Happy 85th birthday, Delta: Museum reopens to tell airline's story

It was wheels up Tuesday on the renovated Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta, an attraction dedicated to telling the story of how a rural crop-dusting operation in the South became the modern-day Delta Air Lines.

The carrier operated its first passenger flight from Dallas to Jackson, Miss., on June 17, 1929. Its  85th anniversary was cause enough for a splashy reopening of the nonprofit-run museum at the airline's original headquarters near Harstfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Delta's Chief Executive Richard Anderson took the stage to talk about the carrier's role in passenger travel and the local community.

"It's an honor to be here today, both to showcase the rich history of commercial aviation in Georgia and to honor the thousands of people who have worked to make Delta one of the world's most successful airlines," the governor told the crowd.

The 68,000-square-foot facility houses five historic planes, including a Travel Air 6B Sedan similar to the one used in Delta's first flight, a Boeing 767 and a DC-3. It also has a Boeing 737-200 full-motion simulator for pilot training that visitors can try out. There's also an exhibit dedicated to  C.E. Woolman, Delta's founder.

Vintage suits and clothing worn by cabin crew members, first-class seats from airplanes (wow, orange? really?), and other memorabilia such as model planes also are on exhibit. The museum, formerly known as the Delta Heritage Museum, opened in 1995 but underwent an extensive yearlong renovation.

It was redone with a $6.3-million grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation, according to the airline.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays (closed Wednesdays) and noon-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $6 for children 5 to 17 years old. It costs $395 plus tax for up to four people to try out the full-motion flight simulator (ages 16 and older only).

Info: Delta Flight Museum, (404) 715-7886