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#AvGeeks: Now is NOT the Time to Book “Last Delta Flights” While COVID-19 Runs Rampant!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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.

Really? Now?

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


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. I’m flying Delta every week, mostly t-cons.
    Haven’t changed a thing, haven’t seen any data why I would?

    It’s still the safest way to travel.
    Air travel is increasing every week, and many of my friends are starting to snap up European flights for this fall.

  2. Berk Thompson Reply

    “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…”

    Couldn’t have said it better, Rene.

  3. @George – “Haven’t changed a thing, haven’t seen any data why I would?”

    If you choose not to see “any data” and be in denial about the actual reality, I guess it is absolutely safe to fly. Happy Travels!

    • The thing is, I look at the data.. .closely..
      As more and more people do the same, they are having the same reaction I have had. *shrug*

      But, if you are staring at CNN or Fox News all day.. then, sure, life seems a lot more scary than it is.

      I know the 3 points you’re going to say:
      1) It’s not about you George, it’s about other people!!! My grandma!!!

      If that’s the case, why doesn’t your grandmother stay home and take some responsibility for herself?
      I can’t feed my family because there are old people in the world?

      2) “It’s more deadly than the flu!!”

      At first you all said ‘it’s not the flu!!’ And, then of course, since it is a strain of the H1N1/Influenza/Sars variety, people said..
      Oh, right. Well, it’s LIKE the flu, but it’s MORE DEADLY!!! Scary emoji!

      And now, of course, as more and more studies and medical schools are releasing their findings..
      Yeah, it’s about as fatal as the flu. I think it was Stanford who actually said it might be LESS deadly.

      3) “If we save ONE life, it’s worth it.”

      It sure sounds noble to prioritize old people over kids… but, uhm, we’re obviously causing a lot more harm to hundreds of millions of people. Unemployment, suicides are already up (but, we don’t care about individuals killing themselves one at a time, we just care about this scary Chinese flu like virus killing old people). Crime, domestic violence.

      The UN reported over 100,000 KIDS will likely die in Africa because they won’t get measles vaccine.
      So, you’re cool with killing kids so your grandma can live another 6 months?

      Bonus #4: If you know math (or, at least can add and subtract), you’d realize how inconsequential this virus is.

      300,000 people have died (which, everyone is now assuming is overinflated).
      And if we said ALL 300,000 people who died from CV and NOTHING ELSE would have killed them (…..)

      300,000 people dead, in 6 months, out of 60,000,000 (that’s 60Million) who die of natural causes annually…
      It’s about 1%.

      So, 99% of people who died in the last 6 months. died of something OTHER than CV.
      We’ve closed down the world for 1%.

      So, yes, I looked at the data, looked at the medical studies, and made a decision based on facts.
      Maybe you should try it too?

      Or, I guess, it’s easier to do what the television tells you too.
      Yeah, keep doing that. A compliant populace is the best populace.

      • Sorry George…when you have to spend that much time trying to convince others that something is ‘not that bad’…guess what? It only means it REALLY is THAT bad!

        Justify and testify all you want…but try and wrap your head around this…Covid19 is the single most contagious – KEY word there – disease we have ever faced. That’s why things are shut down…not your conspiratorial theory to make the populace “compliant”!

  4. As a frequent flyer i will continue to fly with precautions. I am not flying to vacay but life goes on. Hopefully this passes over within the next year. I look forward to things possibly getting back to normal.

  5. It’s interesting that you chose to highlight completely full flights to again hammer home your “stay off planes until at least 2021” point versus the average passenger load being 7% for the month of April. There is a huge difference being on a packed flight vs a flight with 7 passengers on a 100 seat plane .

    It is surely your stay at home until at least sometime in 2021. Many of us though have to fly to earn a living. In fact, in your efforts to “protect” all airline personnel, have you ever thought about the fact that some of them might actually want flyers in the airport so that they can continue to work and earn a living? I live among many Delta employees and Delta has bent over backwards to accommodate each and every employee who does not feel comfortable working in this current environment. Last but not least, if all frequent fliers take your stay off planes advice, you do realize that will mean no more Delta, American, United, Southwest, to come back to. We may end up with one nationalized airline. Maybe. Have you asked these employees how they feel about losing their jobs permanently?

    I was laid off in late March and will be brought back right after Memorial Day with my first flight on 5/27 (I last flew on 3/4). My flying “requirements” are nonstop, direct flights. Right now, my two 90 minute flights are basically empty. Now if they fill up with passengers between now and the end of the month, I would seriously consider trying to reschedule. Point is, I will make a risk/reward decision as we all do multiple times every day of our lives. I honestly believe if my flight loads stay under 10%, there will never be a safer time to fly for the rest of my life. I say that, as a bit of a germ-phobe who has been wiping down his airline seat for at least the past five years, even with all the wise ass comments from the person sitting next to me.

    Renee, I guess my question to you is what are you looking for to make air travel safe even a year from now? I feel I am much safer on an 60% empty airplane for 90 minutes with everyone wearing masks, spaced out very well, vs shopping for groceries or spending 90 minutes inside Walmart or a mall…or driving 300 miles.

    My last question, and I type this completely absent malice, if you run a blog dedicated to travel on delta airlines and it’s going to be at least 9 months before you travel on delta airlines, why should anyone continue to follow you until you decide to get back on a plane?

    Here’s to hoping everyone stays safe. Cheers.


    • @RoloT – First off you may need to re-read the post. I am talking about packing a jet for no good reason other than a “last flight”. I also clearly point out that those who need to fly (i.e. like you) are the ones who should be on jets – not geeks like me. Next, I am avoiding Walmart (and any other store for that matter). I am only doing curbside pickup for food for the foreseeable future. As to reading the blog – Chris owns the blog. If you find no value in my posts then simply read only his posts.

      PS – It is Delta Air Lines (not delta airlines) 😉

      • Fair points… I agree fully that packing final flights is absurd.

        My problem is that some of the hyperbole you used in your post is the same kind that we faced in March that got hospitals to shut down all but trauma surgeries in anticipation of being overrun with “killer bug“ patients, that in most cases, never materialized. My wife is now on month two and counting of waiting for tier 1, very important (cancer) surgery and still doesn’t have a set date. The Cleveland Clinic now has a 4-5 month backlog of surgery to work thru. I feel like I need to remind people that Covid 19 is not the only thing that kills people. Do those deaths not matter?

        If EVERYONE follows your no-fly until AT LEAST 2021 advice, there will be a new spelling for Delta Air Lines:
        H.I.S.T.O.R.Y….and that will be the least of our economic problems.

        • @RoloT – Thanks for agreeing with my post.

          The rest, is not the point of my post.

          As to my wording of the killer bug – it is. The worst in many lifetimes. For folks to risk lives to simply fill a jet for “fun” is insanity and more.

          Will Delta end if no one flies till 2021?


          I think Chris will have a post to show this in the coming days…

  6. I’m not eager to fly before there’s an effective vaccine but will do it if I have a genuine need to travel more than ~400 miles. I’m currently trying to decide whether I have a genuine need to fly to ATL so I can attend the postponed Masters in November. I’d like to check off my #1 “bucket list” item but am not eager to “kick that bucket.” If the tournament is held and Augusta National allows spectators, I predict that I’ll fly and take my chances.

    Re George’s comments: (1) No one has any idea how many people have died from COVID worldwide and we never will know. We don’t even know how many have died in countries that try to count accurately, that have the ability to do that, and that release their best estimates. Also we’re still in the early innings of this pandemic. (2) His misstatement that “everyone is now assuming [that the number of COVID deaths] is overinflated” tells you all you need to know about the reliability of his data sources. The notion that COVID death totals have been OVERreported is … [insert your preferred adjective].

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