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Story Behind The "Spirit Of Delta" Donated 767?  
User currently offlineIslandHopper From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 327 posts, RR: 2
Posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9016 times:

I saw the Spirit of Delta in Atlanta...a beautiful plane, love the script they chose:

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Photo © Don Boyd



I looked in Google for information about the plane. This article mentions the jet and how Delta's management works well with employees:

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2002/10/21/smallb3.html

It says that Delta's 35,000 employees actually raised $30 million to buy the jet for Delta! I find it hard to believe that employees would donate an average of over $850 (in 1982 dollars) each to their employer. Especially in the airline industry, where workers and companies are usually at odds.

Is the story really true? Delta does seem to have better than average relationships with its employees, as only their pilots have unionised. But I would have to love my employer an awful lot to hand over that kind of dough!

27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDc10guy From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 2685 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8968 times:

My old boss in SDF who worked for Delta at the time said that it wasn't a donation. It was a pay cut masked as a gift from the employees.


Next time try the old "dirty Sanchez" She'll love it !!!
User currently offlineDeltaSFO From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2488 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8871 times:

My old boss in SDF who worked for Delta at the time said that it wasn't a donation. It was a pay cut masked as a gift from the employees.

Your old boss in SDF was wrong.

In 1982, as Delta Air Lines was experiencing a period of financial difficulty, Delta employees, led by a group of flight attendants, demonstrated an incredible show of support for the company and actually paid for Delta's second Boeing 767 through payroll deductions. These payroll deductions were completely voluntary.

The aircraft was christened "The Spirit of Delta" because it symbolized the loyalty Delta employees felt to the company and the personal sacrifice they made to give the company a token of appreciation and a show of support during a difficult time.

When the aircraft was delivered on 25 October 1982, it was adorned with a huge red ribbon and bow around the fuselage. It was a gift from the employees of the company.

In addition, Ship 102 was repainted in a commemorative livery prior to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Ship 102 was also the first Boeing 767 to touch down on European soil.



It's a new day. Every moment matters. Now, more than ever.
User currently offlineDeltaMD11 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 1701 posts, RR: 34
Reply 3, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8843 times:

Right on SFO.

Here's my baby:


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Photo © Art Brett



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Photo © Peter Liander




Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
User currently offlineATA L1011 From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1388 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8707 times:

I got word from a friend from DL in ATL that 767-200 retirement is going to start real soon with 2 examples being retired very soon.


Treat others as you expect to be treated!
User currently offlineDL685 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 48 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 8629 times:

The retirement has already begun for Delta's 767-200.....Ships 114 and 115 are already out at the desert and 1 more went today.....I think it was 107......and DL SFO you are right on.....my father was one who contributed a good amount on that plane....we went to the ceremony for it in the hangar in ATL......we also have the poster commemerating the event with a pic of the A/C with the ribbon around it.....it was a very moving event........

User currently offlineDc10guy From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 2685 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 8578 times:

DeltaSFO, that's a touching story. A give back is a give back. No matter how you dress it up. Back then Delta was a no lay off company, It would be tuff to get a "voluntary" give back at Delta today.


Next time try the old "dirty Sanchez" She'll love it !!!
User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8495 times:

Those of you who don't believe Delta employees would buy the company a plane don't understand the Delta culture of the 70's and before. It was really legendary in American business circles but was permanently altered after the first Gulf War and probably will never return. The Spirit of Delta was written up in a number of magazines, including the Reader's Digest. Keep in mind that the motivation was that Delta did not lay off any permanent full-time employees after Pres. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers and air traffic capacity was cut by about 30%. No other airline came even close to taking as much care of their employees as Delta did.
Delta has not publicly stated that they intend to retire any of the 767-200's. Several were temporarily grounded and parked after 9/11 because many are in need of D checks. Delta has said that they intend to grow mainline capacity next year by approx 5% and will pull the remaining parked airplanes exc. the MD-11's out of the desert. The 767-200's will be around for at least another 4-5 years given that D checks have been recently done on several of them.


User currently offlineDeltaSFO From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2488 posts, RR: 22
Reply 8, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8420 times:

DeltaSFO, that's a touching story. A give back is a give back. No matter how you dress it up.

Do you or do you not understand the meaning of the word "voluntary"?

Back then Delta was a no lay off company, It would be tuff to get a "voluntary" give back at Delta today.

Did I say anything about the current corporate culture at Delta? I don't believe I implied or directly stated that something like that would happen today.



It's a new day. Every moment matters. Now, more than ever.
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8400 times:

From http://www.airwhiners.net/whine_cheez/20030509.htm :

The Delta of pre-deregulation days was largely an entity that defined its own niche. The primary focus of the airline was to serve communities in the Southeastern United States, both by providing air services as well as being a corporate citizen of the region. Delta was more than just a transportation provider or an employer - it was a way of life. Thus the "Delta family" was born. In an era of regulation where each airline could pick and choose where it could compete, Delta was able to let the availability of appropriate "family members" be the factor that determined the pace of their growth. The employees loved the airline and vice-versa. The "Spirit of Delta" is a classic example of this mutual respect. There was no employees versus management struggle that characterizes labor relations in the industry today. Management were employees and employees were management.

Deregulation changed that once and for all. It created an environment where universal accessibility was the only way for a network carrier to compete. Some airlines like American and United chose growth as the means towards achieving this universal accessibility, while others like Delta and Northwest chose consolidation via mergers and acquisitions.

The first nail in the Delta family coffin was the merger with Western. Both airlines had very strong corporate cultures, but the cultures were simply not compatible. As the surviving entity, Delta essentially required that the Western folks shape up to the "Deltoid" mold, something that was very hard to accept for the Western folks who would always be considered outsiders. To this day, almost 2 decades later, longtime Delta employees refer to each other as "original" and "ex-Western".

Nonetheless, despite a few acrimonious issues arising, the amalgamation of Western into Delta was largely painless compared to other transactions of the day (remember, this was the era of Frank Lorenzo running amok with his acquisition machine). The Western employees settled down in their role as stepchildren of the airline doing their own little thang out in the west, for the most part away from the core Southeastern markets.

Then came the death of Pan Am, throwing up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an airline to capitalize by scavenging the international routes of this dying behemoth. With all the other major competitors having already made their moves, Ron Allen made a play first for the whole enchilada and subsequently just the tasty fillings. Volumes have been written about the way that Allen handled the transaction, but the end result was that he was perceived by PanAm employees to have reneged on his word and caused the final nail to be driven into the coffin of the blue meatball. This was scarcely the right time for Delta to try and amalgamate these same people into the tight-knit Delta family.

In the end, that was what destroyed the Delta family. The PanAm folks came in with a chip on their shoulders, both from what they perceived as Delta's role in killing their airline as well as the standard gripes over seniority, pensions, etc... that accompany every transaction. Costs spiralled as Delta scrambled to integrate incompatible systems and aircraft into their own operations. The increasing costs forced Ron Allen to launch Leadership 7.5 which only served to alienate the most loyal of the remaining "original Deltoids". The point of no return was crossed.

I have a soft spot for Ron Allen partly because we share the same alma mater of Georgia Tech, but mainly because I think he was the last true nuts-and-bolts airline chief in the United States. He gave his life to Delta and without a doubt would have given his life for Delta. That alone inspired loyalty among the few Deltoids he had yet to alienate and kept him in the drivers seat for so long before making an inglorious exit to stage left.

Enter Leo Mullin, the Harvard man from a Chicago utilities firm. For an airline that had never even hired a chief executive from another player within the industry, the choice of Mullin to succeed Allen was a complete shock. To his credit, Leo implemented programs that achieved the same results that Allen sought from Leadership 7.5, but without the transparency that Allen had used to his detriment.

In the past, Delta had always been able to keep unions out of their airline by treating the employees fairly and generously, thus creating an atmosphere of trust. The AFA unionization vote of 2002 was a watershed event in that Delta succeeded in keeping unions off property again, but did so by cultivating an atmosphere of lies, fear and mistrust. They then went and stabbed their employees in the back by reneging on many commitments they had been made during the anti-union campaign. This is merely one example of the "us versus them" mentality that has pervaded the airline. You simply cannot unite to compete with an external threat when you are too busy fighting your own civil war. Alas, that is where Delta has fallen.

Now that the Delta employee is disillusioned by the airline, obviously that malcontent will pass down to the consumer. Remember, the original Delta family was a community affair consisting not only of the Delta employees, but also the regular customers who were recognized as Flying Colonels and Flying Orchids. Now that the employees themselves no longer feel part of the family, nor do the consumers. The difference of course is that consumers always have a choice, whereas employees rarely have a similar luxury.


User currently offlineDc10guy From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 2685 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8385 times:

O.K. DeltaSFO, Maybe you don't understand corporate America. Working for pay and then giving it back is a pay cut. Voluntary or not. Did they force Delta to take the 767 ???


Next time try the old "dirty Sanchez" She'll love it !!!
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 11, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 8277 times:

...we also have the poster commemerating the event with a pic of the A/C with the ribbon around it.....

Me too...except mine has part of the ribbon attached. I always wondered if that poster is worth anything...not that I am going to part with it....it's a GREAT conversation piece, and I love it.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineIslandHopper From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 327 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 8200 times:

Wow, looks like the employees really pitched in to help the company out in bad times! There is no way in hell anything like this would happen now.

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 13, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8162 times:

Just out of interest, this question is not intended as flamebait:

Did the contributing employees get anything out of this extraordinary sign of support for their company - e.g. in the form of a protection from the several rounds of layoffs during the next two decades?



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineDL685 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 48 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8072 times:

TriStar500,
Yes they did....my father got forced into retirement a bit early from Delta....he said the best thing they could have done......LOL


User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (11 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8024 times:

I worked for Delta back then, and I can tell you that during that period of my career, there was not anything I would not do for Delta. If they would have asked me to drive cross country and be in another location in 36 hours, I would have done it for them. The atmosphere at Delta during those years was truly unbelievable. (belive it or not I started at their SGF Springfield MO Station) It truly was a compaany that had a deep respect for their people.

User currently offlineIslandHopper From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 327 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (11 years 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 7912 times:

Sun Valley, what happened to that respect? Why aren't you working for Delta anymore? I know Delta still has pretty good labor relations, but I'm sure it's not at the level it was back then.

User currently offlineTrnsWrld From United States of America, joined May 1999, 954 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (11 years 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 7818 times:

Ok well considering Delta employees bought the company a 767, whats the deal with the TWA MD-80 that wore the reverse scheme? I was told that was the same sort of deal where the aircraft was purchased by the employees. Now I find that VERY hard to believe with TWA employees and how much of a beating they took in the Carl Icahn days. Those were (and still are) some of the best employees in the industry and getting paid the least. Sorry its not about Delta but since we are on the topic im curious about this airplane also.

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User currently offlineExpratt From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 311 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (11 years 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 7760 times:

When I was still a Pratt employee versus an expratt employee, I had the opportunity to visit numerous airline shops including Delta's shop in ATL. Without a doubt, the people in Delta's shop demonstrated a lot more loyalty to their airline in comparison to what I saw at other airlines. The workers were willing to work with management to try new things and would come up with ideas to improve the product. Their toolboxes were adorned with stickers about the different airplanes in Delta's fleet or saying that Delta was their airline. Never saw anything like that when I went to other airline shops in this country. There clearly was a spirit of cooperation between the Delta work force and management to get the job done whereas at some other carriers, the work force would seemingly go out of there way to screw the company and vice versa. I suspect that in recent years, the spirit of cooperation between Delta management and the work force may have waned, but it did exist in the not too distant past.

User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (11 years 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 7693 times:

Island Hopper, In response to your question to me about the respect, and why I am no longer with Delta.

I continued to work for Delta through the acquisition of Western & remants of Pan Am. I began in a customer service position, and went thorugh several departments, finally getting into a Planning & Route Analysis position.

As the Western force was integrated into the Delta Family, the "Southern"
form of respect and empathy for each staff member of the family began to wane. The majority of the Ex-Western people was completely "unorthodox" in their everyday thinking from that of what we as the original family members knew and were accustomed to.
The thinking of what is best for "our" Delta customer began to dilute into the thinking of "don't ask me to do that", its not my job, and don't ask me to
go above and beyond-this is not my airline. (We were all indoctrinated with the "Delta is my Airline" Philosphy) this started to become rampant amongst new hires, and especially any station or department that had the Ex-Western Influence. As ex-Western people started moving about the system, and becoming absorbed into the Delta Family, those of us who were originals found this to be the "norm". Then the back braker--the PanAm group entered our ranks, and they were the all time worst co-workers most of us had ever experienced. Our Delta Family was not what it used to be. Key positions in management were being replaced through attrition with some of these exWestern & Pan Am people. I left my position at Delta and went to Alaska Airlines in the same capacity, and later found I could make a better living as an outside consultant doing the same job. Respect from a workforce, must be earned by a company. Those of us who did the original Delta DOO, know, and its rare in this world to see a company that possesses that
atmosphere.


User currently offlineRb211 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 632 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (11 years 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 7644 times:

I was a Delta employee back then (ATL res). Do you think Delta will put it on static or do you think they will turn it into Coke cans? That would be a shame. By the way, which colors do/did you like it in best. The 1996 colors were awesome!


Airline photography. Whether they're fully clothed, butt naked, having issues or confused I'm taking pictures!!
User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (11 years 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 7584 times:

I don't think Delta will ever be the work place that it was prior to the WAL merger. (Remember it didn't take us long to determine that the exWesterns
were the "valley talkers" & the granola eaters of the world)

As far as my favorite colors. The 96 colors were awesome because they were something different than what most everyone knew Delta to be. My all time favorite paint scheme though, was the one on the Convair 880's. It was real Class.

[Edited 2003-10-30 21:51:14]

User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (11 years 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 7519 times:

Delta's current execs are trying hard to re-instill the family mindset Delta once knew in the context of a very competitive environment where employee costs must come down.

I expect that the Spirit of Delta will be kept as a museum piece long after it is retired from service (which is probably at least 5 years away). There was talk at one time that Delta wanted to put a museum at Centennial Olympic Park but not sure what ever became of that.


User currently offlineOrd From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 1389 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (11 years 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 7449 times:

To add on to Delta's old culture for those that do not know, Delta also led the entire airline industry in fewest passenger complaints for roughly 30 years in a row! Even in the pre-deregulation days of good service that was quite an accomplishment. The old Delta tagline "We love to fly and it shows" was true.

User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 24, posted (11 years 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 7387 times:

Hi all,

...just a short note from me, not only a L1011Lover, but also a DELTALover!
This is one (among several others) reason why I like that airline so very much!!! They cared so much for their employees and got back such a support and loyalty...
This is the way any airline or even any company should be run!

I know so many people who work for Delta and they´re all so proud of the fact working for such a wonderful carrier, though also with Delta the morale is pretty low at the moment...
But they´re indeed all trying to keep the spirit up!!!
Delta and all the Delta employees are near and dear to my heart!!!
You are all professionals!!!

Keep going folks, keep the spirit up, keep it flying...

Hey DeltaMD11, thanks for the pics, she´s my baby too!!!  Big grin

Best regards,

L1011Lover


25 Post contains images United_Fan : Anyone have that poster looking to sell it ?
26 Aloha73g : "DeltaSFO, that's a touching story. A give back is a give back. No matter how you dress it up." These were more along the lines of DONATIONS as far as
27 Flairport : My FA friend says it is a haunted plane. hence the name "spirit of Delta". keeps with the halloween theme, too! I think it will be the LAS 762 to be r
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