Sancho99504
Topic Author
Posts: 641
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:44 pm

Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:50 pm

I had a woman board a flight today who was very demanding and crude about her seat and how we were boarding. During boarding of D1 and Diamond's, she lashed out at an agent about being a Flying Colonel and how we need to follow our P&P with regards to boarding. I've read a few different things that have basically returned me to;

What on earth was it, other than a marketing gimmick?
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
USAirALB
Posts: 2022
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:46 am

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:17 pm

I believe the program was officially retired years ago, but supposedly it still exists on the passenger manifest and in the reservation system as FC. I believe there was also a Flying Orchid program as well designated for women only.

IIRC the program came with a Crown Room membership but that’s about it. I don’t think miles or spending were accounted for to qualify for membership...I’ve heard people held FC status and only flew DL once or twice a year, so I’m not sure exactly what you had to do to qualify.
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744, 752, 753, 762, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 2086
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:48 pm

Flying Colonel was similar to AA's current ConciergeKey in that it was invitation only, without any mileage or spend threshold. Mostly corp travel mgmt, some VIPs, and some high mileages FFs (as relayed to me by Mary, the longest serving FA in DL history, working the economy cabin (her preference) back in the 80s, and 80 y/o, or so I was told). IDK the benefits (other than Crown Room membership).
https://upgradedpoints.com/american-air ... nciergekey
Last edited by WPvsMW on Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
LAX772LR
Posts: 12487
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:50 pm

USAirALB wrote:
I believe there was also a Flying Orchid program as well designated for women only.

I'm not a woman, and I was FO in 1988.... sooooo, no. ;)
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
airlineguys
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:31 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:52 pm

Sanchco- The Flying Colonel program was definitely not a marketing gimmick. The program began in 1955 and was Delta’s first loyalty program. The FC program was available only to men (it was 1955). Delta would identify those who flew a lot and those who could influence others to fly and extended an offer to be in the program. It was by invitation only to become a Flying Colonel. FC’s used to receive many perks (upgrades, admittance into Sky Clubs, invitations to events, etc). They were treated like many of the Diamond Medallion and Delta 360 passengers that fly today. Once a FC, always a FC. The FC designator still prints on their boarding cards. Unfortunately many don’t know about the program and for those FC’s still flying I’m sure they remember the perks from “back in the day.” In 1960 Delta started the Flying Orchid program. Invitation only made available to women; mostly the secretaries of the men who were FC’s. At least that’s what I’ve heard. The designator for Silver Medallion is FO. Believe it’s a holdover from the Flying Orchid program.
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 2086
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:00 am

airlineguys, nice first post.
Last edited by WPvsMW on Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
ScroogeMcDuck
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:50 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:00 am

IIRC, Flying Colonel, and its predecessor, Flying Orchid, were titles given to people who either helped Delta, or were able to use influence that could bring business to Delta. Corporate travel secretaries were given Flying Orchid status, and were often sent flowers in recognition or thanks. Senators and gov't employees, movers and shakers in business, local dignitaries, and celebrity friends of Delta were given Flying Colonel status.

Flying Colonels were given complimentary Crown Room Club memberships until sometime in the late '90s, and were recognized as almost like a Medallion-level status of frequent flyer, even though the status itself didn't provide upgrades or other bonuses. The designation still exists, but I don't think any new Flying Colonels have been named in many years.
 
User avatar
rj968
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:57 am

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:37 am

The Delta Flying Colonel program came from the merger with Chicago and Southern Air Lines (C&S) in 1953. C&S started it in 1940, to recognize those contributing to the airlines’ success and for good public relations. When I was with Delta the recommendations came from the local marketing manager. I’m sure other higher ups could make the recommendations too. I believe the program ended in 1998 or close to that.
Flying Orchid started in 1960 to recognize women for their support of Delta the same way the Flying Colonel program did for men. In 1984 or 85 they were designated as “Flying Colonels,” just like the men.
After the Flying Orchids were changed to Colonels Delta did award this title to administrative assistants, I don’t know how that one worked, but I knew someone who had the honor.
 
skymiler
Posts: 327
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 5:00 am

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:54 am

I am an FC (as well as a DM, 6MM+, etc,etc). It was marketing based and awarded to potential passengers in a new market -- think here in TLH in 1983 -- and those who showed not just a lot of travel but had influence to grow the business for them. When DL came to town I introduced their marketing staff to quite a few different potential customers and suddenly they showed up with a plaque for me! Hangs in my office ABOVE my 1974 American Admirals certificate . My how times have changed .. Since the program was discontinued some years ago our ranks are thinning and we are dinosaurs from another travel era -- 45+ years for me on DL and still going!
I love to fly, and it shows!
 
Sancho99504
Topic Author
Posts: 641
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:44 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:03 am

LAX772LR wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
I believe there was also a Flying Orchid program as well designated for women only.

I'm not a woman, and I was FO in 1988.... sooooo, no. ;)

What were the benefits of FO?
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
FF630
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:42 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:09 am

My DAD was a FC from the late 50's until he passed away. In the old days he had the direct line of the station manager. If he was running a little late the station manager would hold the plane up to 15 minutes at the old JAX airport. Once the current JAX airport opened in 1967, that service stopped. Can you imagine that being allowed today ?
 
Sancho99504
Topic Author
Posts: 641
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:44 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:09 am

skymiler wrote:
I am an FC (as well as a DM, 6MM+, etc,etc). It was marketing based and awarded to potential passengers in a new market -- think here in TLH in 1983 -- and those who showed not just a lot of travel but had influence to grow the business for them. When DL came to town I introduced their marketing staff to quite a few different potential customers and suddenly they showed up with a plaque for me! Hangs in my office ABOVE my 1974 American Admirals certificate . My how times have changed .. Since the program was discontinued some years ago our ranks are thinning and we are dinosaurs from another travel era -- 45+ years for me on DL and still going!

Your business and loyalty are truly appreciated. What an awesome backstory. It sounds like you guys were kind of treated like stars?
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
Sancho99504
Topic Author
Posts: 641
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:44 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:13 am

airlineguys wrote:
Sanchco- The Flying Colonel program was definitely not a marketing gimmick. The program began in 1955 and was Delta’s first loyalty program. The FC program was available only to men (it was 1955). Delta would identify those who flew a lot and those who could influence others to fly and extended an offer to be in the program. It was by invitation only to become a Flying Colonel. FC’s used to receive many perks (upgrades, admittance into Sky Clubs, invitations to events, etc). They were treated like many of the Diamond Medallion and Delta 360 passengers that fly today. Once a FC, always a FC. The FC designator still prints on their boarding cards. Unfortunately many don’t know about the program and for those FC’s still flying I’m sure they remember the perks from “back in the day.” In 1960 Delta started the Flying Orchid program. Invitation only made available to women; mostly the secretaries of the men who were FC’s. At least that’s what I’ve heard. The designator for Silver Medallion is FO. Believe it’s a holdover from the Flying Orchid program.

Great information, thank you. I have seen the FC designator in Term and on boarding passes before, albeit very infrequently.
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
User avatar
LAX772LR
Posts: 12487
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:34 am

Sancho99504 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
I believe there was also a Flying Orchid program as well designated for women only.

I'm not a woman, and I was FO in 1988.... sooooo, no.

What were the benefits of FO?

A lot of people who are remembering the gender disparity are confusing two separate programs; or perhaps more accurately, the divergent evolution of what started as a single program.

The "Flying Colonels of the Delta Fleet" were the men invited to loyalty comps and perks due to their travel+spend. As RJ968 correctly pointed out, it was actually a program that DL inherited, and had started long before DL's use in 1953. It was the brainchild of of C&S marketing director George Bounds in 1940, and basically a strategy to help C&S during the lead-up to US involvement in WWII, and the market uncertainty which ensued. They were eventually merged into DL.

The "Order of the Flying Orchid" was a completely separate concept: it was meant to recognize women in the support of aerial services, in everything from stewarding, to ridership, to assisting in flight training for men. There's disagreement on where the name came from, but the most common lore is that C.E. Woolman's love of gardening (he often presented home-grown orchids to retirees and new stewardesses) led to the name; what's undisputed is that the practice led to the "Orchid For You" article series, in the airline's first corporate magazine.

In 1984, Flying Colonels was officially opened to women and even children, though it should be first woman given status (Betty Jeanne Claffey, a newspaper editor who got the word out about how the airline pampers HVCs) had previously been invited long before. That same year, the Orchid program was given official status, and initially used as a 2nd-tier concierge-like service for the support staff of Flying Colonels. By 1987, it had become a watered down version of Flying Colonels, available to frequent travelers.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
Sancho99504
Topic Author
Posts: 641
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:44 pm

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:36 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
Sancho99504 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
I'm not a woman, and I was FO in 1988.... sooooo, no.

What were the benefits of FO?

A lot of people who are remembering the gender disparity are confusing two separate programs; or perhaps more accurately, the divergent evolution of what started as a single program.

The "Flying Colonels of the Delta Fleet" were the men invited to loyalty comps and perks due to their travel+spend. As RJ968 correctly pointed out, it was actually a program that DL inherited, and had started long before DL's use in 1953. It was the brainchild of of C&S marketing director George Bounds in 1940, and basically a strategy to help C&S during the lead-up to US involvement in WWII, and the market uncertainty which ensued. They were eventually merged into DL.

The "Order of the Flying Orchid" was a completely separate concept: it was meant to recognize women in the support of aerial services, in everything from stewarding, to ridership, to assisting in flight training for men. There's disagreement on where the name came from, but the most common lore is that C.E. Woolman's love of gardening (he often presented home-grown orchids to retirees and new stewardesses) led to the name; what's undisputed is that the practice led to the "Orchid For You" article series, in the airline's first corporate magazine.

In 1984, Flying Colonels was officially opened to women and even children, though it should be first woman given status (Betty Jeanne Claffey, a newspaper editor who got the word out about how the airline pampers HVCs) had previously been invited long before. That same year, the Orchid program was given official status, and initially used as a 2nd-tier concierge-like service for the support staff of Flying Colonels. By 1987, it had become a watered down version of Flying Colonels, available to frequent travelers.



Thanks for that. If I remember correctly, they have a small section in the museum about their frequent flyer programs over the years and I don't recall seeing either one of those programs mentioned. Even searching the internet all I've found about either is through online forums. You and RJ986 have provided me, perhaps the best summation I've found.

We have a program available to us that allows us to look up historical info about Delta and previous airlines that we've merged with to fill us in on things to better help customers and there is no mention of FC or FO.
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
OKCDCA
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:50 am

Re: Delta "Flying Colonel" program-need some insight

Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:20 pm

FF630 wrote:
My DAD was a FC from the late 50's until he passed away. In the old days he had the direct line of the station manager. If he was running a little late the station manager would hold the plane up to 15 minutes at the old JAX airport. Once the current JAX airport opened in 1967, that service stopped. Can you imagine that being allowed today ?

AA will still hold planes for Concierge Key members. I don't know the maximum time they will hold for though. I didn't believe until I was flying with my buddy who is CK and they texted him on our way to DFW asking if we were on time or if they needed to hold the plane for us. Pretty unbelievable service.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos