"The 747 is totally unlike any other aircraft, piston or jet. A triumph of American technology, the 747 will bring to our passengers a standard of comfort and convenience no longer limited by the size of an aircraft cabin."
Learn more about the exciting features of Delta's 747 in this colorful 20-page brochure from 1970.
The 747 Penthouse
Delta's offered the "world's first flying penthouse apartment" above the first class cabin and adjacent to the lounge. The penthouse seated 6 passengers and could be equipped with a table for flying conferences. The penthouse was sold as a unit and staffed by a flight attendant." Read the 747 Penthouse brochure.
Delta's first 747 (N9896, Ship 101) was delivered to Atlanta on October 2, 1970, piloted by Capt. T. P. "Pre" Ball, Delta vice president - flight operations. Four more 747s were delivered to Delta by November 1971.
In special dedication ceremonies on October 24 in Atlanta, Georgia Governor Lester G. Maddox christened Ship 101 "Georgia Belle," sprinkling gold dust over the plane's nose from Georgia's Dahlonega mines. Recalling that Dahlonega, a city in the north Georgia mountains, was the site of America's first gold rush, Maddox added, "All the gold mined in Dahlonega could never total in value the amount of goodwill this airplane can deliver."
The following day, October 25, Georgia Belle went into service with one daily roundtrip from Atlanta-Dallas-Los Angeles. Delta used its 747 fleet between the major cities of its route system including: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco.
747s were also used on the Delta/Pan Am interchange, flying from Atlanta and Washington, DC (Dulles) over Pan Am's trans-Atlantic routes to London-Heathrow and Frankfurt on April 25, 1971. According to company magazine The Delta Digest, Ship 105 "caused something of a sensation when it first appeared in London and Frankfurt, on the Delta-Pan American Interchange…the first Delta 747 ever seen in Europe."
Delta found the 747s too large for its route operations in the 1970s, and began traded them back to Boeing in September 1974. The last of the five original Delta 747s, Ship 105, flew on April 23, 1977. It was piloted by Capt. Beverly Dickerson, who also flew Delta's first 747 scheduled flight in 1970.
747s are Back!
Thirty years later, a merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008 brought the 747 back to the Delta fleet: sixteen Boeing 747-400s, two 747-200 passenger planes and twelve 747-200 freighters.
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