To celebrate 80 years of service on June 17th, I like to share with you stories from the people who launched Delta and from their families about those early days.
First is Barbara Woolman Preston, daughter of C. E. Woolman, Delta’ s principal founder and first CEO, describing her father bringing stranded passengers home with him in Monroe, Louisiana. She is shown below (front left) with her sister Martha and mother Helen Woolman (back right) beside a Travel Air plane in 1929 or 1930.
She recalled: “All of a sudden he [C. E. Woolman] would call Mother and have four people he was bringing home for lunch because they’d had a mechanical [delay with the aircraft] and they were on the flight, so he just brought them home for lunch.
And Mother would say, ‘Barbara, run out in the yard and pull us some corn.’ And I’d go pull about 36 ears of corn and bring them in, and she’d drop them in the water, and lunch was corn and bread and butter and coffee. And that was what we had to offer, and that’s what the airline passengers got when they were delayed.
And sometimes I’d wake up on a cot in the hall, and there would be a passenger that had gotten put off overnight that Daddy had brought home and put in my bed.”