A question: Just how old is OLD when it comes to the age of Delta Air Lines planes?

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I am at that age where I am starting to question just how old is OLD? If you were like me, when I was a kid I liked getting older. If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions. Someone asks you, how old are you? and you say, “I’m four and a half !” You’re never 46 and a half, but you’re four and a half and going on five! You get into your teens, now there’s no holding you back. You jump to the next number. How old are you? “I’m gonna be 16.” You could be 12, but you’re gonna be 16 and get to drive!

But then you turn 30… ooohhh what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk… He turned, we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now. What’s wrong?? What changed?? You turn 30, then suddenly you’re pushing 40… stay over there, it’s all slipping away. So then you reach 50… and you make it to 60! After 70 (I have been told), it’s a day by day thing. In your 80’s you HIT Wednesday… 90’s, you hit lunch and are happy! Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again: “I’m 100 and a half!!!!” Evidently, after you reach 110 they begin counting years and days! The oldest living person in the world is 115 years old.

If you are still reading, what does any of this have to with DELTA Air Lines? Last month our beloved Delta turned a young 83 years into passenger air service. No, none of those first birds are still in service, but do you ever give any thought to the age of the aircraft you’re traveling on?  Delta’s aircraft fleet age  ranges from  3 to 34  years with an average right around 16. It seems the average lifespan of a modern jetliner is around 20 years. Not to say that they can’t fly longer, it is just that they are “at the end of their economic lives” much beyond 20 years.

The average American lifespan is around 78 years. Now if we compare that to the average 16 year old Delta aircraft it makes them roughly 112 in dog years“. Maybe a better “jet years” number should be 4x human years so that would make them 64 years old. I wonder where the price point is of a new aircraft reaching the point of having paid off it’s initial cost and beginning the “green” years of generating the maximum revenue compared to the costs to maintain and operate it (maybe some of Delta Points math guys can chime in and tell us)?

So consider this my official mid-life crisis post. I am over 45, but for me flying is just plain (or “plane”) fun and I still get excited whenever I get to go up in the air especially on the queen of the air the 747!  How about you? – René


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  1. I know a guy that works for Boeing and he always looks at some plate by the door of the aircraft he gets on to see the age and then he’ll make a funny remark if it’s an older aircraft.

  2. If they are well maintained (much like yourself or myself), most have many good years of sevice ahead of them.

    I check my own “door plate” each morning and start working on my own care programs.

  3. When I walk on the plane and I see a ceiling panel getting taped back up…yes!!

  4. I started thinking I was old when I turned 20. I’m 33 now. And I still think I’m old. 🙂

  5. When I saw the title of this post, I thought it was going to end with …the age of the international flight attendants. There are some real relics still flying…..

  6. Pushing? I’m 40 years and 10 days right now. Old? No way, though I feel like that after doing sports 😉
    I don’t check individual planes’ age when boarding but I like new or refurbished planes.

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