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Delta Airlines 707s?

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  • Delta Airlines 707s?

    I am having a friendly argument or disagreement with a friend of mine, and I'm betting I'm right. I'm thinking that this forum is the right place to settle this thing once and for all.

    He claims that he once flew on a Delta Airlines 707. (Boeing) I'm telling him I don't think so. He swears upside down that he did. I keep trying to tell him that I don't think Delta ever flew 707's.

    He says sure they did, claiming 707's were as American as apple pie.

    I keep telling him he may have flown on a Delta 727, 737, 747, 757, or 767, but not a Delta 707.

    He says no, that he knows the difference between a 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767.

    So I asked him if he can remember how many engines the plane had. He says 4. So I tell him OK well then it had to be a 747.

    He insists it was not a 747.

    So then I muddy the waters for him some more by suggesting that he may have flown on a Delta DC-8 (Douglas, 4 engines) rather than a 707. He's not budging from his 707 stance.

    So then I throw another curve ball at him. I explained to him that perhaps he flew on a 4 engine Convair 880, as I recalled that Delta flew 880's at one time, although I'm not sure if they flew them at the same time they flew DC-8's. Well he had never heard of an 880.

    So OK all you aviation experts here, what's the scoop on this? I need a unanimous verdict on this. Did Delta ever fly 707's??? Even if only one or two??? I'll eat my hat if they did! I will be showing my friend this thread (either way) if it begins to garner any replies.

    I can't find any evidence on this site that they did- I can't find any pictures what so ever on this site of a 707 in Delta livery!

    If Delta truly never flew 707's then that in itself begs a big question- WHY NOT? Why would Delta snub Boeing and the 707? Is there any explanation for this? Was Douglas Aircraft offering Delta execs free blow jobs under their desks or something to keep Delta exclusively in DC-8's and out of 707's or what? I do find it extremely strange or fishy as to why a big airline like Delta didn't add the famous 707 to their fleet.

    Well let the argument begin. lol... I say they never flew 707's. I never gave it a thought before, but now I'm also curious as to why they never purchased 707's. I know they had DC-8's!
    Last edited by Rick G; 2014-07-27, 23:58. Reason: spelling errors

  • #2
    This describes the Delta historic fleet

    Convair CV-880
    Douglas DC-8-51
    Boeing 757-200
    Boeing 747-100
    Lockheed L-1011 TriStar
    McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10
    Douglas DC-8-71
    Boeing 757-200
    McDonnell Douglas DC-9-3
    Boeing 737-200
    McDonnell Douglas DC-9-50
    Boeing 717-200/MD-90-30
    Airbus A310-200/300
    Boeing 767-300ER
    Lockheed L-1011 TriStar
    Boeing 767-400ER
    Boeing 727-200
    Boeing 757-200
    McDonnell Douglas MD-11
    777-200ER (on Asian routes)
    Boeing 767-400ER (on European routes)
    Boeing 767-200
    Boeing 757-200
    Boeing 767-300
    Boeing 737-200
    McDonnell Douglas MD-88
    Boeing 737-300
    Boeing 737-800
    *Delta operated the DC-10 twice, once on lease from United before the L-1011s could be delivered, and again when Delta acquired Western Airlines in 1987.

    **Delta experimented with Airbus A310 aircraft for two to three years after acquiring the planes from Pan Am. Initially Delta was impressed enough with the aircraft to order more of the same model, but these too were eventually withdrawn from service by the mid 1990s.

    ***Delta originally had DC-9-30s from the 1970s through 1992. Delta sold some of their DC-9-30s back to McDonnell Douglas who sold them to ValuJet, forming ValuJet's initial fleet. ValuJet would eventually become Delta's main Atlanta-based rival, AirTran Airways. However, Delta inherited a fleet of -30s in 2008 when they merged with Northwest Airlines. Two of these, N3322L and N3324L, had been delivered new to Delta in 1967.

    Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines are the only surviving U.S. airlines that operated the Convair 880, still the fastest family of subsonic passenger aircraft ever, and only behind supersonic carriers such as the Concorde and the Tu-144 in speed.

    Delta L-1011 TriStar aircraft included the long range series 500 model that was flown on international routes.

    Why didn't Delta order B707's ?

    I would assume that it would have caused problems having two different types in the fleet, three if you count the faster Convair 880. Mechanics would have to be trained, spares stored and contracts maintained. We might see the 707 as an iconic aircraft these days but back then it was just another aircraft in competition with the DC8. Delta quite simply chose the DC8 most likely because of a deal that they got. Remember, this was the beginning of the four jet era and competition was fierce.

    To get back to the original question though.

    No, Delta never used Boeing 707's. The only way that I can think that your friend may have thought he was on a Delta 707 would have been if Delta subcontracted a 707 from another airline to replace maybe a technical faulted original aircraft. The flight would have operated on a Delta flight number and quite possibly with a Delta crew depending on the terms of the lease.

    A similar thing happened to me once where I was scheduled and ticketed to fly with (I think) Monarch. Their aircraft went technical and I eventually flew on a DC10 from another airline (I forget which). The flight deck crew was from the other airline, the cabin crew were a mix of Monarch and the other airline and we flew on a Monarch flight number.......and I got to fly on a DC10 which was a bonus which made up for the delay.
    Last edited by brianw999; 2014-07-28, 10:04.
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


    • #3
      No 707s.

      As Brian says, in those early years the 707 was not "iconic", merely a DC-8 competitor. Some airlines went for one type, others for the other. A few went for both such as Braniff and Pan American. Some Douglas customers took the shorter haul 720 as a kind of consolation to Boeing, such as Eastern and United. It's true that within the US the 707 had more success, but overseas many airlines started long haul jet equipment with DC-8s and were loyal Douglas customers for decades (eg. SAS, KLM, Alitalia, Swissair, Air Canada......).

      The Convair 880 is a bit of a red herring here. This airliner was a poor product and not a commercial success. It was not designed as a competitor to the 707 or DC-8, though superficially it was similar to those two. It was more a smaller capacity (and 5-abreast) and shorter range airliner, a forerunner to the 727 perhaps.


      • #4
        Angling a few degrees off topic. The Convair CV880 was designed to compete with the Boeing 707/720 by being faster but with slightly less seats. Cost and the fewer seats sealed its fate though. There were only 65 examples built and the production line closed after 3 years. The airlines apparantly weren't too keen on the 2 x 3 seating pattern either. Passengers however even in economy were treated to a 38" seat pitch. Comfort mattered in those days unlike today !
        The CV990 stretched version was equally ill received.

        Bloody tragic really...because I remember the 880/990 family as being the most wonderfully noisy, dirty exhaust beasties ever to fly. Todays politically correct greenies would have a collective heart attack if the 880/990's were to come back !!

        ...and finally. The CV990 was known as the Coronado, but it wasn't an official Convair name. Swissair came up with that one naming it after an island off the San Diego coast and where the first 990 landed.
        Last edited by brianw999; 2014-07-28, 12:48.
        If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


        • #5
          OK... I think I've seen enough. I don't think I'll be needing to eat my hat now, ha ha.

          Thanks so much Brian and halcyon' for your expertise and the kindness of your replies.



          • #6
            ....and at first glance (or from a long way), it's not easy to tell a 707 from a DC-8 and Convair...

            ...and was the person old enough WHEN they were flying to know or care that it's anything but a big shiny (or should I say sooty) jet that goes ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!
            Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.


            • #7
              I believe it's a stretch to say the 880 was designed to compete with the 707 and DC-8. The 880 was inspired mainly by Howard Hughes whose TWA saw the need for a slightly smaller and shorter range airliner than the 707 (which TWA had already ordered). Partly as a result Boeing came up with the 720, which was sold to carriers like American, United, Western and others.

              The reason the 880 was a clunker was that 1) Hughes changed the requirements of the design he wanted several times, and 2) Convair/General Dynamics were hopeless at their project management and financial control of the 880 project. Each airframe had to be rebuilt from the ground up at the manufacturer's expense.

              If the 880 was a clunker, the 990 was ten times worse. It was designed to placate American for going with the 720. American got the 990s for virtually nothing. Textbooks often refer to these airliners being the fastest subsonics built, but that was the triumph of mystique over experience. They were never faster and were often slower than other jet airliners.

              Which was all a shame given Convair's excellent 240/340/440 series of piston engine airliners.

              Reference : "The World's Worst Aircraft", by James Gilbert, 1975