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  • Collections Spotlight: Christmas in the Caribbean

    Dec 20, 2019



    Airports are packed, planes need deicing, and there's more than a nip to the air. That can only mean one thing...it's the holidays! For many that means visions of sugar plums and snowfall but here at the Delta Flight Museum we aren't dreaming of a white Christmas. No. We're dreaming of sandy beaches and sunshine! Let us transport you to someplace warm by sharing some items in our collection surrounding Delta's history in the Caribbean.


    Delta C&S 1955 Route Map showing all destinations including three flights weekly to the Caribbean.

    In 1953 Delta merged with Chicago and Southern Air Lines and gained its first international routes to the Caribbean. The merger opened the door for Delta in the Caribbean and they began advertising service to many tropical destinations, Cuba included.

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    Above are two promotional items for C&S's service to Havana, Cuba. On the Left is a hand fan and on the right is a Jai Alai basket, both ca. 1946. 

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    A Delta and Pan American Airways brochure ca. 1955 promoting their route to Havana for the holiday. Promotional drink coaster for Delta-C&S and Sloppy Joe's Bar in Havana, Cuba, ca. 1953.

    In 1961 Delta flew its first nonstop service from Atlanta to Los Angeles, linking two sunny spots, California and the Caribbean, by jet. From then on, Delta would continue to advertise and service many Caribbean destinations for every traveler needing a respite from the cold. Cue the Beach Boys classic, Kokomo.



    Delta DC-7, N4889C on the ramp in Aruba, ca. 1961 

    Jamaica, oh I want to take ya...

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    Two 1960s Delta travel poster ads for Jamaica

    Montego Bay and Jamaica's capital city, Kingston, were both serviced by Delta in the 1960s.


    Delta-C&S Lockheed Constellation Ship 523 on the ramp in Montego Bay, ca. 1954

    to Bermuda...

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    Two 1970s Delta travel poster ads for Bermuda.

    Delta became a major player in New York and Boston by merging with Northeast Airlines in 1972. The merger supplied more direct routes from the east coast to island destinations, including Bermuda. 


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    Black vinyl passport folder with gold printed Delta Flying D logo, ca. 1956 with sticker ca. 1970. Delta Signature Series travel poster ad for The Bahamas, 1986. 

    A merger with Western Airlines in 1987 and the purchase of Pan Am's transatlantic routes in 1991 helped solidify Delta as a global carrier with new routes to Mexico, Canada, and Europe, but it all started with the beaches of the Caribbean. 

    So, whether reindeer spotting, rockin' around the tree, or sun bathing with your straw in something tropical this season, have a holly jolly holiday from all of us here at the Delta Flight Museum! And don't forget to check out more of our Caribbean online collections here!


    Austin Coleman