Through the Decades

Explore Delta's history and achievements and discover how the airline went from dusting crops to serving over 320 destinations on six continents.

Choose a decade:

2000s - Delta launches SkyTeam, acquires Northwest Airlines


2000 Launches SkyTeam, a global alliance, partnering Delta with Aeroméxico, Air France and Korean Air. Introduces new aircraft livery and a contemporary "widget" logo. Launches delta.com Web site, replacing “SkyLinks.” Places the industry's largest order of regional jets (500). BusinessElite service expands to U.S. domestic flights.

2001 U.S. airspace closed for two days after terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th. Delta posts first financial loss in six years. Installs self-service airport kiosks allowing customers to check-in and print boarding passes. Carries Olympic Flame from Athens, Greece, to Atlanta for 2002 Olympic Torch Relay to Salt Lake City.

2002 Delta sponsors 2002 Olympic Winter Games at its Salt Lake City hub. Technology advances bring convenience to customers through kiosks at check-in, expanded gate information systems and virtual check-in on delta.com. Delta, Air France, Alitalia and CSA Czech Airlines granted antitrust immunity for transatlantic scheduling and pricing. 

2003 Delta leads the industry with new model for passenger check-in: lobby redesign, expanded kiosk use, Delta Direct phone banks, lobby assist agents, and new signs and processes to improve traffic flow. First U.S. airline with prerecorded audio flight information at the gate. Introduces food for purchase on selected flights. Implements the largest domestic codeshare alliance with Continental and Northwest. Launches Song, a unique low-cost airline. Delta’s Technical Operations in Atlanta is first in the airline industry to achieve OSHA Star status for exemplary record of occupational employee safety and health.

2004 Gerald Grinstein becomes Delta's seventh CEO. Delta celebrates 75 years of passenger service; returns to traditional "widget" logo. First airline to offer mileage gift cards. Launches new automated load instruction system for baggage, cargo and mail. Installs touch-screen computers with real-time flight and gate information on baggage transfer tugs. Begins staggered zone system for aircraft boarding. Northwest and Continental join Delta as full members of SkyTeam alliance.

2005 "Operation Clockwork" is the largest single-day schedule redesign in aviation history. Changes at Atlanta and Dallas/Ft. Worth restructure more than 51 percent of Delta’s network for better on-time departures and reduced airport congestion. On September 14, Delta files for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In late November, Delta starts one of the largest one-month expansions in its history with service on seven new Latin American and Caribbean routes.

2006 Service to more destinations than any global airline with 124 new nonstop routes and 41 destinations. Delta is National Safety Council's 2006 Occupational Industry Leader—the first airline recognized. Business Traveler readers name Delta "Best Frequent Flyer Program," "Best Airline Web Site" and "Best Airport Lounge." Delta announces plan to transform New York-JFK into a major international hub. First major airline with in-seat, on-demand movies, games and live TV on a large portion of its domestic fleet, beginning with flights between JFK and the West Coast. First Delta service to southern Africa begins with flights to Johannesburg via Dakar, Senegal. The Spirit of Delta—a Boeing 767 purchased by employees in 1982—is retired and comes home to the Delta Flight Museum.

2007 Richard H. Anderson becomes Delta's eighth CEO. Delta defeats hostile takeover attempt by US Airways and completes restructuring plan one year ahead of schedule, emerging from bankruptcy on April 30 and relisting on the New York Stock Exchange on May 3. Adopts new three-dimensional red widget logo and aircraft paint scheme. Leads all network carriers in on-time performance for the year. First U.S. airline to offer customers the opportunity to help offset carbon emissions associated with air travel. First airline with comprehensive onboard recycling program for aluminum cans, newspapers, snack containers and water bottles. Delta announces transatlantic joint venture with Air France. Completion of Open Skies agreement between U.S. and European Union allows Delta to fly to London-Heathrow. Delta Connection introduces two-class regional jets.

2008 Northwest Airlines merges with Delta, creating global airline with major passenger and cargo operations in every region of the world. Delta grants approximately 15 percent of new company’s stock to employees. Flies Airbus A319, A320 and A330; Boeing 747 and Douglas DC-9 jets rejoin fleet. New long-range Boeing 777's offer Flat Bed seats. First U.S. airline to announce In-flight Wi-Fi for its domestic mainline fleet; Wi-Fi goes live on Delta Shuttle flights on December 16. Expands codeshare agreement with Alaska Airlines.

2009 Delta expands transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM. Becomes only U.S. airline (since Pan Am) to serve six continents with introduction of nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia. Completes integration of Northwest WorldPerks frequent flyer program into SkyMiles, creating world’s largest loyalty program with more than 74 million members.

SkyTeam aircraft tails 2000
2003 Delta kiosk
2002 Olympic Games SLC poster
Boeing 767-300 seatback in-flight entertainment 2007
Delta wi-fi, laptop 2009
Delta and Northwest aircraft tails 2009
Australia ad 2009