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Delta celebrates 45 years of nonstop service from Germany to the U.S.

From four weekly flights from Atlanta to Frankfurt in 1979 to 46 weekly services to four German cities in summer 2024, Delta celebrates almost half a century flying non-stop to Germany.

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This past week, Delta celebrated 45 years of non-stop service from Germany to the United States. Since the route opened almost half a century ago, Delta has transported more than 21 million customers between Frankfurt and United States – over 25 times the population of the city itself. Germany remains one of Delta’s most important trans-Atlantic markets.   

Delta’s operations have grown significantly over the last 45 years - from four weekly flights between Frankfurt and Atlanta in 1979 to 21 weekly services to three U.S. gateways, Atlanta, Detroit and New York-JFK in June 2024.  In total this summer, Delta will operate 46 weekly flights to the United States from four cities in Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart.   

Opening the window to the world

Between November 1991 and 1997, Frankfurt became a Delta hub after the airline acquired Pan Am’s nonstop network from Frankfurt, which included services to Athens, Mumbai, Budapest, New Delhi, Istanbul, Moscow, Prague, St. Petersburg (seasonal), Vienna and Warsaw. By March 1993, Delta operated nonstop flights from Frankfurt to 19 cities across Europe, North America and Western Asia.   

Today, thanks to industry-leading JV partnerships with Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic, Delta now offers customers access to 200+ destinations beyond Paris-CDG, Amsterdam and London Heathrow.   

“Frankfurt was Delta’s second trans-Atlantic destination after London and has remained a key city in our international network ever since, linking Germany’s financial capital with that of America in New York, the home of the motor industry in Detroit, and our hub in Atlanta from where customers can fly to over 200 destinations,” said Matteo Curcio, Delta’s Senior Vice President EMEAI. “It’s fascinating to see that while Delta’s services have evolved, our customer focus has never wavered, always ensuring a thoughtful, consistently high standard of service for the millions of customers who have flown from Frankfurt over the years.”  

History lover and German-born Carla Kronsbein (a DTW-based technical facilitator) shares travel tips about Frankfurt, a charming, yet vibrant city she has cherished since her early days.

An elevated experience

Delta’s first flight to Frankfurt was operated using a three-engine L-1011 TriStar that offered 241 seats across three cabins: First Class, which featured sleeper seats, Medallion Service (Business Class) and Economy Class.    

Today, Delta’s Frankfurt flights are operated using Airbus A330-200 aircraft featuring all four Delta experiences – Delta One, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin. Delta One customers enjoy fully flat-bed seats with individual aisle access, while seats in Delta Premium Select offer more space and recline.   

Always innovating 

Delta began visual in-flight entertainment on flights in 1978 (audio entertainment “Words and Music” launched in 1970), with movies projected onto large, shared screens. Today, customers flying on all international routes enjoy 1,000+ hours of complimentary Delta Studio, with entertainment on demand on individual screens at every seat.   

Delta Sync Seatback, currently available on a growing number of domestic U.S. flights, offers best-in-class content and smart TV features designed to feel like streaming services customers have used at home – including remembering where they left off in a movie.  

When Delta’s first Frankfurt flight took off, internet connectivity in the air was an unfathomable concept. Today, Delta customers can always stay connected through free mobile messaging via iMessenger, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Fast, free Wi-Fi by T-Mobile is available on domestic Delta flights for Sky Miles members and is being installed on international routes.   

Savory sky-high dining 

Customers flying on Delta’s Frankfurt services in 1979 enjoyed complimentary in-flight dining, just as they do today. Delta’s Medallion Service was prepared to deliver an experience to make travelling for business more enjoyable with gourmet entrées served on fine china and accompanied by cocktails, wines and champagne.   

Delta’s ambition to deliver a restaurant-style experience in the sky still remains. Within Delta One, a chef-curated, multi-course dining experience comes paired with sommelier-selected fine wines and is followed by decadent desserts, including Delta’s iconic ice cream sundae. Entrees in Delta One and Delta Premium Select can be pre-selected up to seven days in advance of travel, allowing customers to enjoy a more personalized experience.   

From chef-curated menus to allergen-friendly snacks and the latest iteration of our award-winning rotational wine program, here’s a look at what Delta customers can dig into this summer.

A memorable in-flight experience

Delta's approach to being a step above has been noticeable in its in-flight entertainment, culinary options and style of flight attendant uniforms.

When Delta launched a brand-new look for flight attendant uniforms in June 1979, the “Golden Anniversary Ensemble” celebrated 50 years of scheduled Delta passenger service and was designed by Pat Ashley of Omniform.

As recently as this March, Delta unveiled protypes of its new uniforms designed by GPS Apparel by Gap Inc.  Anchored in deep navy blues and rich burgundy, with accents of bright red and white – these mark a return to a more classic color palette inspired by Delta’s brand identity and heritage.

When Delta's amenity kits were introduced in April 1978, they featured various self-care products like Michaud shave cream, lotion, and more in a leather pouch.

Delta's amenity kits have amplified luxury and comfort with the airline's brand-new partnership with Missoni for Delta One customers.  The kit features the iconic zig-zag pattern on the interior and exterior, with contents from Grown Alchemist skin care products, a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste, an eye mask, ear plugs, socks and a pen. 

Missoni will design the airline's Delta One amenity kits and deliver customized elements to the new Delta One Lounge at New York-JFK. 

Delta's long-standing connection to Germany demonstrates the airline's commitment to constant innovation and elevated service for years to come. 

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