Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSEDAL), commonly referred to as Delta, is a major American airline, with its headquarters and largest hub at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.[21] The airline, along with its subsidiaries and regional affiliates, operates over 5,400 flights daily and serves an extensive domestic and international network that includes 319 destinations in 54 countries on six continents, as of October 2016.[12] Delta is one of the four founding members of the SkyTeam airline alliance, and operates joint ventures with AeroMexico, Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, and WestJet (Once approved by both Canadian and American governments).[12] Regional service is operated under the brand name Delta Connection.

One of the five remaining legacy carriers, 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),[22] and the second-largest in terms of both revenue passenger-kilometers flown (277.6 billion)[23] and capacity (4.4 billion ASM/week; March 2013).[24]


Restored Huff-Daland Duster
Delta Douglas DC-7 circa 1955
Delta Boeing 747-100 at London in 1973.
A Delta Air Lines 737-900ER landing at New York JFK Airport.

Delta Air Lines began as a crop dusting operation called Huff Daland Dusters, Incorporated. The company was founded on May 30, 1924 in Macon, Georgia, and moved to Monroe, Louisiana, in 1925. They flew a Huff-Daland Duster, the first true crop duster, designed to combat the boll weevil infestation of cotton crops. Collett E. Woolman, one of the original directors, purchased the company on September 13, 1928, and renamed it Delta Air Service. Service began on June 17, 1929 with the inaugural flight between Dallas, Texas and Jackson, Mississippi.[25]

Delta moved its headquarters to its current location in Atlanta in 1941, and continued to grow through the addition of routes and the acquisition of other airlines. It replaced propeller planes with jets in the 1960s and entered international competition to Europe in the 1970s and across the Pacific in the 1980s.

Delta's more recent history is marked by its emergence from bankruptcy on April 25, 2007, and the subsequent merger with Northwest Airlines. The merger was announced April 14, 2008, and was set to create the world's largest airline. After approval of the merger on October 29, 2008, 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).[26] Delta completed integration with Northwest on January 31, 2010 when their reservation systems and websites were combined, and the Northwest Airlines brand was officially retired.[27]


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

Delta Air Lines as it exists today is the result of numerous mergers over its history. Predecessor carriers include:

  • Chicago and Southern Air Lines (formed in 1933, merged into Delta in 1953).[25] Delta flew under the carrier name of Delta-C&S for the following two years.[28]
  • Northeast Airlines (formed in 1931, merged into Delta in August 1972)[25][29]
  • Northwest Airlines (formed in 1926, merged into Delta in 2010. Also known as Northwest Orient Airlines from 1950-1986)
    • Republic Airlines (formed in 1979, merged into Northwest Airlines in 1986)
      • Hughes Airwest (formed in 1968 as Air West as a result of a three way merger of Bonanza Air Lines, Pacific Air Lines and West Coast Airlines, 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

Delta Express Boeing 737 in 2001
  • Comair began services in March 1977 and was headquartered at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. After successfully introducing 50-seat planes into the United States, it was acquired by Delta in October 1999. Comair became the main carrier of Delta Connection and operated over 400 daily flights from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Caribbean. Comair ceased operations on September 29, 2012, and was folded into Delta Connection operations.
  • Delta Express began service in October 1996 in an attempt by Delta to compete with low cost airlines on leisure-oriented routes. Its main base of operations was Orlando International Airport and it used Boeing 737–200 aircraft. It ceased operations in November 2003 after Song was established.[30]
  • Song began service on April 15, 2003 as a single-class airline operated by Delta to compete directly with JetBlue Airways from both airlines' hub at New York–JFK. While the brand was considered a successful addition to the Northeast-to-Florida market, financially the airline suffered.[31] On May 1, 2006, Song was folded into the Delta mainline brand. Song used Boeing 757 aircraft.


Delta Air Lines headquarters in Atlanta

Headquarters and offices

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.[32][33][34] This location has served as Delta's headquarters since 1941, when the company relocated its corporate offices from Monroe, Louisiana, to Greater Atlanta.[35][36] The crop dusting division of Delta remained headquartered in Monroe until Delta ceased crop dusting in 1966.[37] 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.[38] The City of Atlanta was only permitted to annex areas that are adjacent to areas already in the Atlanta city limits.[38]

In addition to hosting Delta's corporate headquarters, Hartsfield-Jackson is also the home of Delta TechOps, 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.[39]

Delta maintains a large presence in the Twin Cities, with over 12,000 employees[40] in the region as well as significant corporate support functions housed in the Minneapolis area, including the company's information technology divisional offices.[41]

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


Delta's logo, often called the "widget", was originally unveiled in 1959. Its triangle shape is taken from the Greek letter delta, and recalls the airline's origins in the Mississippi Delta.[42] It is also said to be reminiscent of the swept-wing design of the DC-8, Delta's first jet aircraft.[43]

Delta's current livery is called "Upward & Onward". It features a white fuselage with the company's name in blue lettering, and a widget on the vertical stabilizer. Delta introduced its current livery in 2007 as part of a re-branding after it emerged from bankruptcy. The new livery consists of four colors, while the old one (called "colors in motion") used eight. This meant the switch saved the airline money by removing one day from each aircraft's painting cycle. The airline took four years to repaint all of its aircraft into the current scheme, including aircraft inherited from Northwest Airlines.[42]


Current hubs

Delta has eight domestic hubs and four international hubs.[12] Delta carries more passengers than any other airline at Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK,[44] New York–LaGuardia,[44] and Salt Lake City.

  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport[5] – Acquired through the merger with Northwest, Detroit is Delta's second-largest hub by daily flights and third largest by seats available. It serves as the airline's primary Asian gateway for the northeastern United States.
  • Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport[4] – In addition to its corporate headquarters, Delta also operates Delta TechOps, Delta's primary maintenance base and the largest airline hub in the world in Atlanta.[45] It is also Delta's main gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean and a secondary transatlantic gateway.
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City[8] – A major international gateway, especially to Europe. Also offers service on many transcontinental "prestige routes" to west coast destinations including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • LaGuardia Airport, New York City[8] – An important domestic hub created as a result of a slot swap with US Airways. Delta service at LaGuardia covers numerous east coast US cities, and a number of regional destinations in the US and Canada.[46]
  • Los Angeles International Airport[6] – Delta inherited its LAX hub from Western Airlines, but dismantled it in the mid-1990s, opting to relocate most of those aircraft to the U.S. East Coast. Since then, it has re-opened the hub, offering service to Latin America, Asia, and Australia, as well as major domestic bases and West Coast regional destinations. As of May 2015, Delta captured a 17.22% passenger market share with 139 daily departures[47]
  • Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport[7] – Once the headquarters for Northwest Airlines, Minneapolis is Delta's third largest hub by daily flights and second by seats and routes available. Delta served 25,844,791 passengers at MSP in 2015 and accounts for more than 80% of the airport's traffic. Service includes most Delta-served airports in the United States, a number of regional destinations in the upper Midwest, most major Canadian and American metropolitan areas, as well as many destinations in Latin America, Europe and Asia.
  • Salt Lake City International Airport[9] – Delta's fifth-largest hub, inherited during the 1987 Western Airlines merger. Service from Salt Lake City covers most major US destinations as well as a number of regional destinations in the US and Canada, and select cities in Europe and Hawaii.
  • Seattle–Tacoma International Airport[10] – Delta announced Seattle's hub status in 2014. The hub serves as an important gateway to Asia. Delta started aggressively building its presence in Seattle in 2011, sparking tensions with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines.[48] Since 2017, due to airport space restrictions, Delta's growth in Seattle has stagnated. In order to fully meet the region's demand for flights, The Port of Seattle has announced the North Sea–Tac Airport Renovation project (NorthSTAR). By 2020, the North Satellite will be expanded by over 240 feet, increasing the terminal's square footage by 181,000 feet and increasing the gate count from 12 to 20.[49]

These statistics are current as of February 2017. (Ranked by daily departures).[12]

Rank Airport Daily Departures Destinations Served
1 Atlanta 1038 224
2 Detroit 455 127
3 Minneapolis/St. Paul 439 129
4 New York City–LaGuardia 274 63
5 Salt Lake City 256 90
6 New York City–JFK 223 92
7 Los Angeles 175 58
8 Seattle/Tacoma 127 36

Former hubs

  • Logan International Airport, Boston[11] – A hub for Delta in the second half of the 20th century through the early 2000s. In 2005, Terminal A, was built for Delta's sole use. However, when Delta filed for bankruptcy, they scaled back operations and leased 11 of the 22 gates in the terminal. Today, Delta maintains a focus city at the airport, with daily international flights to various cities in Central America, Canada, and major European cities. They now occupy 17 of the 22 gates and have recently opened a second Sky Club.
  • O'Hare International Airport, Chicago – Delta operated a small hub at O'Hare until the early 1990s.[50]
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport[11] – Cincinnati at one time was the second largest hub for Delta with 670 daily departures. Since the 2005 bankruptcy and the merger with Northwest, service has been drastically cut, due to its proximity to the Detroit hub as well as the shutdown of Comair.[51] Service levels have since stabilized and seat capacity has been increasing since late 2015, with Delta maintaining a focus city operation at the airport.[52]
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – Delta at one time operated over 200 flights per day from DFW, making it their third-largest hub at the time. Delta closed the hub in February 2005 due to the hub being competitive with American Airlines, which has their main hub there.[53]
  • Frankfurt Airport – Upon Pan Am's bankruptcy, Delta acquired its Frankfurt hub and the remainder of its Atlantic Division. Delta closed the hub in 1997, opting to center their European routes out of Paris and Amsterdam with partners Air France and KLM.[54]
  • Memphis International Airport – Delta inherited the Memphis hub operation in the Northwest merger. After several rounds of cuts, hub status was removed in 2013.[55]
  • Orlando International Airport – Delta built up its Orlando hub alongside Comair starting in 1987, going on to become the "Official Airline of Walt Disney World". The airport later became the hub for Delta Express and Song, before Delta pulled back mainline presence in the mid 2000s.[56]
  • 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 reduced due to the Japanese and Korean economic recession, and closed in 2001.[57]


Between its mainline operation and subsidiaries, and as of March 2015, Delta employs nearly 80,000 people.[12] 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.[58]

Employee relations

Delta's 12,000 mainline pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International and are the union's largest pilot group.[59][60] 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 USA domestic staff is entirely non-union.[59]

The non-pilot non-unionization caused issues during and after the merger with Northwest, whose employees had a much higher rate of unionization.[59] While pilots at both airlines were unionized, it was necessary to hold unionization votes for all other groups of employees. Northwest Airlines flight attendants were formerly represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).[61] A vote on unionization with the AFA at the post-merger Delta was held on November 3, 2010, unionization was narrowly rejected by flight attendants, with 9,544 votes against unionization and 9,216 in favor.[61][62] The AFA accused Delta of interference in the vote and requested the National Mediation Board (NMB) investigate and order a second vote.[59] The NMB investigation found that the election was not compromised and dismissed the claim.[63] Currently[when?] 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.[64][65][66][obsolete source]


Delta Air Lines destinations as of November 2017.
  United States
  International hubs

As of March 2015, Delta operates more than 5,400 flights per day. Delta Connection operates 2,533 daily flights.[12]

Delta is the only U.S. carrier that is flying to Accra, Copenhagen, Dakar, Düsseldorf, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nice, Prague (sesasonal), Reykjavik (seasonal), and Stuttgart. It is also the only U.S. carrier that has scheduled service to Africa, and thereby the only U.S. carrier to serve all six inhabited continents.

Alliances and codeshare agreements

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:[67][68]

Air France–KLM and Alitalia joint venture

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.[70] 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.[70]

Joint venture with Virgin Atlantic

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).[71] The two airlines' application for antitrust immunity was granted by the United States Department of Transportation on September 23, 2013.[72]

Joint Venture with Korean Air

Delta Air Lines and Korean Air have been cleared to proceed with transpacific network joint venture. The Regulatory authorities in the US and Korea have approved the joint venture, including the US Department of Transportation, and the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.[73]

They aim to increase belly cargo cooperation and offer benefits to its customers across one of the most comprehensive route networks in the trans-Pacific market. This joint venture gives Delta and Korean Air’'s shared customers seamless access to more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 in Asia.[74]


Delta Air Lines has the largest Boeing 757 fleet of any airline

As of March 2018, Delta operates a fleet of more than 850 aircraft manufactured by Airbus, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas.[12] Delta operates the largest Boeing 717, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, McDonnell Douglas MD-88, and McDonnell Douglas MD-90 fleets in the world, and the largest Airbus A330 fleet of any US airline. 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, and more have since been added.

Unlike other U.S. legacy carriers, Delta often seeks to acquire and utilize older aircraft, especially narrow-bodies, and it has created an extensive MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) organization, called TechOps, to support them. The oldest aircraft in the fleet are the McDonnell Douglas MD-88s, with an average age of over 25 years.[15] However, in early 2011, Delta began talks with Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier to discuss replacing the McDonnell Douglas DC-9s, MD-88s, and older A320 and 757-200 aircraft.[75] On August 22, 2011, Delta placed an order for 100 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft[76] and deferred an order of 100 small narrow-body jets until 2012.[77]

As part of its strategy to utilize less expensive used airplanes, Delta agreed in 2012 to lease 88 Boeing 717s acquired by Southwest Airlines during their acquisition of AirTran Airways.[78] They would be used as replacements for the DC-9 fleet and some 50-seat regional aircraft like the CRJ-100 and -200.[79] The first revenue flight was on October 25, 2013,[80] Delta officially retired its last DC-9 on January 6, 2014; it was used on an as-needed basis until January 22, 2014 when the last one was removed from service.[81][82] Delta was the final US carrier operating the DC-9.[83] As a continuation of the narrowbody fleet refresh and expansion, Delta ordered 75 Bombardier CS100 aircraft and an additional 50 options on April 28, 2016, becoming the first American carrier to order the type.[84]

The airline has not been as keen to acquire or operate aging widebody aircraft. On August 1, 2014, Delta announced they would begin to retire their aging Boeing 747-400 fleet, which Delta acquired as part of the Northwest merger.[85] During a 2014 earnings call, CEO Richard Anderson announced that they would be retired by the end of 2017.[86] On November 20, 2014, the airline announced an order for 25 Airbus A350-900 and 25 Airbus A330-900 aircraft to replace the 747 fleet as it was retired, as well as some aging 767s. A350 deliveries began in the second quarter of 2017, while the first A330-900 is scheduled for 2019.[87][88] Delta retired the 747 on January 3, 2018 with its final revenue flight from Seoul-Incheon to Detroit occurring on December 19, 2017, becoming the last major U.S. airline to fly the 747.[89][90]

On December 14, 2017, Delta ordered 100 Airbus A321neos, with 100 further options for $25.4 billion at list prices, to be delivered from 2020 to 2023; equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1100Gs and seating 197, they will replace aging Airbus A320s, Boeing 757-200s and MD-90s.[91]


Delta underwent a cabin branding upgrade in 2015.[92] The airline now offers or plans to offer 6 different cabin service options: Delta One, Delta Premium Select, First Class, Comfort+, Main Cabin, and Basic Economy. Availability and exact details vary by route and aircraft type.

Delta One

Delta One Suite on an Airbus A350-900

Delta One is the airline's premier business class product, being available on long haul international flights, as well as transcontinental service from New York-JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco.[92]

Delta One features lie-flat seating on all aircraft types, and direct aisle access from every seat on all types except the Boeing 757-200. The Boeing 767-300ER and Boeing 767-400ER seats, designed by James Thompson, feature a space-saving design whereby the seats are staggered such that when in the fully flat position, the foot of each bed extends under the armrests of the seat in front of it. Delta one cabins on the Boeing 777-200ER/LR fleet are configured in a Herringbone layout, while Airbus A330 cabins (featuring the Cirrus flat-bed sleeper suite by Zodiac Seats U.S.) are configured in a reverse herringbone pattern.[93]

All seats are also equipped with a personal, on demand In-Flight-Entertainment (IFE) system, universal power-ports, a movable reading light, and a folding work table. Passengers also receive complimentary chef-curated meals, refreshments, alcoholic beverages, a Tumi Inc. amenity kit, premium bedding, and pre-flight Sky Club access.[94]

In August 2016, Delta announced the introduction of Delta One Suites on select widebody fleets. The suites will feature a door to the aisle for enhanced privacy, as well as improved storage space, a larger IFE screen, and updated design. The suites will roll out on the Airbus A350 fleet, first delivered in July 2017, followed by installation within the Boeing 777 fleet.[95][96]

Premium Select

Delta Premium Select on an Airbus A350-900

In April 2016, CEO Ed Bastian announced that a new Premium Economy cabin will be added. Since renamed to Premium Select, this cabin will feature extra legroom, adjustable leg rests, extra seat pitch, width, and recline, and a new premium service. Delta introduced it on its new Airbus A350, first delivered in Fall 2017, and will be followed by the Boeing 777.[97]

First Class

First Class is offered on mainline domestic flights (except those featuring Delta One service), select short- and medium-haul international flights, and 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 in this class receive a wider variety of free snacks compared to Main Cabin, as well as free drinks and alcohol, and full meal service on flights 900 miles and longer. Certain aircraft also feature power-ports at each seat and free entertainment products from Delta Studio. First Class passengers are also eligible for priority boarding.[94]

Delta Comfort+

Delta Comfort+ on an Airbus A321

Delta Comfort+ seats are installed on all aircraft excluding Delta's new A350s 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.[98] Additional amenities include: Sky Priority Boarding, dedicated overhead space, complimentary beer, wine, and spirits on flight 250 miles or more, and complimentary premium snacks on flights 900 miles or more. Complimentary premium entertainment is available via Delta Studio, with free headsets available on most flights.[94] On transcontinental flights between JFK-LAX/SFO, Delta Comfort+ passengers also get Luvo snack wraps. Medallion members can upgrade from Main Cabin to Comfort+ for free, while other customers can upgrade for a fee or with SkyMiles.[99]

Main Cabin

Main Cabin on a Boeing 767–300

Main Cabin 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][100]

Main Cabin passengers receive complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks on all flights 250 miles (400 km) or longer. Alcoholic beverages are also available for purchase. Complimentary meals and alcoholic drinks are provided on long-haul international flights as well as selected transcontinental domestic flights, such as between New York–JFK and Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.[101][102] As part of Delta's Flight Fuel buy on board program, meals are available for purchase on other North American flights 900 miles (1,400 km) or longer.[101]

Delta operated a different buy on board program between 2003 and 2005.[103][104] The previous program had items from differing providers, depending on the origin and destination of the flight.[105][106] Prices ranged up to $10 ($12.96 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.[107] 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 48 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 ($5.01 when adjusted for inflation) to $5 ($6.27 when adjusted for inflation); the increase in alcohol prices did not occur on Song flights.[107]

Basic Economy

Basic Economy is a basic version of Main Cabin, offering the same services with fewer flexibility options for a lower price.[92] Examples of fewer flexibility options include no ticket changes, no paid or complimentary upgrades regardless of frequent-flier status, and only having a seat assigned at check-in.[108]

On-board amenities


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 tablets, 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.[109][110] Delta has the largest fleet of Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft in the world.[111] 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.[112] 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 777 fleet.[113]

In-flight entertainment


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.[114]

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.[115] Delta also announced it would be installing AVOD in Economy class on all Boeing 767-300ER and 747 aircraft over the next 3 years.[116]

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..[117] 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).[118] 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.[119] 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.[120]

Current fleet

Audio and video are available on all aircraft except for the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and MD-90, select Airbus A320, and Delta Connection aircraft. Boeing 777-200ER, 777-200LR, along with 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 lighter and larger personal video screens.[121] 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.[122] 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.[123]

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

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

Reward programs


SkyMiles is the frequent flyer program for Delta Air Lines. As of September 2017, one of the features of the program is that miles never expire.

Sky Clubs

Delta Air Lines' airport lounges are called Sky Clubs.[124] Membership options include single visit passes and annual memberships that can be purchased with either money or miles. International business class passengers get free access. Membership can also be granted through top level Delta status or with the purchase of some American Express credit cards.

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.[125]

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,[126][not in citation given] a program aimed toward small-to-medium businesses spending between $5,000 and $500,000 annually on air travel.[127] 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.[128] 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.[128]

In early 2010, Delta Air Lines merged its SkyBonus program with Northwest's similar Biz Perks program.[128]

Environmental initiatives

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.[129]


Boeing 767-400ER painted in pink livery for Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), at Munich Airport in 2010.

In popular culture


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.[151][152][153][154] 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.[155]

Accidents and incidents

The following are major accidents and incidents that occurred on Delta 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
4[156] August 14, 1935 Stinson Model A Gilmer, Texas En route to Shreveport Regional Airport, the left engine was ripped off of the aircraft due to a propeller blade failure. The pilot attempted to make an emergency landing in a cotton field, but lost control and crashed. 4 0 0 0 0
N/A[157] 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. 9 0 0 0 0
705[158] 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[159] 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 0
1903 May 23, 1960 Convair 880 Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport Crashed during a training exercise in Atlanta. The aircraft stalled and crashed killing all four crew members. 4 0 0 0 0
9877[160] March 30, 1967 DC-8 Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport 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[161] 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[162] December 20, 1972 Convair 880 O'Hare International 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,[163] who died from burns months after the accident, leaving no survivors.[164] 89 0 0 0 0
516[165] November 27, 1973 DC-9 Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Crashed into approach lights during a thunderstorm. 0 4 75 0 0
1080 April 12, 1977 Lockheed L-1011 Tristar Los Angeles International Airport Emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport due to a jammed stabilizer during a flight from San Diego International Airport. The cause of the incident was a lack of greasing due to a high amount of water entering the metal bearings caused by weather factors. All 41 passengers and crew on board survived. 0 0 0 All 0
191 August 2, 1985 Lockheed L-1011 Tristar 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.[166] 136 13 13 2 1
37[167] 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[168] 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[169][170] September 11, 2001 Boeing 767–300 En route from Boston 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.[171] 0 0 0 All 0
129 (2002)[172] 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.[173] 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.[174][175] 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.[176][177] This aircraft was written off due to its age and because Delta had already began retiring its Boeing 747-400 fleet.[178] Temporary repairs were made (to make it air-worthy) and the aircraft was ferried from Seoul to Pinal Airpark in Marana, Arizona. 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."[179]


There have been over a dozen attempted hijackings that 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 that resulted in no injuries and the flight landing in Cuba include March 28, 1984 (Delta 357 New Orleans-Dallas 727),[180] August 18, 1983 (Delta 784 Miami-Tampa 727),[181] July 17, 1983 (Delta 722 Miami-Tampa 727),[182] June 11, 1979 (Delta 1061 New York LaGuardia-Fort Lauderdale L1011)[183]
  • July 31, 1972, 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.[184][185]
  • On February 22, 1974, Samuel Byck, an unemployed tire salesman from Pennsylvania, shot and killed an Aviation Police Officer, then stormed aboard Delta Air Lines Flight 523, a 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.[186] After shooting the pilots, the hijacker grabbed a passenger and demanded that she fly the aircraft.[187] The hijacking attempt ended when, after a standoff with police, Byck was shot twice through an aircraft porthole by a Maryland policeman, severely wounding him. Before police stormed the plane, Byck killed himself. The plane never left the gate during this incident.
  • On August 23, 1980, a Delta Air Lines L-1011 on a San Juan to Los Angeles flight was hijacked and flown to Cuba.[188] 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[189] and sentenced to 10 years in prison the following year.[190]

See also


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