Featured image: Paul Spikers/ GFDL

4/15/2003: Delta Air Lines Launches LCC Song

DALLAS — Today, in 2003, Delta Air Lines' (DL) new low-cost carrier, Song (SG), took to the skies. The inaugural flight departed from New York (JFK) bound for Palm Beach International Airport (PBI).

Delta had previously experimented with the LCC model in the shape of Delta Express. However, mounting pressure from new competitors such as JetBlue (B6) and AirTran (FL) led the airline to rethink its offering.

With a fleet of 36 199-seat Boeing 757-200s, SG began to offer 144 flights per day from its JFK hub to leisure hotspots in Florida. It would later expand the offering to additional Northeastern and West Coast destinations. The airline would eventually serve 16 destinations across the US.

Photo: Med777~commonswiki CC BY-SA 3.0

Passenger Experience

Song was able to launch quickly and easily by repurposing DL's aircraft, flight attendants, booking systems, and airport resources.

Onboard passengers were treated to leather seats and in-seat live television screens and would offer on-demand pay-per-view movies. Inflight entertainment included audio MP3 and trivia games that passengers could play against each other.

On September 14, 2005, DL filed for bankruptcy due to rising fuel costs. As a result, key supporters of Song left the parent company, and the DL could no longer sustain both brands. On February 22, 2006, Song was officially removed from future DL schedules.

Pre-order the 2025 Airways Calendar