Delta Air Lines Celebrates 85 Years in Columbia

COLUMBIA, S.C. (August 8, 2019) – Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE hereafter) is excited to celebrate 85 years of continuous service by Delta Air Lines (Delta hereafter) in Columbia. The airline’s first passenger flight departed Columbia on August 8, 1934.

“Delta Air Lines has always been a great partner,” said CAE Executive Director, Mike Gula. “We congratulate them on this incredible milestone of continuous air service in Columbia and also thank them for providing our travelers with such excellent service. We’re looking forward to many more years of that same great service as well as continued growth at CAE.”

Delta first began serving Columbia passengers at Owens Field Airport (now Jim Hamilton-LB Owens Airport) on a 7-passenger Stinson Model T airplane with a flying speed of 100 mph. Delta took delivery of this aircraft type in June 1934 and operated a total of six planes, but later retired them in 1937.

The airline’s first passenger flight arrived in Columbia on that August 8th morning to complete Delta’s new trans-southern route which stretched from Dallas, Texas in the west to Charleston, South Carolina in the east. Stops were made throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

This trans-southern route was of major importance in the early development of Delta serving as the foundation of its growth into one of the world’s leading airlines. A roundtrip ticket from Columbia to Dallas, in 1934, cost $87.39. The flight to Dallas made eight stops and took an elapsed time of over 20 hours. Passengers could receive a refund if cancelled two hours prior to the flight.

Air Travel has changed a great deal over the years – passengers dressed to impress with men wearing suits and women in their finest outfits. Air travel used to be only for the wealthy but became very affordable over the years with the introduction of economy class and low-fare airlines.

The anniversary will be celebrated with refreshments at Delta’s gate area throughout the day.

About the Columbia Metropolitan Airport:
Now providing nonstop service to 10 major cities including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, New York City (LGA), Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. (Dulles and Reagan National). Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) continues to be a major economic driver for the Midlands region. Welcoming over 1.2 million passengers in 2018, CAE is served by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines and is a regional cargo hub for UPS. For more information, please visit


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