October 7, 2022
4/15/2003: Delta Air Lines Launches Song

4/15/2003: Delta Air Lines Launches Song

DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Delta Air Lines’ (DL) new low-cost carrier, Song (SG), took to the skies in 2003. The inaugural flight departed from New York (JFK) bound for Palm Beach International Airport (PBI).

Delta had previously experimented with the LCC model in the shape of Delta Express. However, mounting pressure from new competitors such as JetBlue (B6) and AirTran (FL) led the airline to rethink its offering. 

SG’s bright and bold livery was designed by the renowned brand agency, Landor Associates. Photo: Daniel Piotrowski, GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html or GFDL 1.2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html), via Wikimedia Commons

Low-Cost Luxury

With a fleet of 36 199-seat Boeing 757-200s, SG began to offer 144 flights per day from its JFK hub to leisure hotspots in Florida. It would later expand the offering to additional Northeastern and West Coast destinations. The airline would eventually serve 16 destinations across the US.

Onboard passengers were treated to leather seats and in-seat live television screens and would offer on-demand pay-per-view movies. Inflight entertainment included audio MP3 and trivia games that passengers could play against each other. 

A Song Boeing 757 at JFK International Airport. Photo: By Paul Spikers – http://www.airliners.net/photo/Song-(Delta-Air/Boeing-757-232/1720281/L/, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18387404

Last Song

Despite the airline’s popularity amongst its passengers and modest profitability, DL announced at a press conference on October 28, 2005 that it would be closing down its subsidiary by May 2006. The parent company had just entered bankruptcy protection, and management claimed that it would be unable to maintain two brands. 

All of the 48 Boeing 757s in SG’s fleet would be repainted in DL’s standard livery. The cabin would also be reconfigured into a two-class layout. The popular inflight entertainment system would remain. DL would refer to the new fleet as its “Song service,” despite the Song brand being withdrawn.

The final SG flight (SG2056) departed Las Vegas (LAS) bound for Orlando (MCO) on April 30, 2006.

Featured image: At its height Song had 48 Boeing 757s in its fleet. Photo: Dale Coleman, GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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