Delta Just Canceled the Final 747 Flight From Detroit

Dec 17, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Back in mid-November, Delta announced the dates of its final 747 flights, giving enthusiasts several weeks to make arrangements to join the onboard celebration. The final flight from Detroit (DTW) was expected to depart on Friday, December 15, while the final return was planned for today, Sunday, December 17, flying 376 lucky passengers back from Seoul (ICN).

Then the unthinkable happened — just a few days before departure, the airline quietly added the 747 to another Detroit-Seoul trip, scheduled to take place a couple days after the final flight. Passengers with enough time to plan ahead scrambled to change their reservations to join one — or both — of the following new final flights:

  • December 17: Delta Flight 159 departing Detroit (DTW) at 12:31pm and arriving Seoul (ICN) at 4:30pm on December 18
  • December 19: Delta Flight 158 departing Seoul (ICN) at 11:15am and arriving Detroit (DTW) at 10:14am

Well, the unthinkable just happened again — as I was walking to join the farewell party at gate 40 in Detroit, the airline canceled the new final flight. It’s even showing as canceled on the departures board:

I’m told that crew availability is the reason for today’s cancellation — specifically, only three of the required four pilots showed up, and since the 747 is on its way out, there isn’t a reserve pilot to sub in.

Now, there’s a bit of good news — while under normal circumstances passengers may have simply been moved to another flight on a different aircraft or even a partner, given the excitement surrounding the 747’s retirement, Delta has decided to fly the plane as expected, just a day behind schedule. So, the 747 will still go on to Seoul, operating as a second departure from Detroit on Monday:

So while passengers are now stranded overnight in Detroit, at least they’ll still have one last chance to fly on Delta’s Queen of the Skies. The return flight is still operating, too — as of now it’s simply delayed three hours:

It doesn’t look like it’s possible to purchase tickets for the new Delta segment to Seoul, listed as Flight 9859, but you can still score a seat in economy or Delta One on Tuesday’s return — which, as of this writing, at least, is still the final 747 revenue flight operated by a US carrier.

In addition to this round-trip to Seoul, the airline is flying a 747 through several hubs in the US, though unfortunately it’s not possible to purchase a ticket. Seats on this final tour are reserved for select employees, SkyMiles auction winners and a handful of journalists.

To that end, I’ll be joining tomorrow’s separate flight from Detroit to Boeing’s Everett, Washington facility, followed by a short hop to Seattle (SEA). TPG managing editor Alberto Riva will also be covering the 747 celebration — he’ll be onboard Tuesday’s final flight from Seoul — so stay tuned for lots more to come at TPG!

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

If you are a Delta flyer who is looking to bank some extra miles this card is a great addition for your wallet. While you'll earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else, you'll also have access to other perks like priority boarding, a first bag checked free and discounted Delta  Sky Club access.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 for a family of 4 roundtrip.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.