Delta’s final Boeing 777 flight is just 3 weeks away

Oct 9, 2020

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.

Come November, there will be one less Boeing 777 operator.

In a pandemic-related fleet shakeup, Delta is gearing up to bid farewell to one of the largest planes it operates — the Boeing 777. This widebody jet was the workhorse on many of Delta’s flagship long-haul international routes, including flights from Los Angeles to Syndey and from Atlanta to Johannesburg.

But then the coronavirus came stateside and nearly wiped out all demand for these routes. Although Delta recently completed a cabin retrofit project across its 18 777s, the Atlanta-based carrier later decided to simplify its fleet for cost-effectiveness.

To that aim, in May, Delta announced the retirement of its entire fleet of 777s by the end of the year. Well, 2020 is nearly over (thankfully), and the carrier has scheduled its final two 777 flights.

Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter for more airline-specific news!

If you’re looking to catch one final ride on this Boeing widebody, you better start planning now. The final two flights are as follows, according to Cirium schedules and confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.

  • Oct. 30: Delta Flight 8787 ATL — LAX, 3 p.m. — 4:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 31: Delta Flight 8807 JFK — LAX, 1 p.m. — 4 p.m.

Of course, there’s a possibility that the dates and timing shift. Over the past few months, there’s been an increased number of pandemic-related schedule changes across airlines. So while these are the final scheduled flights, anything could theoretically change at the last minute.

There are still seats left for sale in all cabins on the first retirement flight from ATL to LAX. The JFK to LAX flight is currently sold-out in business, but there are seats left in the other two cabins. Coach fares start at $149, premium economy starts at $350 and business class starts at roughly $1,200.

Delta One Suites on a Boeing 777 (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Award availability is limited, though there are currently some coach seats available at saver rates on the JFK to LAX flight. Delta’s charging 16,000 SkyMiles, though you can book the flight through Virgin Atlantic for 12,500 points.

You’ll still see plenty of these Boeing jets flying across the country. Aside from the myriad of international airlines that fly the 777 to the U.S., two of Delta’s biggest competitors — American Airlines and United — both operate the 777-200 and longer 777-300 variant. You’ll even find AA and UA 777s flying on domestic routes from time to time.

Related: These are the jets that could end up in the boneyard

Delta’s retirement of the 777 is just the latest in a long list of planes being sent to the boneyard across the world. With a full recovery not predicted for a few years, carriers are streamlining their fleets and saying goodbye to the gas-guzzling jets of yesteryear. In Delta’s case, the airline has so far retired the Boeing 737-700, McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and the MD-90.

Aviation enthusiasts like me (case in point: check out my Instagram page) will mourn the fact that many Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s — two of the world’s largest passenger planes — are getting scrapped. Just this week, British Airways retired its final two Queens of the Sky. BA was previously the world’s largest operator of the 747. Going forward, it’ll have none, leaving just a handful of airlines still flying the 747.

While long-time fans and enthusiasts will miss the flying the 777 in Delta’s livery, the carrier already has a swanky modern replacement, the Airbus A350. Going forward, the A350 will be DL’s flagship aircraft. The A350 burns 21% less fuel per seat than the 777s they’re replacing.

Plus, these are some of the newest widebodies to enter the airline’s fleet. The cabins are outfitted with the latest Delta One Suites, Premium Select, Comfort+ and standard coach seating.

It’s not all sad news; the A350 is actually opening up a new market for Delta: Cape Town.

Related: Delta to serve all 777 routes with A350s, and add Cape Town

Though the A350 can replace almost every ultra-long-haul 777 route, the Atlanta to Johannesburg frequency requires a modification. Going forward, the airline’s South Africa service will follow a new circular routing that goes: Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta.

The stop will allow for refueling at sea level before beginning the 8,130-mile trek back to the U.S. And it adds a new dot to Delta’s route map.

So while Delta’s 777 retirement is sure to disappoint some flyers, it ushers in a new era for the carrier’s fleet — one focused on more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft.

Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
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.