Tale Of The Tails // 9 Days, 16 Stops, 4 Continents, 1 777
By: Captain Mike D., Delta 777 Captain, Atlanta
Everyday, Delta’s fleet of Boeing 777-200LR (Long Range) aircraft — the workhorse of our ultra long-haul flights — depart to destinations around the world connecting friends, families and businesses. Starting in Minneapolis, Minn., we followed one of these revolutionary aircraft for nine days as it traversed the globe to give you an in-depth look at what it really takes to fly. It’s a Tale of a Tail: Ship 7109.
Ship 7109, which came off the assembly line in March 2010, carried nearly 3,900 passengers to destinations as far as Johannesburg, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and Sydney during its nine-day voyage; in fact, this plane clocked more than 168 hours and 86,000 miles on its “aerodometer.” During that time, 50 pilots sat at the controls of the Boeing jet that weighs nearly three-quarters of a million pounds fully fueled. Each of those pilots have an average of 25 years of flying experience with Delta and more than half got their wings in the military.
While the 777-200LR seats 269 passengers, it also has room for thousands of pounds of cargo and the aircraft’s global reach means flowers, food and pharmaceutical products and other items are delivered in a matter of hours. During this Tale of a Tail, Ship 7109 carried more than 420,000 pounds of cargo and airmail, including: gold bars; fresh cut Colombian-grown flowers delivered to Johannesburg and Dubai; berries picked in Mexico and flown via Los Angeles International Airport to Tokyo; and tropical fish from the Philippines enroute to Southern California.
Ship 7109 and the rest of the fleet fly customers from every corner of the globe who speak a variety of languages and a team of Language of Destination flight attendants help these passengers during their travels. Of the 162 inflight crew members who boarded the aircraft during the nine-day voyage, 37 were fluent in Japanese, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic and Cantonese, among others. They kept our passengers safe and comfortable while serving more than 6,100 meals as well as countless drinks and snacks.
And if you’re wondering how much fuel Ship 7109 used to fly 86,600 miles, it was just over 375,000 gallons. But with the aircraft carrying an average of 244 passengers on each flight, the widebody jet got more than 55 miles per passenger per gallon – better than many hybrid vehicles on the road (and when was the last time your car could drive to Johannesburg?).