The DC-9 stands out among Delta’s jets. Delta flew both the world’s first and last commercial DC-9
service in 1965 and 2014, and painted the DC-9 with a unique sideways “widget” logo.

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


Delta flew the world’s first DC-9 service on November 29, 1965, with DC-9-14 Ship 105, from Atlanta to Memphis to Kansas City. Daily scheduled DC-9 service started December 8, 1965. Delta acquired the fifteen-foot longer DC-9-32 model in 1967.

Delta thought it had retired the last of its DC-9s on January 1, 1993, but a 2008 merger with Northwest Airlines brought Delta 97 more DC-9-30, DC-9-40 and DC-50 planes. When these DC-9s retired, that ended the commercial DC-9 service. Delta flew ceremonial retirement flights on January 6, 2014, and a final service flight on January 22, 2014.


“It was in 1965 when we took delivery on the first DC-9. We were all very excited about it.” A Delta employee recalls the arrival of Delta’s first DC-9, named “Delta Prince,” in Atlanta, on October 7, 1965.

With the compact DC-9, for the first time, Delta brought jet service to many cities on its shorter routes. In 1965, nearly 60 percent of all U.S. passenger flights were over routes of 500 miles or less, distances usually served by propeller aircraft, such as the Douglas DC-6, DC-7 and Convair 440. However, the DC-9 could operate from 98 percent of those U.S. airports.

Swipe pictures to view more


Northeast, which merged with Delta in 1972, introduced jet service in 1967 to its smaller New England cities. The DC-9s also replaced Douglas DC-6B propeller planes on Northeast’s commuter routes on the East Coast. Northeast flew 14 DC-9s.

Swipe pictures to view more


Delta has a rich DC-9 history through its merger with Northwest Airlines and Northwest’s related airlines that flew DC-9s, including Republic, Southern, North Central, Hughes Airwest, Air West, West Coast and Bonanza.

In 1972-1973, Delta sold thirteen of its original DC-9-14s to Southern Airways, which later merged with North Central to form Republic Airlines. When Republic merged with Northwest in 1986, seven of those former Delta DC-9-14s went to Northwest.

When Northwest merged with Delta in 2008, Delta acquired 97 DC-9-30, DC-9-40 and DC-50 planes. Two of those model DC-9-30s were former Delta planes.

Swipe pictures to view more


Descendants of the original DC-9 in Delta’s fleet since 1965, include the “stretched” version DC-9-30 in 1967, the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 and MD-88 (originally known as the DC-9-80) in 1987, the MD-90 in 1995 and the Boeing 717 in 2013. The MD-88, MD-90 and Boeing 717 are currently flying for Delta.