From the Hangars

Celebrating 80 Years to Seattle!

Dec 06, 2013

This week Delta dedicated a new Boeing 737-900ER, as "The Spirit of Seattle," thanking customers, employees and partners for 80 years of service in the city.

Delta began service in Seattle from Boeing Field on Dec. 3, 1933, through Northwest Airways, which eventually became Northwest AirlinesThe inaugural flight flew from Spokane to Seattle and back to Spokane on a Waco JTO biplane carrying no passengers. Initial passenger service was a Tacoma-Seattle-Wenatchee-Spokane route using 7-passenger, 120-mph Hamilton Metalplanes. See schedule.

With Amelia Earhart (shown below), Northwest pioneered the "Northern Transcontinental Route”—the first direct service from the upper Midwest to the Pacific Northwest in 1934. 


Image Info Details

Image Info Details

Transpacific service from Seattle took off with a Northwest Douglas DC-4 in 1947 from Boeing Field. The three weekly flights to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Manila, traveled the Great Circle route (heading northwest from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska, rather than west) across the North Pacific Ocean. 

Northwest, with Western Airlines, launched the first scheduled flights from Seattle-Tacoma Airport, known as "Sea-Tac," in 1947. This postcard shows a Northwest Lockheed Super Constellation at Sea-Tac in the 1950s.


Delta's early Seattle heritage also includes Western Airlines, which started service between Seattle and Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, California, on August 1, 1947. This travel poster features Seattle's Space Needle in about 1965.

Several airlines in Western and Northwest's family trees served Seattle.

A Western subsidiary, West Coast Air Transport, briefly operated 12-passenger Fokker Trimotor flights between San Francisco and Seattle from 1929 to 1930. 

Pacific Northern Airlines, the oldest carrier in Alaska, served Seattle from 1953 until merging with Western in 1967. Here, a PNA "Connie" flies over the coast of Seattle in 1955.

Later part of Northwest's family, West Coast Airlines, headquartered in Seattle, launched operations with a route between Boeing Field and Portland, Oregon, in 1946. West Coast continued to serve Boeing Field when it became Air West in 1968. After Howard Hughes purchased the airline and renamed it Hughes Airwest in 1970, service moved from Boeing Field to Sea-Tac.

We enjoyed sharing these great early Seattle airline images and history with you! 

Marie Force

Archives Manager


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  1. Jim Thompson | Sep 10, 2014
    Recently I visited the Boeing field International offices to find what photo and documentation was available regarding past airlines the operated out of Boeing Field.  My father operated Westair Transport out of Boeing field from 1950-1960 and Sky Van Airways from 1960-1964. Apparently there is absolutely not record of either airline or photos of their hangars and aircraft.  There is also no record of West Coast Airlines, Pacific Northern Airlines, or Transocean.  I saw these airlines constantly as I grew up and visited Boeing Field.  There is no record of the old Sky Room Restaurant either. It would be of great value to the aviation history of Seattle, if anyone who possessed photos or information about these and other airlines, could offer them to Boeing Field International offices in order to permanently archive this rich history.  As of now, there is absolutely nothing to share.  Sad but true.
  2. sam | Dec 07, 2013

    january 6 2014 marks the last flight of a delta DC-9 since 1965...a record breaker for sure, is there any way one of the next 717's to be painted (from the 88 coming)...could be painted in the original DC-9 delta cheatline paint scheme????

  3. Alexis Mark | Dec 06, 2013

    Love this historical journey! Thank you, Delta!

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