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On a June morning in 1929, a lanky former stunt pilot named Johnny Howe guided a single-engine Delta Air Service plane skyward from a Dallas airfield, heading east. Five hours and 427 miles later – including stops in Shreveport and Monroe, La. – Howe and his passenger, Delta employee John S. Fox, arrived at their destination, Jackson, Miss.

After several years as a crop-dusting company, Delta sent aloft its first passenger flight 90 years ago today.

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Could Howe and Fox have possibly imagined what the future would hold?

Growth – From an initial four stations with a fleet of three airplanes, Delta expanded across the Americas and on to Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. “The Airline of the South” would evolve into a global powerhouse serving 319 destinations in 55 countries.

Culture – From 60 employees with headquarters in rural Louisiana, Delta grew to 80,000 employees worldwide, ever dedicated to the values of unmatched customer service and safety. Despite its size, the world’s second-largest airline routinely calls itself “the Delta family” and means it. It’s that employee-centric culture that drives recognition like Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work year after year.

Service – A commitment that began with the slogan, “Service and Hospitality from the Heart” has not fundamentally changed despite employees now serving 200 million customers a year. And the results are evident – Net Promoter Scores, a key measure of customer satisfaction, hit an all-time high in the first quarter of 2019.

CEO Ed Bastian reflected on 90 years recently: “When I think of everything we’ve achieved to reach a position of leadership in this industry – when so many other airlines didn’t survive - I always come back to our people. They’re the best, and they’ve kept our culture alive and thriving through every challenge we’ve faced. With the Delta people behind us, I truly believe our best days as a company are still ahead.”

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