Delta flew its last commercial B777 flight over the weekend, with the five and a half hour service between New York JFK and Los Angeles including “special announcements and onboard treats for customers and aviation enthusiasts”.
The US carrier announced plans to accelerate the retirement of its fleet of 18 B777-200ER and B777-200LR earlier this year, as part of “strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Delta took delivery of its first B777 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 B777-200LR in 2008, featuring lie-flat seats in first class.
Only two years ago Delta began retrofitting its B777s with the carrier’s newest Delta One Suites and the Delta Premium Select cabin, but the aircraft now joins the carrier’s MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft in being retired this year.
The airline said that its fleet of A350s will replace “nearly every ultra-long-haul 777 route”, although its service between Atlanta and Johannesburg has been switched to a circular Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta routing, to “allow for refuelling at sea level before beginning the 8,130-mile trip back to the US”.
In total Delta’s B777s 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.”