exhibits

History

Delta's First Passenger Flight

June 17, 1929

Equipment

Travel Air S-6000-B, a single-engine plane with enclosed cabin. Carried one pilot and up to five passengers.

Route

Departed Dallas, Texas, at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 17, 1929. Made scheduled stops at Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana, before landing at Jackson, Mississippi. The 427-mile flight took 5 hours.

Pilot

J. D. "Johnny" Howe, a tall, lanky Arkansas airman with six years flying experience. He previously worked as an agent for the Travel Air Company. Considered an excellent stunt flier, Howe was one of the first pilots in the nation to receive a commercial pilot's license.

Passenger

J.S. Fox, Delta Air Service Operations Manager. (Passengers limited to allow space for a delegation of Jackson city officials on return flight to Dallas the next day).

Fare

Fares from Dallas to Jackson were $47.25 one-way, $90.00 round trip.

Delta's First Westbound Flight

Equipment

Travel Air S-6000-B

Route

Departed Jackson, Mississippi at 10:20 am on June 17, 1929. The plane made scheduled stops at Monroe and Shreveport, Louisiana, on its way to Dallas.

Pilot

Elmer P. Rose, an Army Air Corps pilot who worked for Delta during the summer of 1929, to earn some extra money while on leave from the Army. Hired by Delta to fly its crop-dusting aircraft, he was asked by C.E. Woolman, Delta's vice president and general manager, to pilot the first westbound trip.

Passengers

2 passengers, names unknown.

Delta's First Woman Passenger

The second day of Delta's passenger service, June 18, 1929, Delta's first woman passenger was on the flight out of Dallas. Her name was Billie Rose, wife of pilot Elmer Rose, and she flew non-revenue status.

On to Atlanta

After less than three months, Delta extended its original route east from Jackson to Meridian, Mississippi, and Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama, on September 1, 1929. Service next went west from Dallas to Ft. Worth, Texas (Meacham Field) on May 1, 1930.

Delta entered Atlanta on June 12, 1930. After a few days of trial runs, regular service began on June 18. For details and fares, see this Atlanta Journal newspaper item.

Early Marketing

Most of Delta's first customers were businessmen traveling for work; pleasure and vacation air travel wasn't common. Delta published a brochure full of encouragement for the nervous first-time flier with details about services and a flight schedule. 

See Fly for Business Brochure.

In the late 1930s, “Delta had no marketing department," retiree Wallace Harmon recalled. "In large cities we had a city traffic manager. . . who would go to the hotels and check the brochure racks to be sure that our timetables were here, and that was pretty well the extent of the marketing effort. Except that they would also make calls on the hotel porter because the porter was the guy that the hotel guests would call to get reservations on airlines. Now this is a holdover from the railroads. A few of the things that we did to begin with were holdovers from the railroad.”

Travel_Air_s-6000-b_drawing
1929 Ticket Stub