Today, I learned that the giant “Fly Delta Jets” sign that tops the Delta Tech Ops hangar at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has more of a story than I knew. But more on that in a minute.

Delta and StoryCorps have begun a partnership to preserve stories and culture from Delta’s storied history. The first phase of the partnership launched in April, when StoryCorps visited aDelta’s offices in Atlanta to record personal accounts of Delta people reflecting on the airline’s culture, mission and values. Delta expects the partnership to expand to include stories from Delta customers. The airline also plans to share a larger collection of stories inflight via Delta Studio.

The first interview is a chat between Ed Bastian, Delta’s new CEO, and Glen Hauenstein, President of Delta. According to Delta, “their conversation reflects the paths that led them to Delta, what it took to ‘breathe new life’ into the airline during its darkest hour, and the transformative career moments that have helped shape the airline Delta is today.” Which takes us back to the sign.

fly delta jets

The iconic “Fly Delta Jets” sign – image ©2016 by Marshall Jackson

Of course, that picture was taken during taxi on some random Delta flight, but it’s a sight I always look forward to seeing when taking off or landing in Atlanta. It’s also way more cool when seen at night. 🙂 While I have flown Delta a few times over the years, I did not begin flying Delta regularly until roughly 2008. It seems that when Delta was in bankruptcy, the the awesome “Fly Delta Jets” sign went dark to save money. A fact that I did not know. When Delta emerged from bankruptcy in 2007, the sign was re-lit in a ceremony to celebrate Delta’s emergence from the dark days of Chapter 11.

According to Mr. Bastian, “It was the same day that we found out that the creditors were going to reject the US [Airways] hostile takeover and stay with Delta and invest in the people of Delta to let us out of the bankruptcy. We relit the light, we celebrated our freedom, and it was a great evening.”

Interesting stuff for us AvGeeks!!! You can catch more stories on Delta’s News Hub throughout the week and summer as Delta’s new CEO takes over.

-MJ, May 2, 2016