Remember Delta’s final domestic 747 flight from LAX to Detroit a few weeks back? You know, the same beautiful bird that was looking forward to retirement, but was put back into duty to help evacuate Florida as Hurricane Irma approached? Yes, that one.
Well before that plane arrived in Los Angeles, it received the royal treatment in Hawaii, and Delta made a fun video about the affair. What many of you may not know is that Delta has been running a 747 between Honolulu and Japan for many years. There’s a lot of love for the old bird in Hawaii as you’ll see in the video above where Delta employees made her a giant lei for big send off. There were gate and Sly Club lounge parties including food, drink and dancing. Also, a group of Delta Diamond Medallion flyers bought out the entire business class section (including the upper deck or “bubble”) for the trip.
Here’s what Delta’s News hub wrote about the flight:
Employees in Honolulu paid tribute to the aircraft, which regularly operated the Honolulu-Narita route, with traditional Hawaiian customs by fashioning a maile lei big enough to fit over the top of the aircraft as a sign of respect. The team also held a gate celebration, and several employees held back tears as the group sang Aloha Oe and watched the aircraft depart Honolulu for the last time.
The Los Angeles team also had a chance to say their goodbyes to the “Queen of the Skies.” Employees lined the ramp at LAX and waved orange wands as it made its late-night departure to Detroit. Employees in Detroit met the aircraft when it landed, though the 747 will continue flying through Detroit for a few more months.
A group of 50 Delta Diamond Medallion customers joined in on the festivities as well. When one member of a Diamond Medallion Facebook group saw that the 747 would be flying two domestic legs, he notified other members of the group, who jumped at the chance to take one last flight on the aircraft. The group booked nearly the entire Delta One cabin and some of the Main Cabin as well, and they flew in from all over the country to catch one last ride on the 747.
Additionally, employees in Los Angeles hosted a reception for the group in the Delta Sky Club, and each member of the group received model 747 aircraft as a parting gift. All customers on the flight received commemorative ear buds in celebration of the final scheduled domestic flight.
Delta expects the remaining 747s in its fleet to be retired by the end of 2017. The retiring aircraft will be replaced by the Airbus A350, which will be Delta’s flagship international aircraft and the first to feature the airline’s all-new Delta One Suite, the world’s first business class cabin to feature a sliding door, as well as Delta Premium Select, a new premium economy experience. Delta will take delivery of five A350s in 2017 with more coming in 2018.