Is it thirty years already? Actually yes. It is three decades today since Delta Air Lines Flight No. 10 took off on its maiden flight from Atlanta to London's Gatwick, bringing the Delta name and brand across the Atlantic for the first time. R. S. Maurer, then Delta’s vice chairman of the board, predicted that “this new Atlanta-London air route will be a major catalyst in an expansion of international business and tourism here. For Delta, this is a dream of more than a decade in length. For several of you here, I suspect that you have for even longer a period waited for Atlanta and Georgia to take this great step forward as a vital world air transportation center."
Things were different back then: Crude oil was $13 per barrel, compared to more than $115 today. Delta reservations were made by telephone through agents in Atlanta or London because the Internet, personal computer and on-line shopping did not exist. Flight No. 10 was operated with a Lockheed L-1011 with 24 first-class and 238 economy seats. Delta showed its first in-flight movie, a 16mm version of “Oh, God,” starring George Burns and John Denver. Economy roundtrip airfares were $844 round-trip, which in inflation-adjusted dollars now would be about $2,764 round-trip
And things are different today: Delta has added almost 100 new international routes since 2005, and has become a major international presence.