With all the recent buzz over our 747-400s in Delta colors, did you know Delta first flew 747s in 1970-1977? You may not, because we only operated five 747-100s. They were a little too big–seating 370 people–for our route capacity when we flew international mainly to the Caribbean and Canada. If you had a chance to work or travel in them though, you probably have some great stories about the experience.
The scene at the Atlanta airport only minutes after Delta’s first 747 arrived on October 2, 1970.
Delta turned the upper-deck area above the first class cabin into the “world’s first flying penthouse.” It could be sold as a unit to a group traveling together.
My father-in-law, a former bank executive from Augusta, Georgia, reserved the penthouse with his wife and two other couples, flying Atlanta to Miami for a banking conference in the early 1970s. He remembers, “It was great fun, we were treated like royalty. To get the penthouse you had to have a certain number of first class tickets–an odd number. The six of us bought the extra ticket to qualify for the penthouse and we laughed about our “phantom passenger” sitting there with us. On our return flight to Atlanta, the stewardess wrapped up all the extra food prepared for the penthouse and gave it to us.”
What do you remember about Delta’s original 747s?