Mississippi Delta region, and commenced passenger services on June 17, 1929. Among predecessors of today's Delta Air Lines, Western Airlines and Northwest Airlines began flying passengers in 1926 and 1927, respectively.

In 2013, Delta Air Lines was the world's largest airline in terms of scheduled passengers carried (120.6 million),[13] and the second-largest in terms of both revenue passenger-kilometers flown (277.6 billion)[14] and capacity (4.4 billion ASM/week; March 2013).[15]


Restored Huff-Daland Duster
Delta Douglas DC-7 circa 1955
Delta Boeing 747-100 at London in 1973.

Delta Air Lines was created as Huff Daland Dusters, Incorporated, an aerial crop dusting operation, on May 30, 1924 in Macon, Georgia. Formed with a Huff-Daland Duster, the first true crop duster, the plane was deployed to combat the boll weevil in 1925. Delta Air Corporation owned the plane (now in the Southern Museum of Flight). The company moved to Monroe, Louisiana in 1925. Collett E. Woolman, one of the original directors, purchased the company on September 13, 1928, and renamed it Delta Air Service. It began carrying passengers on June 17, 1929. The single passenger sat in a chair placed in the bin where the pesticide was usually kept.[16]

Delta grew through the addition of routes and the acquisition of other airlines. They replaced propeller planes with jets in the 1960s and entered international competition to Europe in the 1970s and across the Pacific in the 1980s. The logo of Delta Air Lines, originally unveiled in 1959, is reminiscent of the swept-wing design of the DC-8 airplanes. Often termed as the "widget" logo, the current version consists of two 3D triangles.[17]


A Northwest Airlines Airbus A330-300, shortly before the merger with Delta in 2008

The current Delta Air Lines is the result of many airline mergers over a period of more than 80 years. The most recent merger was with Northwest Airlines on October 29, 2008 and at the time formed the world's largest airline. After approval of the merger, Northwest continued to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta until December 31, 2009 when both carriers' operating certificates were merged (the Delta certificate was kept).[18] Delta completed the integration with Northwest on January 31, 2010 when their reservation systems and websites were combined, and the Northwest Airlines name and brand were officially retired.[19]

Predecessor carriers forming the current Delta Air Lines include:

  • Chicago and Southern Air Lines (formed in 1933, merged into Delta in 1953).[16] Delta flew under the carrier name of Delta-C&S for the following two years.[20]
  • Northeast Airlines (formed in 1931, merged into Delta in August 1972)[16][21]
  • Northwest Airlines (formed in 1926, merged into Delta in 2010. Also known as Northwest Orient Airlines from 1950-1989)
    • Republic Airlines (formed in 1979, merged into Northwest Airlines in 1986)
      • Hughes Airwest (formed in 1968 as Air West, name change to Hughes Airwest in 1970, merged into Republic Airlines in 1980)
      • North Central Airlines (formed in 1944 as Wisconsin Central Airlines, name change to North Central Airlines in 1952, merged into Republic Airlines in 1979)
      • Southern Airways (formed in 1944, merged into Republic Airlines in 1979)
  • Pan American World Airways (formed in 1927, upon its bankruptcy in 1991 Delta bought a selection of Pan Am's assets and routes and merged them into its operations)
    • Atlantic, Gulf, and Caribbean Airways (formed in 1927, merged into Pan American World Airways in 1928)
    • American Overseas Airlines (formed in 1937, merged into Pan American World Airways in 1950)
    • Aviation Corporation of the Americas/American International Airways (formed in 1926, merged into Pan American World Airways in 1928)
    • National Airlines (formed in 1934, merged into Pan American World Airways in 1980)
  • Western Airlines (formed in 1925, merged into Delta in 1987)

Defunct Delta subsidiaries[edit]

Delta Express Boeing 737 in 2001


Delta Air Lines headquarters in Atlanta

Headquarters and offices[edit]

Delta's corporate headquarters is located on a corporate campus on the northern boundary of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, within the city limits of Atlanta.[24][25][26] This location has served as Delta's headquarters since 1941, when the company relocated its corporate offices from Monroe, Louisiana to Greater Atlanta.[27][28] The crop dusting division of Delta remained headquartered in Monroe until Delta ceased crop dusting in 1966.[29] Prior to 1981, the Delta corporate campus, an 80-acre (32 ha) plot of land in proximity to the old Hartsfield Airport terminal, was outside the City of Atlanta limits in unincorporated Fulton County. On August 3, 1981 the Atlanta City Council approved the annexation of 141 acres (57 ha) of land, an area containing the Delta headquarters. As of 1981 Delta would have had to begin paying $200,000 annually to the City of Atlanta in taxes. In September 1981 the airline sued the city, challenging the annexation on the basis of the constitutionality of the 1960 City of Atlanta annexation of the Hartsfield old terminal.[30] The City of Atlanta was only permitted to annex areas that are adjacent to areas already in the Atlanta city limits.[30]

In addition to hosting Delta's corporate headquarters, Hartsfield-Jackson is also the home of Delta TechOps, Delta's Technical Operations Center, which is the airline's primary maintenance, repair and overhaul arm and the largest full-service airline MRO in North America, specializing in engines, components, airframe and line maintenance.[31]

Delta maintains a large presence in the Twin Cities, with over 12,000 employees[32] in the region as well as significant corporate support functions housed in the Minneapolis area, including the company's information technology divisional offices.[33]

An Airbus A330-300 painted in Delta's current livery, "Upward & Onward"


Delta's current livery, "Upward & Onward", uses four colors. It features a "widget" (delta) on each aircraft's vertical stabilizer to refer to Delta's origins as a carrier in the Mississippi Delta.[34]

The previous livery, "Colors in Motion", used eight colors. Delta introduced its current branding in 2007 after it emerged from bankruptcy. The switch from the previous livery to the current livery removed one day from each aircraft's painting cycle, allowing the airline to save money. The airline took four years to repaint all of its aircraft into the current scheme, including aircraft inherited from Northwest Airlines.[34] The triangle logo, known internally as "the Widget", was introduced in 1959.

Hub information[edit]

Current hubs[edit]

The "Fly Delta Air Lines" marker at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport emphasizes the presence of the airline

Delta has ten domestic hubs and three international hubs.[6][35] Delta carries more passengers than any other airline at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport,[36] Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport,[35] Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport,[35] New York–JFK,[37] New York-LaGuardia Airport,[38] & Salt Lake City International Airport.[35]

Former hubs[edit]

  • O'Hare International Airport – Delta operated a small hub at Chicago until the early 1990s.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport – Delta, at one time, operated over 200 flights per day from DFW. At times, it was Delta's third-largest hub behind Atlanta and Cincinnati, respectively. Delta closed the hub in February 2005 due to competition with American Airlines, which had their largest hub at DFW.
  • Frankfurt Airport – Delta acquired its Frankfurt hub from Pan American World Airways, which the remainder of its Atlantic Division to Delta upon bankruptcy, including the JFK Worldport. Delta closed the hub in 1997.
  • Logan International Airport[4] - A smaller hub for Delta in the second half of the 20th century and remained one until the early 2000s. In 2005, a new terminal A was built at Logan for Delta's sole use. However, when Delta went bankrupt, they leased 11 of the 22 gates in the terminal. Today, Delta still has a large share in the Boston market, with daily international flights to various cities in Central America, Canada, and major European cities, including Amsterdam, London, and Paris. They now occupy 17 of the 22 gates and have recently opened a second Sky Club location.
  • Los Angeles International Airport – Delta dismantled its Western Airlines-inherited LAX hub in the mid-1990s when it decided to relocate most of those aircraft to the US East Coast. Since that point, however, it has re-opened its hub here,[4] mostly flying to Mexico, Florida, and Hawaii. As of May 2015, Delta captured a 17.22% passenger market share with 139 daily departures to Hawaii, Mexico, Japan, Guatemala, and some of Delta's large domestic bases throughout the United States, as well as regional service to the West Coast. LAX also remains Delta's sole gateway to Australia.[43]
  • Memphis International Airport – A Delta hub that was originally dismantled but regained hub status through the merger with Northwest.[44] On September 3, 2013, Delta reduced its flights from Memphis to approximately 60 flights per day to remove it as a hub.[45] In December 2014, flights were cut down to 25 daily flights to 10 destinations, fully removing the airports hub status.[46]
  • Orlando International Airport – Delta built up its Orlando hub with the conjunction of Comair in the mid 1980s, and subsequently became the "Official Airline of Walt Disney World". The airport then became the hub for Delta Express and Song, before Delta pulled back mainline presence in the mid 2000s.[47]
  • Portland International Airport – Delta built up its Portland hub in the late 1980s to gain a presence in the U.S. to Asia market. The hub operated most of Delta's flights to Asia, but was slowly cut back as a result of Japanese and Korean economic recession, finally closing in 2001.[48]


Between its mainline operation and subsidiaries, and as of March 2015, Delta employs nearly 80,000 people.[6] Joanne Smith is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer responsible for the oversight and support of personnel needs at Delta. She was appointed on October 1, 2014 replacing Mike Campbell.[49]

Employee relations[edit]

Delta's 12,000 mainline pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International and are the union's largest pilot group.[50][51] The company's approximately 180 flight dispatchers are represented by the Professional Airline Flight Control Association (PAFCA).[citation needed]

Not counting the pilots and flight dispatchers, Delta is the only one of the five largest airlines in the United States, and one of only two in the top 9 (the other being JetBlue), whose non-pilot staff is entirely non-union.[50] This caused issues during and after the merger with Northwest, whose employees had a much higher rate of unionization.[50] Pilots at both airlines were unionized. Northwest Airlines flight attendants were formerly represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).[52] A vote on unionization with the AFA at the post-merger Delta was held on 3 November 2010, unionization was narrowly rejected by flight attendants, with 9,544 votes against unionization and 9,216 in favor.[52][53] The AFA accused Delta of interference in the vote and requested the National Mediation Board (NMB) investigate and order a second vote.[50] The NMB investigation found that the election was not compromised and dismissed the claim.[54] Currently both the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and a coalition of the AFA and the Transport Workers Union of America are seeking to hold unionization votes for Delta flight attendants.[55][56][57]


Delta Air Lines destinations as of November 2014. Year-round destinations are red, seasonal destinations are pink, & former destinations are dark grey.

As of March 2015, Delta operates more than 5,400 flights per day. Delta Connection operates 2,533 daily flights.[6] It is one of the few airlines to fly to all six permanently inhabited continents, along with British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and United Airlines.

Delta is the only US Carrier flying to Bangkok, Copenhagen, Dakar, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Moscow, Prague, and Reykjavik.

Hub and focus city statistics[edit]

These statistics about each of Delta's hubs are current as of January 2016. (Ranked by daily departures).[58][59]

Rank Airport Daily Departures[58] Destinations Served[58]
1 Atlanta (ATL) 960 219
2 Detroit (DTW) 411 126
3 Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) 382 133
4 New York City (LGA) 262 56
5 Salt Lake City (SLC) 227 83
6 New York City (JFK) 187 81
7 Los Angeles (LAX) 155 56
8 Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) 109 44
9 Cincinnati (CVG) 82 37
10 Boston (BOS) 78 20
11 Tokyo (NRT) 18 17
12 Paris (CDG) 18 13
13 Amsterdam (AMS) 15 9


Delta was a founding member of the SkyTeam Alliance in 2000. In addition to SkyTeam partners, Delta Air Lines also has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of May 2015:[60]

Codeshare Agreements[edit]

Air France–KLM and Alitalia joint venture[edit]

Inherited from the Northwest-KLM relationship (which is older than any of the three major airline alliances including SkyTeam itself), Delta has a transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. The program coordinates transatlantic operations, including ticket pricing, schedules, capacity, and revenue.[63] On January 27, 2012, the European Commission launched an investigation into the impact of the joint venture on competition on the routes that it covers.[63]

Joint venture with Virgin Atlantic[edit]

On December 11, 2012 Delta announced that it would spend $360 million to acquire a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic. These shares were previously held by Singapore Airlines. As a part of this agreement, both airlines would share the costs and revenues from all of the joint venture flights the airlines operated. The two airlines planned to operate a total of 31 roundtrip flights between the UK and North America, including nine daily roundtrip flights between London Heathrow and New York City airports (John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport).[64] The two airlines applied for antitrust immunity with the United States Department of Transportation and immunity was granted on September 23, 2013[65]


Delta Air Lines has the largest Boeing 757 fleet of any airline
Delta's Boeing 747 arrives at Ben Gurion Airport
Main article: Delta Air Lines fleet

As of January 2013, Delta operates a fleet of more than 800 aircraft manufactured by Airbus, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas.[6] The carrier operates the largest fleets of Airbus A330 and Boeing 767 aircraft of any US airline. Delta also operates the largest fleets of Boeing 757, McDonnell Douglas MD-88, and McDonnell Douglas MD-90 aircraft in the world. Prior to its 2008 merger with Northwest Airlines, Delta's fleet was made up of solely Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft; Airbus aircraft from Northwest joined the fleet after the merger.

Unlike other mainline US legacy carriers, Delta has decided that its best path to profitability is a strategy that utilizes older aircraft, and Delta has created a very extensive MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) organization, called TechOps, to support them. The oldest aircraft in the fleet are the McDonnell Douglas MD-88s.[66] Delta buys older airplanes as sources for spare parts. However, Delta is replacing some of the oldest airplanes in its fleet. To replace the DC-9s, MD-88s, and older A320 and 757-200 aircraft in their fleet, Delta began discussing narrowbody replacement plans with manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier in early 2011.[67] On August 22, 2011, Delta placed an order for 100 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft[68] and deferred an order of 100 small narrow-body jets until 2012.[69]

As part of its strategy to utilize less expensive used airplanes, On May 22, 2012, Delta agreed to lease 88 Boeing 717s from Southwest Airlines that Southwest inherited from its acquisition of AirTran Airways[70] as replacements for the DC-9 aircraft and some 50-seat regional aircraft. Deliveries should begin in mid-2013 replacing some of Delta's over 250 CRJ-100 and -200 aircraft.

Delta's strategy has reaped dividends, both in financial performance and in flight performance. Delta claims a flight dispatch rate in 2013 of 99.7%; its fleet had 120 days without a single maintenance failure. That included the month of October 2013, when Delta recorded no domestic flight cancellations. Delta posted a profit of $2.7 billion, the highest of any US carrier in 2013.[71]

Delta officially retired the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 from its fleet on January 6, 2014; however, the DC-9 was used on an as-needed basis until January 22, 2014 when the last DC-9 was removed from service.[72][73] Delta was the final US carrier operating the McDonnell Douglas DC-9.[74]

On August 1, 2014, Delta announced that 4 747-400s would be retired before the end of 2014. As of November 2014, 3 of them have been retired.[75] On October 16, 2014, during the carrier's third-quarter earnings call, CEO Richard Anderson announced that the rest of the fleet would be retired by the end of 2017.[76]

Delta announced on November 20, 2014, that it had ordered 25 Airbus A350-900s and 25 Airbus A330-900neos to replace the aging Boeing 747 and Boeing 767 fleets. Delta will take delivery of the A350s beginning in the second quarter of 2017 and the A330-900neo in 2019.[77][78] Being the first airline to officially order the new variant, Delta will also be the official Launch Customer for the A330neo.[79]


Delta One[edit]

Delta One cabin on a Boeing 747-400 (then known as "BusinessElite")
The entertainment system and aisle view aboard a Boeing 777-200ER

Delta One is the airline's long-haul international business class. The class was known as "BusinessElite" until March 1, 2015.[80] Passengers in the Delta One cabin receive complimentary meals, refreshments, alcoholic beverages, and an amenity kit. Delta One is also available on domestic transcontinental service between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.

The flat-bed Delta One seats on Boeing 767-300ER and Boeing 767-400ER aircraft (made by Contour Aerospace and designed by James Thompson) feature a space-saving design, with the bottom ends of the seats extending under the armrests of the suites in front when in the horizontal position.

The flat-bed Delta One seats on the Boeing 777-200ER/LRs feature sleeper suites made by Contour Aerospace and configured in a herringbone pattern with seats angled towards the aisle.

The flat-bed seats on all Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A330s (as of October 2012) feature the Cirrus flat-bed sleeper suite made by Zodiac Seats U.S. (formerly Weber Aircraft LLC), designed by JPA Design Consultants, and configured in a reverse herringbone patterns with seats angled away from the aisles.[81][82]

Boeing 757-200 and aircraft configured with the Delta One cabin feature older recliner-style seating made by Recaro. Delta One seats on 767-300ERs have 60 inches (1,500 mm) of pitch and 18.5 inches (470 mm) of width, while seats on Boeing 757-200s have 55 inches (1,400 mm) of pitch and 20 inches (510 mm) of width. All seats are equipped with a personal, on demand In-Flight-Entertainment (IFE) system, universal power-ports, a movable reading light, and a folding work table. The Delta One seats ex-American Airlines/TWA 757-200s have electric recline, while those on ex-Northwest Airlines aircraft have mechanical recline. The ex-Northwest aircraft are planned to be converted back to a domestic configuration. On November 5, 2012, Delta announced it would introduce a flat-bed Delta One product on its ex-American Airlines/TWA 757-200s.[83] The seats will be a modified version of the Diamond flat-bed seat by BE Aerospace designed exclusively for Delta.[84]

First and Business Class (short and medium haul)[edit]

First Class is offered on all domestic aircraft, as well as Delta Connection aircraft with more than 50 seats. Seats range from 18.5 to 20.75 inches (47.0 to 52.7 cm) wide and have between 37 and 40 inches (94 and 102 cm) of pitch. Passengers aboard this class receive free snacks, drinks, and alcohol, with full meal service on flights 900 miles and longer. Certain aircraft also feature power-ports at each seat. When a domestically configured aircraft operates on an international route, such as those to the Caribbean, the first class cabin is branded as Business Class.

Delta Comfort+[edit]

Delta Comfort+ on a 757-200.

Delta Comfort+ seats are installed on all Delta aircraft, as well as all two-cabin Delta Connection aircraft and feature 34–36 inches (860–910 mm) of pitch; on all Delta One configured aircraft, 35–36 inches (890–910 mm) of pitch and 50 percent more recline over standard Main Cabin seats.[85] The seats were known as "Economy Comfort" until March 1, 2015.[80] Additional amenities include priority boarding, complimentary spirits and the option of purchasing a premium meal prior to departure on international flights, and HBO programming. On transcontinental flights between JFK-LAX/SFO/SEA, Delta Comfort+ passengers also get 1 free premium snack and a free cold meal. Customers can upgrade from standard Main Cabin seats to Delta Comfort+ seats either for a fee or using either SkyMiles or for free if either a full fare Main Cabin ticket is purchased or with elite status. Delta Comfort+ more closely aligns Delta's offerings with its Transatlantic joint venture partners as KLM also offers a Delta Comfort+ section of its Main Cabin that features similar seat pitch and recline.

Main Cabin[edit]

Main Cabin on a Boeing 767-400ER
Main Cabin on a Boeing 737–800

Main Cabin (also known as "Economy Class") is available on all aircraft with seats ranging from 17 to 18 inches (43 to 46 cm) wide and 30 to 33 inches (76 to 84 cm) of pitch. The main cabin on Boeing 737, 747-400, 777, and selected Boeing 757-200, 767-300, and McDonnell Douglas MD-90 aircraft have an articulating seat bottom where the seat bottom moves forward in addition to the seat back tilting backwards when reclining.[citation needed][86]

Main Cabin passengers receive complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks domestically. Alcoholic beverages are also available for purchase. Complimentary meals and alcoholic drinks are provided on long-haul international flights. As part of Delta's EATS buy on board program, food is available for purchase on all domestic flights 1,500 miles (2,400 km) or more (including Hawaii and Alaska flights, which no longer offer complimentary meal service).[87]

Delta operated a different buy on board program between 2003 and 2005.[88][89] The previous program had items from differing providers, depending on the origin and destination of the flight.[90][91] Prices ranged up to $10 ($12.53 when adjusted for inflation). The airline started the service on a few selected flights in July 2003, and the meal service was initially offered on 400 flights.[92] Delta ended this buy on board program in 2005; instead, Delta began offering snacks at no extra charge on flights over 90 minutes to most U.S. domestic flights and some flights to the Caribbean and Latin America. Beginning in mid-March 2005 the airline planned to stop providing pillows on flights within the 49 contiguous U.S. states, Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, and Central America. In addition, the airline increased the price of alcoholic beverages on Delta mainline flights from $4 ($4.85 when adjusted for inflation) to $5 ($6.06 when adjusted for inflation); the increase in alcohol prices did not occur on Song flights.[92]

Basic Economy[edit]

Basic Economy is a basic version of Main Cabin, offering the same services with fewer flexibility options for a lower price.[80] Examples of fewer flexibility options include no ticket changes and only having a seat assigned at check-in.[93]

On-board amenities[edit]


On August 5, 2008, Delta announced it would be installing the Aircell mobile broadband network, Gogo, which enables customers traveling with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and PDAs, to access the Internet for a fee. Gogo was initially offered on Delta's fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft but has expanded to the remaining domestic fleet, as well as Delta Connection aircraft with a first class cabin.[94][95] Delta has the largest fleet of Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft in the world.[96] The airline introduced its first in-flight Wi-Fi on international routes to Tokyo from Los Angeles and Atlanta in March 2014, and stated its intent to offer the service on all transoceanic flight routes by the end of 2015.[97] Even though Delta has announced the retirement of its 747 fleet, all Delta 747s are wifi-equipped and Delta is currently installing wifi on the A330 and 777 fleets.[98]

In-flight entertainment[edit]


Audio Video on Demand offered domestically on select Delta aircraft
Moving Map on a 757-200.

In the 1960s audio programming was introduced where passengers wore headphones consisting of hollow tubes piping in music. These were installed in some Delta aircraft. Some early wide-bodied aircraft, including the Lockheed L-1011, Boeing 767-200, and 767-300 fleet, had movies projected on to the cabin bulkhead. Also during the late 1980s and early 1990s, CRT monitors over the aisles were added to the 757 fleet, making them the first narrowbody aircraft to feature video entertainment. The MD-90 introduced Delta's first IFE system with LCD monitors in 1995, and the 777 introduced Delta's first in-seat video system in 1999, initially using the Rockwell Collins Total Entertainment System. Delta's first all-digital IFE system with AVOD (Panasonic eFX) was first introduced in 2003 on Delta's former low-cost subsidiary, Song. The Rockwell Collins IFE system on the 777s was replaced by the Panasonic eFX system in 2007, followed by the Panasonic eX2 in 2011. The Panasonic eFX and eX2 systems are trademarked by Delta as Delta on Demand.[99]

In the spring of 2010, Delta installed the Panasonic eFX AVOD system in Economy on six 767-300ERs that are used on routes that are 12 hours or longer.[100] Delta also announced it would be installing AVOD in Economy class on all Boeing 767-300ER and 747 aircraft over the next 3 years.[101]

On July 27, 2010, Delta announced that it would be the launch customer of the new eX2 AVOD system with the Eco 9i Integrated Smart Monitor, a new ultra-lightweight IFE system by Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Zodiac Seats U.S..[102] The systems have been installed on the entire 747-400 fleet as of October 2012, and are currently being installed on the 767-300ER fleet (except for the six aircraft previously retrofitted with the eFX system in 2010).[103] A different version of the Integrated Smart Monitor developed by Panasonic Avionics Corporation and BE Aerospace is currently being installed on the Airbus A330 fleet. These seats will also be installed on the Boeing 757-300 and new Boeing 737-900ER fleet, and will replace the existing seats and monitors on the international Boeing 757-200 fleet.

In 2012, Delta began replacing the overhead CRT monitors on the pre-merger Delta 757-200 fleet with new LCD monitors.[104] This was completed in late 2012.

The 767-400ER fleet initially featured LCDs over the aisles, but were replaced in 2009 by the Panasonic eFX AVOD system when the last of the 767-400ERs were converted from domestic to international use. CRT projectors were originally featured in economy class on Boeing 767–300s, with the international 767-300ERs also featuring ceiling-mounted CRT displays over the aisles, which have since replaced by LCD monitors, and are now in the process of being converted to the eFX2 AVOD system.

When Delta's ex-TWA ETOPS 757s were first delivered, they featured a system made by Sony Transcom (a former subsidiary of Sony now sold to Rockwell Collins) system that was factory installed for TWA. The system featured overhead drop-down LCD monitors similar to Delta's non-Transcon 737-800s and 757-300s. Delta replaced the Sony Transcom system with the Panasonic eFX system featuring in-seat video and AVOD at the same time as the new BusinessElite seats and slimline economy class seats were installed.[105]

Current fleet[edit]

Audio and video are available on all aircraft except for the Airbus A320, McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and MD-90, selected Boeing 757, and Delta Connection aircraft. Boeing 777-200ER, 777-200LR, and 747 aircraft, along with those 767-300 and A330 aircraft that have completed cabin modifications, feature the Panasonic eX2 system. Compared to the older eFX system, this offers greater storage capacity, as well as larger personal video screens.[106] Boeing 767-400ER aircraft, selected 757-200 aircraft, as well as the remaining internationally configured Boeing 767-300ER aircraft that have not completed cabin modifications, use the Panasonic eFX AVOD system. On these 767-300 aircraft, AVOD is available only in the Delta One class, while the system includes overhead LCD monitors and audio programming for passengers seated in the Economy cabin. The unmodified Airbus A330 aircraft feature the Panasonic 3000i AVOD system in all cabins.[107] This system includes supplemental LCD monitors over the aisles for displaying the safety video and moving map.

Domestic Boeing 767–300s, Boeing 737–700s, as well as selected transcontinental Boeing 757–200s and selected Boeing 737–800s using the Panasonic eFX system, also feature live television via Dish Network in both first class and economy. Some Boeing 737-800s, as well as all Boeing 757–300s feature systems with drop-down LCD displays below the overhead bins.[108]

All aircraft with AVOD feature Panasonic's iXplor moving map program. 737-800s with overhead video and the coach sections of 767-300ER aircraft with overhead video feature the Rockwell Collins Airshow moving map, which is often shown during takeoff and landing. Other aircraft formerly equipped with the Rockwell Collins Airshow moving map included the Lockheed L-1011-250 and -500, McDonnell Douglas MD-11, and Boeing 767-400ER and 777-200ER. The L-1011 and MD-11 fleet have since been retired, while the 767-400ER and 777-200ER have since had their Airshow systems replaced by the Panasonic iXplor system built into the eFX and eX2 AVOD systems.

Delta Sky Magazine[edit]

Delta Sky Magazine, and its online edition at, are published by MSP Communications in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Main article: SkyMiles

SkyMiles is the frequent flyer program of Delta Air Lines.

Sky Clubs[edit]

Delta Air Lines' airport lounges are called Sky Clubs.[109] Membership options include one-day, 30-day, annual, and three-year memberships and can be purchased with either money or miles. International business class passengers get free access.

Features vary by location, but generally include free drinks (including alcoholic beverages), snacks and reading material. Wi-Fi is free for members and guests and is mostly provided in the USA by AT&T. Other benefits for Sky Club members include reciprocal lounge access with other SkyTeam members and Delta's other partners.[110]

Originally, Delta's membership-based airport clubs were called Crown Room lounges, with Northwest's called WorldClubs.


On November 27, 2001, Delta Air Lines launched SkyBonus,[111][not in citation given] a program aimed toward small-to-medium businesses spending between $5,000 and $500,000 annually on air travel.[112] Businesses can earn points toward free travel and upgrades, as well as Sky Club memberships and SkyMiles Silver Medallion status. Points are earned on paid travel based on a variety of fare amount paid, booking code, and place origin or destination.[113] While enrolled businesses are able to earn points toward free travel, the travelling passenger is still eligible to earn SkyMiles during his or her travel.[113]

In early 2010, Delta Air Lines merged its SkyBonus program with Northwest's similar Biz Perks program.[113]

Environmental initiatives[edit]

In 2008, Delta Air Lines was given an award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Design for the Environment (DfE) program for their use of PreKote, a more environmentally friendly, non-hexavalent chromium surface pretreatment on its aircraft, replacing hazardous chemicals formerly used to improve paint adhesion and prevent corrosion. In addition, PreKote reduces water usage by two-thirds and reduces wastewater treatment.

PreKote is also saving money by reducing the time needed to paint each airplane. With time savings of eight to ten percent, it will save an estimated more than $1 million annually.[114]


Boeing 767-400ER painted in pink livery for Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), at Munich Airport in 2010.
The same plane as above, re-christened in the memory of BCRF founder Evelyn Lauder, at JFK Airport in early 2015, with the pink ribbons on the engine nacelles.
In September 2015, the same aircraft was repainted again in a hybrid livery, carrying BCRF titles on the nose with a pink ribbon across the fuselage. This picture is approximately 600 feet west of where the above shot was taken.

In popular culture[edit]


Main article: Deltalina

As part of the rebranding project, a safety video featuring a flight attendant showed up on YouTube in early 2008, getting over 1 million views and the attention of news outlets, specifically for the video's tone mixed with the serious safety message. The flight attendant, Katherine Lee, was dubbed "Deltalina" by a member of FlyerTalk for her resemblance to Angelina Jolie.[133][134][135][136] Delta had considered several styles for its current safety video, including animation, before opting for a video presenting a flight attendant speaking to the audience. The video was filmed on a Boeing 757.[137]

Safety videos[edit]

Delta Airlines frequently uses humor in their safety video presentations. The most notable one may be viewed here: This video contains many popular internet memes including Double Rainbow guy, Annoying Orange, Harlem Shake, Charlie bit my finger, Keyboard cat, Overdramatic chipmunk, Slo-Mo guys, Nyan Cat, and Deltalina.

Accidents and inccidents[edit]

The following are major incidents and accidents that occurred on Delta Air Lines mainline aircraft. For Northwest Airlines incidents, see Northwest Airlines accidents and incidents. For Delta Connection incidents, see Delta Connection incidents and accidents.

Delta Air Lines Reported Incidents
Flight Date Aircraft Location Description Casualties
Fatal Serious Minor Uninjured Ground
N/A[138] April 22, 1947 DC-3 Columbus, Georgia A Vultee BT-13, owned by the Tuskegee Aviation Institute, landed on top of a DC-3, which was flying from Macon to Columbus. 8 0 0 0 1
705[139] March 10, 1948 DC-4 Chicago Midway Airport Crashed near Chicago Municipal (Midway) Airport shortly after takeoff while en route to Miami. Officials determined that longitudinal control of the airplane was lost resulting in the crash. The cause for the loss of control remains undetermined. 12 1 0 0 0
318[140] May 17, 1953 DC-3 Marshall, Texas Crashed 13 miles (21 km) east of Marshall, Texas. The flight which originated from Dallas Love Field was on approach to Shreveport, Louisiana. The crash was attributed to adverse weather conditions with a thunderstorm in the area. 19 1 0 0 1
1903 May 23, 1960 Convair 880 Atlanta Crashed during a training exercise in Atlanta. The aircraft stalled and crashed killing all four crew members. 4 0 0 0 0
9877[141] March 30, 1967 DC-8 New Orleans Crashed during a training exercise near New Orleans International Airport. The improper use of flight and power controls by both instructor and the Captain-trainee during a simulated two-engine out landing approach, resulted in the loss of control. The aircraft crashed into a residential area, destroying several homes and a motel complex and killing 13 people on the ground. 6 0 0 0 13
9570[142] May 30, 1972 DC-9 Greater Southwest International Airport Crashed during landing procedures in Fort Worth, Texas. The probable cause of the accident was wake turbulence resulting from a touch-and-go landing moments before of American Airlines Flight 1114, operated using a DC-10. The right wing hit the ground causing a fire resulting in the aircraft being written off. 4 0 0 0 0
954[143] December 20, 1972 Convair 880 Chicago O'Hare Int'l Airport The Delta CV-880 taxied across runway 27L in heavy fog. At the same time, North Central Airlines Flight 575, a DC-9-31, took off from the same runway. The aircraft collided. 10 0 17 (severity unknown) 101 0
723 July 31, 1973 DC-9 Boston Logan International Airport Crashed into a seawall. Contributing to the accident was a defective flight deck instrument giving the crew misleading guidance during the instrument approach in visibility less than a half mile with 500-foot (150 m) cloud ceilings. 89 occupants died including Leopold Chouinard,[144] who died from burns months after the accident, leaving no survivors .[145] 89 0 0 0 0
516[146] November 27, 1973 DC-9 Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Crashed into approach lights during a thunderstorm 0 4 75 0 0
191 August 2, 1985 Lockheed L-1011 Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport On a Fort LauderdaleDallas/Fort Worth- Los Angeles route, the plane crashed due to severe microburst-induced wind shear. One person on the ground was killed as the plane crossed a highway. The crash would later become the subject of a television movie. Numerous changes to pilot wind shear training, weather forecasting, and wind shear detection were made as a result of this crash.[147] 134 15 12 2 1
37[148] July 8, 1987 Lockheed L-1011 North Atlantic Ocean Near collision with a Continental 747 carrying 418 passengers and crew. Both the Delta (London-Cincinnati) and Continental (London-Newark) were heading to the U.S. with nearly 600 people total on both aircraft. The Delta flight strayed 60 miles (97 km) off course to the south from its assigned "C" track during its flight and came within 30 feet (9.1 m) of colliding with the 747 as the L-1011 flew under it in Canadian airspace, flying on the "D" track (there are five westbound and five eastbound tracks from the United States to the United Kingdom). Had the planes actually collided, it could have tied the Tenerife airport disaster as the deadliest aviation accident in history. 0 0 0 All 0
1141 August 31, 1988 Boeing 727 Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Crashed after takeoff bound for Salt Lake City, Utah. The investigation stated the probable cause of this accident to be improper configuration of the flaps and leading edge slats. 14 26 50 18 0
1288[149] July 6, 1996 MD-88 Pensacola International Airport An uncontained engine failure of the port (left) engine on the aircraft resulted in a fan hub piercing the cabin. The flight was scheduled to fly to Atlanta. The aircraft involved in this accident, N927DA, was repaired; as of February 2013, the FAA reports the aircraft involved in the incident is still in service 2 2 3 135 0
1989[150][151] September 11, 2001 Boeing 767–300 En route from Logan International Airport Flight 1989, bound for Los Angeles International Airport was caught in the path of United Airlines Flight 93. The two aircraft were so close that ATC were initially confused as to which plane had been hijacked. The Delta pilot managed to avoid United 93 and the flight was later diverted to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.[152] 0 0 0 All 0
129 February 3, 2002 McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Dublin Airport Flight 129 from Atlanta skidded off the runway at Dublin Airport in high winds. The port engine of MD-11 N803DE had severe damage[153] 0 0 0 All 0
1086 March 5, 2015 McDonnell Douglas MD-88 LaGuardia Airport While landing in heavy snowfall, Flight 1086 from Atlanta departed the left side of runway while traveling approximately 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), coming to rest nearly perpendicular to the runway with its nose on an embankment beside the waters of Flushing Bay. The accident resulted in damage to the aircraft's left wing (including a fuel leak), nose landing gear well, main electronics bay, nose radome/weather radar, and undercarriage damage forward of the front doors. The aircraft's braking system and condition of the runway surface are being considered as possible causes of the incident.[154][155] 0 0 23 109 0
159 June 16, 2015 Boeing 747-400 Over Chinese airspace Flight 159 from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to Seoul, Incheon International Airport was over Chinese airspace when the aircraft flew through a severe hailstorm. This resulted in substantial damage to the aircraft's radome (hail penetrating nose causing a large hole) as well as leading edges of the wing destroyed and damage to the tail plane.[156][157] There is possibility that the aircraft might be written off due to its age and because Delta is beginning to start retirement of its Boeing 747-400 fleet[158] 0 0 0 All 0

The attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on December 25, 2009 occurred four days before the operating certificates of Northwest and Delta were combined (December 31, 2009). The aircraft involved in the incident was in Delta livery and reported in some early news reports as "Delta Flight 253."[159]


Delta Security stickers on the back of a passport.

There have been over a dozen attempted hijackings which resulted in no injuries and the surrender of the often lone hijacker. These incidents are not included. The following are notable hijackings because of fatalities or success in forcing the aircraft to fly to another country:

  • In 1968, a Delta DC-8 was hijacked to Havana, Cuba. This was the first successful hijacking to Cuba from the U.S. since 1961,[citation needed] and was the start of multiple hijacking attempts to Cuba in the late 1960s. This coincided with the introduction of passenger screening using metal detectors in U.S. airports starting in the late 1960s.
  • Additional hijackings which resulted in no injuries and the flight landing in Cuba include March 28, 1984 (Delta 357 New Orleans-Dallas 727),[160] August 18, 1983 (Delta 784 Miami-Tampa 727),[161] July 17, 1983 (Delta 722 Miami-Tampa 727),[162] June 11, 1979 (Delta 1061 New York LaGuardia-Fort Lauderdale L1011)[163]
  • July 31, 1972, a Delta Flight 841, a Detroit to Miami DC-8 flight, was hijacked to Algiers, Algeria by 8 hijackers. The aircraft stopped in Boston to pick up an international navigator. The flight was allowed to return with passengers to the U.S., stopping in Barcelona for refueling.[164][165]
  • On February 22, 1974, Samuel Byck, an unemployed tire salesman from Pennsylvania, stormed aboard Delta Air Lines Flight 523, DC-9 flight at Baltimore Friendship Airport (now Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) scheduled to fly to Atlanta and shot both pilots, killing the First Officer, Fred Jones. He intended to crash the plane into the White House.[166] After shooting the pilots, the hijacker grabbed a passenger and demanded that she fly the aircraft.[167]
  • On August 23, 1980, a Delta Air Lines L-1011 on a San Juan to Los Angeles flight was hijacked and flown to Cuba.[168] The hijacker was jailed by Cuban authorities, and all passengers were released unharmed.
  • On September 13, 1980, a Delta Air Lines New Orleans to Atlanta flight was taken over by two hijackers and forced to fly to Cuba. The flight continued to Atlanta after stopping in Havana. The hijackers were imprisoned by Cuban authorities. One hijacker was released and later sought US residency. The suspect was later arrested by US authorities in 2002[169] and sentenced to life in prison the following year without parole.

See also[edit]


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