MIAMI — In 1965, the very first McDonnell Douglas DC-9 was delivered to Delta Air Lines. The aircraft flew its first passenger flight on December 8, 1965 from Atlanta to Memphis. Now 48 years later, the final DC-9 flight, operated by a major U.S. airline, has been scheduled for January 6, 2014.

Delta operated a strong fleet of DC-9s until they started taking deliveries of the Boeing 737-200 in the 1980s, and eventually, all of Delta’s DC-9s were retired. The DC-9 returned to Delta’s fleet thanks to the merger with Northwest in 2008. Ironically 48 years after its launch, Delta is the final mainline operator of the type in the world. In 2011, Delta announced that their newly acquired DC-9s would be retired over the next few years.

(Credits: Cory Watts)
(Credits: Cory Watts)

On January 6, 2014, Delta plans to operate 26 McDonnell Douglas DC-9 flights mostly to and from Atlanta, but it appears that a circle routing will be flown through some of Northwest’s former hubs. Update: Since we first published November 20, there have been a few changes. Delta Air Lines will operate 10 less DC-9 flights on the final day of operation than originally planned. There will be no DC-9 service to Panama City Beach, Jackson, or Tallahassee on January 6 as originally planned. Further, Delta’s final DC-9 flight will arrive three hours earlier in Atlanta, and the DC-9 will not make a stop in Milwaukee during the special routing. Below is the latest information from the Delta Air Lines reservation system. It is expected that the reservation system will be updated over the weekend. Delta will operate a total of 16 DC-9 flights on January 6, 2014:

  • Birmingham, AL.-Atlanta, GA.
  • Nashville, TN.-Atlanta, GA.
  • Greensboro, NC.-Atlanta, GA.
  • Atlanta, GA.-Huntsville, AL-Atlanta, GA.
  • Savannah, GA.-Atlanta, GA.
  • Atlanta, GA.-Cleveland, OH.-Atlanta, GA.
  • Two flights on this routing: Atlanta, GA.-Little Rock, AR.-Atlanta, GA.

*Please note that this is subject to change

(Credits: Cory Watts)
(Credits: Cory Watts)

Special Route: Delta will also fly a circle routing through some of Northwest’s former hubs on January 6. It appears that this may be a special commemorative routing for the DC-9. If you notice, the second to last DC-9 flight uses the flight number 1965, and the final DC-9 flight uses the flight number 2014.

  • Delta 2012 Atlanta, GA. 07:25-Chicago, IL. 08:28
  • Delta 1813 Chicago, IL. 09:08-Detroit, MI. 11:29
  • Delta 1965 Detroit, MI. 12:15-Minneapolis, MN. 13:15
  • Delta 2014 Minneapolis, MN. 16:20-Atlanta, GA. 19:46

*Please note that this is subject to change

Delta has conducted several special commemorative flights in the past for the L1011 in 2001, the 727 in 2003, and the Spirit of Delta 767.

We will be on-board the final two flights, and we have live coverage on Twitter and Facebook.