HONOLULU: Delta customers and employees began saying their goodbyes to the airline's Boeing B747 fleet as the aircraft operated its final Tokyo-Narita to Honolulu flight. It then made a rare appearance on two domestic flight legs earlier this month.
After arriving in Honolulu from Tokyo-Narita for the last time, the aircraft was routed through Los Angeles on its way back to Detroit. The two B747s were then sent from Detroit to Orlando to help assist with Hurricane Irma evacuation efforts.
Employees in Honolulu paid tribute to the aircraft, which regularly operated the Honolulu-Narita route, with traditional Hawaiian customs by fashioning a maile lei big enough to fit over the top of the aircraft as a sign of respect. The team also held a gate celebration, and several employees held back tears as the group sang Aloha Oe and watched the aircraft depart Honolulu for the last time.
Delta expects the remaining B747s in its fleet to be retired by the end of 2017. The retiring aircraft will be replaced by the Airbus A350, which will be Delta's flagship international aircraft and the first to feature the airline's all-new Delta One Suite, as well as Delta Premium Select, a new premium economy experience.
Delta will take delivery of five A350s in 2017 with more coming in 2018.