Delta unveils special “Spirit of Seattle” livery on a Boeing 737 in Seattle – Photo: Delta
There has been a lot of talk over the last few months about Delta Air Lines. They have been doing many good and smart changes, a few not so good things, and some crazy things that makes me wonder what the heck is going on. I wanted to take a look at the last few month (and maybe a bit beyond) to try and figure out what Delta has been up to.
If you wind the clock back a few months, what Delta was up to seemed to make a bit more sense than they do now. Expanding their west coast presence was a good thing. Turning the Los Angeles to San Francisco route into the equivalent of the Delta Shuttle on the west coast was smart. Adding more services to Seattle to turn it in to a new focus city is good as well, but also a little crazy. Why crazy? Well, Delta is partners with Alaska Airlines and it seems the two of them have decided to publicly show their competitive side, while still trying to be “friendly” towards frequent fliers.
Continue reading What is Delta Air Lines Up To? The Good, Bad & Ugly
Delta flight 2014, the final scheduled DC-9 (reg N773NC) flight, pushed back from the gate at MSP – Photo: Chris Spradlin
It was a cold day in Minneapolis, the coldest in decades. Despite the bitter temperatures, spirits were high at Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport (MSP) as Delta Air Lines was preparing to operate their final scheduled McDonnell Douglas DC-9 flight. As the aircraft touched down after the first flight of a two-leg ceremonial routing, the sendoff began and the DC-9 would soon be history.
A small gathering of Delta pilots, flight attendants, and tech ops were on hand to say goodbye to an old friend. A banner commemorating the DC-9 was hung on the wall for all to sign as passengers and employees indulged in the decorative DC-9 cakes. Before boarding, a ground operations employee shared some final thoughts about the DC-9, slipping up and saying “on behalf of Northwest Airlines,” which really sums up the history of the DC-9 at Delta.
Born 48 years ago, the DC-9 has outlived many other fleet types since its introduction with Delta in 1965. The DC-9 was once before retired from the Delta fleet in 1993, but was introduced again in 2008 after the merger with Northwest Airlines. Northwest also inherited their DC-9s via a merger, this time with Republic Airlines in 1986. The airframe which operated the final flight, N773NC, started its life with North Central Airlines in 1978.
Continue reading Saying Goodbye To The DC-9 on its Final Scheduled Flight With Delta
Delta unveils special “Spirit of Seattle” livery on a Boeing 737 (N809DN) in Seattle – Photo: Delta Air Lines
In October, we gave our $.02 on the Delta expansion in Seattle, home base of “partner” Alaska Airlines. Delta had announced new service on a number of routes that Alaska was already serving. In theory, this was to feed Delta’s growing international gateway from Seattle. We opined that it was possible Delta and Alaska were going to start playing hardball. A couple of days later, news broke that Delta pulled the plug on providing ground services at some Alaska remote stations. Things haven’t gotten much better in the meantime.
This past week, Delta announced a further expansion in Seattle, launching flights to Vancouver (5x daily) and seasonal service to Fairbanks, Alaska (you can guess who also flies there). Delta and Alaska are now competing on ten routes out of Seattle.
The Spirit of Seattle seen from the air – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com
Last week, Delta unveiled their newest special aircraft, a Boeing 737-900ER named the Spirit of Seattle. This is a big deal, because it is rare for Delta to do any sort of special livery. But it seems that Seattle is special enough.
“For 80 years, our customers, employees and partners in Seattle have embraced Delta, and our growth here would not be possible without them,” said Mike Medeiros, Delta’s vice president – Seattle. “The Spirit of Seattle aircraft will proudly bear its name as it travels around the country as a representation of Delta’s history in Seattle and a sign of our thanks and commitment to our future here.” Delta also points out that they’ve spent $14 million enhancing their passenger facilities in Seattle.
Would Alaska respond? Oh yes…
Continue reading Delta Unveils a Special “Spirit of Seattle” Livery – Alaska Responds
Say hello a freshly-painted Delta Boeing 717! Photos: Delta Air Lines
Two months ago a number of folks broke news that the much-anticipated Delta Air Lines Boeing 717-200 had finally started showing up in reservation systems. For aviation enthusiasts, it’s an exciting time when an airline brings on a new aircraft type, especially one like the 717. The 717 holds a special place in many hearts for a number of reasons, chiefly because it’s an ultra-modern descendant of the Douglas DC-9s and MD-80s which have a cult following with pilots and AvGeeks alike.
In 2011, Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran, a 717 launch partner who also happened to fly the largest fleet of 717s in the world. Aviation enthusiasts questioned whether Southwest would go against their all-Boeing 737 business model that had served them so well over the decades. Much to the surprise of many aviation industry analysts and insiders, Southwest announced they would indeed incorporate the 717 into their fleet. However, those plans never came to fruition. In 2012, Southwest and Delta announced a sweetheart deal which would allow Delta to take possession of the former AirTran birds, allowing them to retire a number of older DC/MD variants and giving Southwest the ability to maintain fleet uniformity.
After digging around on Delta.com, I confirmed the first scheduled 717 flight was supposed to be 2343 on 9/19 from ATL to EWR. I had already booked a mini-vacation to the NYC area for that weekend, so the timing simply could not have been better. I almost canceled my outbound leg and booked this flight instead…almost. Understanding that new equipment is often subject to last minute changes, I decided a call to Delta was in order.
Continue reading Photos: Delta Begins Receiving Boeing 717s
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter.com
The relationship between Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines has just become a bit more intense. Alaska has confirmed that they are looking for different vendors to help with airport operations at 13 stations, services that Delta currently provides. This appears to be something that Alaska was already planning, but Delta has sped up the timeline.
“We have been considering a change in vendors who provide passenger service, ground handling, cargo, and deicing at various locations for some time now,” an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told AirlineReporter.com. “This is something we routinely do to ensure our costs and services for our customers are being optimized. Delta notified us last Friday that it has elected to discontinue these service agreements with Alaska Airlines effective March 31,2014. This change will affect 13 stations, 6 cargo offices, and various deice locations, and simply speeds up the transition we’d been planning.”
This comes after Delta had announced additional service to Seattle, where Alaska Airlines is based.
This story will be updated with additional information.