Delta Air Lines has flown the last commercial flight for its Boeing 777 fleet. The flight last weekend, a five and a half hour service between New York JFK and Los Angeles, included “special announcements and onboard treats for customers and aviation enthusiasts.”
Earlier this year, the carrier had announced plans to accelerate the retirement of its fleet of 18 777-200ER and 777-200LR aircraft, as part of “strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The iconic twin-aisle aircraft now joins the carrier’s MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft in retirement this year.
The 777 joined the Delta fleet in 1999, with the inaugural service taking place between Atlanta and London. The carrier was also the first US airline to take delivery of the long-haul 777-200LR in 2008, featuring lie-flat seats in first class.
Delta had begun retrofitting its 777s with the carrier’s newest Delta One Suites and the Delta Premium Select cabin just two years ago, but the airline said that its fleet of A350s will replace “nearly every ultra-long-haul 777 route.” The exception is its service between Atlanta and Johannesburg which is now a circular Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta routing, to “allow for refueling at sea level before beginning the 8,130-mile trip back to the US.”
In total Delta’s 777s completed 133,694 flights, covering 1.26 million flight hours.
Commenting on the news CEO Ed Bastian said:
“Retiring a fleet as iconic as the 777 is not an easy decision – I know it has a direct impact on many of you who fly, crew and service these jets.
“The 777 played an important role with Delta since 1999, allowing us to open new long-haul markets and grow our international network as we transformed into a global airline. I’ve flown on that plane often and I love the customer experience it has delivered over the years.”