Since its launch in 1970, DASH’s same-day shipping has expanded to include a range of innovative services including delivery of life-saving organs for transplant and much more.
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Today, Delta Cargo celebrates the 50th anniversary of DASH, its service for same-day express shipping for small packages throughout the U.S. Since its launch, DASH has grown to be one of Delta Cargo’s most popular cargo products, fostering the launch of a range of innovative DASH products that deliver heavy equipment, life-saving organs for transplant and more.

“Delta was one of the first airlines to offer a same-day express shipping option in the U.S. and today it is one of our most popular products and perhaps the one for which we are best known,” said Andy Kirschner, Delta’s Director - Cargo Sales Americas. “Over 40% of domestic cargo that we transport annually is carried as DASH, and we carry everything from wedding dresses, films reels, trophies, movie props and human organs for transplant, to passports and other urgent documents.”

Here are five things to know about DASH:

Launched Oct. 15, 1970

DASH began as DEPS (Delta Expedited Package Service). In June 1971, the service was renamed DASH (Delta Air Lines Special Handling) and expanded to all of Delta's U.S. cities.

1979 Delta Air Lines Special Handling advertisement with winged bag
1979 Delta Air Lines Special Handling advertisement

It's the No. 1 Cargo product

In 2019, Delta carried over 1.3 million DASH shipments and is Delta's most popular U.S. cargo product (excluding U.S. mail).

Over half of the shipments are carried as DASH Heavy - packages that weigh more than 300 pounds and exceed 90 linear inches, such as entertainment and production equipment.

Delta DASH employees with pink package

DASH Critical moves life-saving shipments

Delta carries a weekly average of 15 Lifeguard shipments (time-sensitive heart and other organs) and 800 life-saving human organs for transplant through DASH Critical, which was launched in 2017. The product's signature bright pink box is easily identified for urgent shipments.

Delta Cargo DASH Critical product

Atlanta is the No. 1 airport for DASH shipments

Nearly 50,000 DASH shipments were shipped from Atlanta in 2019, closely followed by Los Angeles and New York-JFK.

Delta Cargo DASH Atlanta Warehouse

DASH innovation continues

Last year, Delta launched DASH Door-to-Door for first mile/last mile, same-day delivery straight to the customer. This expanded to include the delivery of heavy goods earlier this year.

Delta Cargo DASH advertisement

Bert Mesa, Vice President - Global Field Operations at MNX Global Logistics, said DASH is invaluable to his business. 

“At MNX, our customers rely on our precision logistics services to deliver life-saving therapies to patients and mission-critical parts to help businesses succeed. When every moment matters, we need more than just a provider, we need a partner. And with Delta DASH, we have a partner that enables us to deliver on the speed, precision, efficiency and rigor that our customers demand.”
For more information about DASH and the range of Delta Cargo products, please visit

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