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:

1960s - Delta enters the computer and jet age


1960 First airline to launch Convair 880 jet service. Opens Jet Base in Atlanta, today's Technical Operations Center (TOC), for aircraft maintenance and overhaul that has the largest doors (open area) of any similar structure in the United States.

1961 Flies first nonstop service from Atlanta to Los Angeles. Delta links California and the Caribbean with first jet service from California to Montego Bay and Caracas. Receives National Safety Award for flying more than 11 billion passenger miles without a fatality.

1962 Delta activates the electronic SABRE system for "instant" reservations. Modifies cabin configurations to offer both First Class and Economy Class on all four-engine aircraft. A Delta DC-8 is the first commercial plane to fly Los Angeles-Atlanta in less than 3 hours (02:57:11). 

1964 The Deltamatic reservation system starts with IBM 7074 computers.

1965 Delta is first airline to launch Douglas DC-9 service.

1966 Delta founder C.E. Woolman dies. Charles H. Dolson becomes Delta's second CEO. Patricia Murphy is Delta’s first African American flight attendant. Crop-dusting division ceases operations. Delta is first with Lockheed L-100 Hercules all-cargo planes.

1968 Sam Graddy is Delta’s first African American pilot. A reconditioned 1925 Huff Daland Duster is donated to the Smithsonian Institution as a memorial to founder C.E. Woolman. Delta adopts standard paint scheme for its aircraft fleet—the classic "widget" branded livery

1969 Enclosed baggage carts with shelves and side curtains to protect luggage now in use.

Fly Delta Jets neon sign 1968
Convair 880 lounge 1960
Deltamatic  brochure cover 1965