Delta flew the world’s first Convair 880 jet service in 1960, breaking speed records along the way.

Select a topic below to begin your experience.
Swipe pictures to view more


The Convair 880, distinguished by its narrow, short fuselage, was the fastest four-engine commercial jet until the advent of Boeing’s 747.

Delta's first Convair 880 set a coast-to-coast commercial speed record during its delivery flight from San Diego to Miami, on February 10, 1962 (3 hours, 31 minutes, 54 seconds). The next day, Delta broke its own official speed record from Chicago to Miami, with a Convair 880, which reached a top speed of 715 mph during the 1,258-mile flight, which took 1 hour, 50 minutes and 55 seconds.

Swipe pictures to view more


Delta launched the world’s first Convair 880 commercial service on May 15, 1960, between Houston and New York. Delta customers could fly Convair 880s from New York to Atlanta, Houston and New Orleans. In December 1965, Delta offered the first international Convair 880 service to Caracas, Venezuela, and Montego Bay, Jamaica.


"The airplane that I miss the most is the Convair 880. People loved it. Pilots used to call it 'The Sports Car.'"

Delta flight attendants remember the speed and luxury of the Convair 880. Its interior was designed by Harley Earl, known for his work in the 1950s with General Motors cars sporting fins and chrome.

Swipe pictures to view more


Only 65 Convair 880s and 37 upgraded 990/990A models were built. Only one other airline in Delta’s family tree, Northeast Airlines, flew ten Convair 880s and a leased Convair 990A. In 1996, the Convairs were painted in Northeast’s famous Yellowbird livery.

Swipe pictures to view more


The Lisa Marie, one of the most famous Convair 880s today is rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley’s private jet, named after his daughter. A former Delta Convair 880, Ship 909, purchased by Elvis in 1975 after it retired from the Delta fleet in late 1973-early 1974, can be seen at Graceland, Elvis’s home, in Memphis, Tennessee.