The oldest airline still operating in the United States, Delta conducts more than 5,400 flights a day to 319 destinations on six continents. Headquartered at the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, (where it’s responsible for about three quarters of their 100 million passengers), Delta pioneered the hub and spoke system that’s now a common organization for many airlines. With additional domestic hubs in Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Boston, Seattle, and New York City, Delta also maintains three international hubs in Paris, Amsterdam, and Tokyo. Delta is one of the five remaining legacy carriers (or airlines that survived following the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act) in the United States, along with American, United, Alaska, and Hawaiian Airlines.
Originally Huff Daland Dusters—a crop duster service based in Macon, Georgia—the company that would become Delta Airlines was founded in 1924. The company was well known for combating boll weevil infestations in cotton crops. An early director, Collett E. Woolman, bought the company in 1928, moved it to Monroe, Louisiana, and renamed it Delta Air Services, after its new home in the Mississippi Delta Region. Delta first began carrying passengers in 1929.
Delta is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance, the last of the major three airline alliances to organize but now the seconded largest (after Star Alliance and before Oneworld). Formed in 2000 with Delta’s fellow founding airlines Aeroméxico and Air France, SkyTeam today includes Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air Europa, Alitalia, China Airlines, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines, among others.
Delta’s regional service is called Delta Connection, though increasingly, regional flights are handled by small independent airlines contracted by larger companies. Delta’s frequent-flyer program is SkyMiles, which recently opened access to the airline’s private jet service.