Aviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1362 posts, RR: 11 Posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 11326 times:
With its newly inaugurated service to Australia, Delta thus becomes the first U.S. airline in over 20 years to operate scheduled passengers service to all six continents simultaneously (no haggling about Antarctica, please).
For two decades, membership in the vaunted Six Continent Club ( as it was dubbed by yours truly, http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2006/02/03/askthepilot172 ) has been the exclusive province of a small handful of Asian, European, and Middle Eastern carriers. Delta becomes the first U.S. member since the legendary Pan Am. And it achieves this status, by the way, independently of any routes from Northwest, with whom it is in the process of merging.
As for why the average American citizen might care, let's go back for a moment to the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks of 2001. As a nation we were becoming increasingly withdrawn and insular, at times xenophobic, and the nation's airlines curtailed many international routes. One of Delta's first moves, for example, was the elimination of Dubai and Cairo from its network. If on one hand this made sense for the bottom line, it struck me as counterintuitive to the long-term sensitivities of geopolitics -- and was furthermore anathema to everything I believe in as an pilot and avid traveler.
Well, that was then. The turnaround has been fairly unprecedented. The effects of the ongoing economic malaise notwithstanding -- and indeed they are serious -- Americans have turned out to be a lot less squeamish than I had feared. And Delta more than anybody has been taking advantage. It is back to Cairo and Dubai, not to mention routes into Jordan, Israel, and several cities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Prior to 2006, the total number of African cities served by * any * major U.S. airline stood at exactly zero, and had been that way for 15 years.
In celebrating this, we need to take pride not only in ourselves, as citizens, but in our airlines as well. That's a very tough task for the average disgruntled traveler, but love them or hate them, airlines are more than mere corporations. They operate, in a sense, as de-factor ambassadors, carrying the flag -- and us -- to the world's far corners. Pan Am did this with an almost mythic dignity and flair, its trademark once as globally recognized as that of Coca-Cola. That will never be matched in quite the same way, but give credit where it's due.
Everybody hold hands now and feel the love...
Okay, maybe I'm too romantic, and possibly delusional, but hopefully you'll see my point. It’s so easy to take flying for granted, but how can a traveler not appreciate the fact that countries and cultures, separated by once-insurmountable distances, are now so eminently connectable? And it’s the airplane -- these beautiful machines -- that make it happen. Flying to all the continents? No matter which ever airline gets your money, it's a rediscovery of adventure -- the thrill of striking out somewhere new. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Isn’t that what airplanes are for?
The other Six Continent Club Members, last I knew...
Malaysia Airlines (still?)
And.... who am I missing?
Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
Extspotter From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 992 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 10443 times:
I thought TUI group, however as a single entity, they no longer serve Oceania after Corsairfly pulled out of New Caledonia, but were in the past. At the moment both Corsairfly and Thomson Airways are in the 5 continent club, which was something I wasn't expecting.
AF BE BY FR MV PD SZ U2 VZ DHC6, 8-3/4Q, 732/8, 763ER, A319, A380
This is going to come down to definitions, but French Polynesia is not on a continent. Australia is a continent, Oceania is a region. If we count Air France because it flies to French Polynesia, we should also count Virgin Atlantic because it flies to Tobago (which I would argue is closer both physically and culturally to South America than French Polynesia is to Australia)...
Obviously this is a bit of a stretch too, but you could argue Qantas flies to all seven continents (assuming you subscribe to the seven continent model) if you count the sightseeing flights to Antarctica. Granted, these are offered by a travel agency (Croydon Travel) and not by Qantas themselves, and the aircraft doesn't land there, but you definitely descend over the continent, and it is about as close as someone can get to Antarctica in a commercial flight...
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
WorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 8992 times:
Considering the US is the largest economy in the world with the most diverse population and the largest air travel market, it seems quite appropriate that a US carrier should be a member of the six continent club.
The fact that it is Delta Air Lines (three words), the least "chosen" of the current big 3 based on the routes received early in its history, it is clearly remarkable indeed. DL has had a long history of being a global airline and has now achieved it. DL has built a global network based on a lot of expansion which still has allowed DL to achieve this position despite pulling back a number of routes because of the current economic downturn. Even before the NW merger and this year's international expansion, DL flew more route miles than any other airline in the world.
Well done, Delta!
Where in the world does Delta fly? Just about anywhere you want. (used in DL ad campaigns after the PA asset acquisition).
Flykal From Australia, joined Sep 2003, 445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8742 times:
Quoting Aviateur (Thread starter): No matter which ever airline gets your money, it's a rediscovery of adventure -- the thrill of striking out somewhere new. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Isn’t that what airplanes are for?
NIcely said. People may often think that flying in an airplane is like taking a bus (and in certain parts of the world, that may be true), but one should never forget the remarkable development and advancement of the airplane over the past 30 - 40 years and what that now allows us to achieve - whether it be as passengers or freight.
[Edited 2009-07-05 05:49:03]
One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time
Klkla From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 956 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8679 times:
Quoting BA744PHX (Reply 15): ^^^ yawn..... and you would have to go all out of your way to ATL just to get there... not the best deal I would say for more then half of the USA
Not really true... Most European and African routes are served from JFK which is not out of the way for about 95% of the country... Most South American routes are served from ATL which is not out of the way for about 90% of the country... The new Australian route is served from LAX which is not out of the way for 100% of the country... and the Asian hub is served from SEA, SLC, SFO, LAX, MSP, DTW, ATL and JFK which is also pretty damned convenient, isn't it?
Jfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8760 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 8428 times:
Delta has managed to do what merger mania in teh USA hasn't achieved until now. In 1988 then Pan Am CEO Tom Plaskett tried to merge with NW, to give Pan AM Asian routes again, it didn't happen. The next year NW was buyout in an LBO by a group of investors including KLM, where the famous alliance started. Delta has a from the Northwest merger gotten a presence everywhere, Japan especially. One thing I love about teh NW merger often ignored is the strong presence at LHR; JFK, ATL, MSP and DTW are now served from London's premier airport. Delta has done two great things though, its ATL is second to none for connectoins and turned Atl into a "Miami north" for Latin America.