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Delta Air Lines Celebrates 45 Years of Service to London

This week, Delta Air Lines marked 45 years of service between the U.S. and the UK. Delta’s inaugural flight between Atlanta and London Gatwick took place on April 30, 1978.

Delta Air Lines' Inaugural Flight to the UK Arrives at London Gatwick on April 30, 1978 - Courtesy Delta Air Lines

On Wednesday (May 3, 2023), Delta Air Lines marked the 45th anniversary of their service between the U.S. and the UK, with their first flight from Atlanta (ATL) touching down at London Gatwick (LGW) on April 30, 1978. Since that time, Delta’s U.K presence has grown substantially. In addition to recently launched service between London Heathrow (LHR) and Los Angeles (LAX), in partnership with Virgin Atlantic, Delta offers 40 peak-day flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Manchester to their major U.S. hubs.

The flight attendants on Delta's inaugural flight to London Gatwick Airport from Atlanta on April 30, 1978 – Courtesy Delta Air Lines

Onboard the inaugural 1978 flight between Atlanta and London Gatwick, and still a Delta Flight Attendant today, Kay Carpenter, said,

“This was our inaugural trans-Atlantic flight; we were all excited as Delta took its first leap across the Atlantic. And to add to the excitement, we were showing our first ever in-flight movie. It was "Oh, God!" with George Burns and John Denver. Today, customers have a huge range of film, TV and audio they can watch at their seat, as well as Wi-Fi access on all flights.

Delta Flight Attendant Kay Carpenter – Courtesy Delta Air Lines

“In fact, so much has changed since that first flight. We offer our customers a much-enhanced service with a wider selection of meals, and seating options, personalized in-flight entertainment and just a more comfortable experience overall. With London being our first trans-oceanic flight, it helped us learn what our international customers wanted as we worked to make Delta the airline of choice.

“London was more than just a first in that respect. It paved the way for us as a major international airline.”

A Delta Air Lines travel poster from 1978 advertising the company's new route to London – Courtesy Delta Air Lines

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is the global U.S. airline leader in safety, innovation, reliability and customer experience. The carrier operates over 4,000 daily flights across more than 275 destinations on six continents. Delta has over 90,000 team members and has served as many as 200 million customers annually. Headquartered in Atlanta, the airline operates significant hubs and key markets in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK and LaGuardia, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Seoul-Incheon and Tokyo. For the last decade, Delta has led the industry in operational excellence, while maintaining their reputation for award-winning customer service.

Source: Delta Air Lines


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