WARNING: This post will really, really, really upset a small subset of the frequent flyer community (but I don’t care because – as usual – I am right). Let me start with a bit of background.
I have been an AvGeek (or “Aviation Geek”) longer than most. My passport photo is likely a younger photo than many who are reading this post (bragging a bit? Maybe 😉 ). I was flying internationally – alone – before they had a term for an unaccompanied minor (UM). I even started flying classes at Bowman field to become a pilot before making a wiser choice (I am dyslexic and did not want to risk doing what I love).
Building on all of the above, I was thrilled to fly the first “official” passenger flight of the Delta A350 from Detroit. The event was quite fun, as was the first return flight from Japan. I also flew the Delta 747, along with a bunch of other AVgeeks, toward the end of its life with Delta (side note: the “official” final flight many flew was not the real final flight. #Whoops). I really miss the Delta 747 and one of the highlights of my life was flying the 747 simulator in Atlanta.
Bottom line, as you can see, I am a HUGE fan of aviation, Delta jets, and travel.
But I am also not an idiot.
And here is the part where some folks will get upset.
Delta, back before the killer COVID-19 bug, was simply brilliant in scooping up the old — but amazing — Boeing 717.
This limited run McDonnell Douglas “baby dog,” was a smaller version of the “mad dog” or MD80 and MD90 — and unpopular decades ago when made, but so wanted in 2019. So much so that the CS100 was born (that became the A220). It filled a need that nothing else, other than the baby dog did — all while chugging fuel.
I really wanted to fly the first fight of the A220. But the official first flight of that bird was changed and I passed up on the “golden” opportunity to book award flights on a number of the first flights (with no plans to fly both since I could only be on one flight – thus risking all my status and points with Delta by breaking the COC) and chose to pass.
Due to the death bug, Delta has already parked an overwhelming amount of jets in the Arizona desert, at Kansas City (MCI), and other sites. That includes the 717s. Delta has also accelerated the planned 2020 retirement for the MD80s and MD90s (because they are really old and burn a lot of gas). They have moved the official “final flights” to early June according to a very long thread on Flyertalk.
Would you believe those flights are selling out?! Err, what? You have got to be kidding me?
In the midst of the pandemic, with the US nowhere near reaching the levels of flattening the curve like other countries, AvGeeks are planning to pack Delta jets.
I have stated I have no plans to get on a Delta jet till 2021 at the soonest. Why? It is simply not safe for me, for the flight attendants, flight crews, airport employees, or anyone else. Flying, for now, is a HUGE risk — even with all the efforts Delta is attempting to “try” to make it safe.
Yet folks plan to pack a jet and celebrate a final flight.
There are a lot of people, during this deadly virus, doing really stupid things. Some folks throw COVID-19 parties: getting together with infected patients to intentionally get the bug to be done with it is one of these insane ideas that risks the lives of an endless number of people (both those at the party as well as those who are related to them as well as those who – one day – will likely have to treat them).
[ Sad side note readers: one of Chris’ relatives died of coronavirus last Friday night. Getting the bug does not mean you’ll successfully defeat it.]
Packing an aircraft’s final flight might only heighten the curve, IMO. Flying one so you can add it to your social media hashtags or personal brag book is, at best, narcissistic.
Folks, now is not the time to be celebrating AvGeek events. Now is the time to let those who must fly to be allowed to fly for necessary travel. Other planes will be retired — and introduced — in the coming years. Wait until then to enjoy those flights.
Let’s wait to party like it’s 1999 once we can do so without putting others’ lives at risk! – René
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