Delta Air Lines has flown its final Boeing 777 flights. On October 31st, the final 777 flight took off from New York’s-John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) heading for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The over five-hour marked the end of an era on October 31st, 2020.
Vincenzo Pace, one of the most impressive aviation photographers in the world, was onboard the final Boeing 777 flight.
The final Boeing 777 flight
DL8777 took off in the early afternoon from New York-JFK and landed in the late-afternoon in Los Angeles. The airline flew N701DN, a Boeing 777-200LR that is only 12 years old, on this special flight, according to data from Flightradar24.
The aircraft was not a regular on the route. However, as one of Delta’s most prestigious routes in the domestic United States, it makes sense why the airline put the aircraft on the route for its farewell from the fleet.
The aircraft flew at an altitude of 40,000 feet across the United States. This plane was lightly loaded between low capacity from the ongoing crisis and Delta’s policy of blocking middle seats.
The Boeing 777 is the latest fleet type to be retired by Delta Air Lines amid the ongoing crisis. Previous models include the McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and MD-90s, and the Boeing 737-700s. Others that are on their way out include the CRJ200s, Boeing 717s, and Boeing 767s, including some older Airbus A320s. In 2020, total retirements will cross over 200 aircraft.
Nevertheless, this was still a special flight. Plenty of pilots have flown Delta’s 777s for many years, and pilots do get an attachment to the type of aircraft they fly.
The views throughout the flight represented the geographic diversity across the United States. After takeoff, there were views of the Atlantic seaboard.
Through the flight, the views changed. And, as the Boeing 777 flew westward, passengers got a chance to see things like mountains.
Delta had just recently completed a $100 million retrofit on its Boeing 777s. The airline put its new Delta One Suite, complete with a lie-flat seat and a door, up front, replacing an outdated herringbone lie-flat seat and providing passengers more privacy.
After debuting an authentic premium economy, dubbed “Premium Select” onboard the Airbus A350s, Delta Air Lines also put it onboard its Boeing 777s.
The aircraft was a favorite of elite members. Unlike the Airbus A350s, the Boeing 777s offered an extra-legroom economy section called Comfort+.
And, lastly, there was the coach section. Unlike other airlines, Delta chose to leave the aircraft in a 3-3-3 configuration in the back, while others turned to a dense 3-4-3 configuration.
The end of Boeing 777 operations
The first Boeing 777 entered Delta’s fleet in March of 1999. Since then, it has had a long history flying transpacific, transatlantic, and even domestic missions. For a while, the aircraft was one of Delta’s flagship long-haul international aircraft. Even until the end of its days, these aircraft had a notable impact on Delta’s operations.
The 777-200LRs, the type that operated this final flight, enabled Delta to launch new nonstop flights, including between Los Angeles and Sydney, from Atlanta to Johannesburg, and New York-JFK to Mumbai, among others. Most of these routes are expected to be replaced by the Airbus A350.
While the Boeing 777s have departed Delta’s fleet, the Airbus A350s will be taking over. However, Delta has to modify some of its operations to fly these routes, including turning its nonstop Atlanta to Johannesburg flight into a triangle route that has a stop in Cape Town on the way back.
Are you sad to see the Boeing 777 depart Delta’s fleet? What do you make of Delta’s 777 retirements? Let us know in the comments!