Delta Says Thank You By Painting Every Employee’s Name On An A321

Delta Air Lines has announced that it will pay $1.6 billion in profit sharing to its worldwide employees. To match the occasion, the carrier has also unveiled a “thank you” Airbus A321 that features the names of all 90,000 members of staff.

Delta Thank You A321
Delta is in the mood to show its appreciation for its employees across the globe. Photo: Delta Air Lines

All about the billions

It has been a day of billions for the Atlanta-based airline. The company had just pledged that it will contribute $1 billion to become the first carbon-neutral airline.

Now, it has shared that it will pay over $1 billion in profit sharing for the sixth year in a row. According to a Delta press release, the payout is a record for a United States-based business. For most of those eligible, the payout will be 16.7 percent of their salary.

Delta Thank You A321 front
The plane was made at Delta’s print shop and hangar in Atlanta. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared his appreciation for his company’s staff. He feels that they all deserve the share of the profit that the company has received.


“Delta would be nothing without our 90,000 people worldwide,” Ed Bastian.

“They deserve all the credit for our success, and we are proud to recognize their extraordinary work with a $1.6 billion payout – marking the sixth year in a row that Delta’s profit sharing has exceeded $1 billion.”

Delta $1.6 billion payout infographic
How Delta’s profit sharing is split across its vast network. Photo: Delta Air Lines

In it together

Meanwhile, Joanne Smith, Delta’s executive vice president and chief people officer believes the airline’s employees are what sets it apart from its counterparts. She said that the profit-sharing day is one of the most important times of the year for the company.

Delta Thank You A321 Names
Some of the employee names imprinted on the aircraft. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

The executive summarized this is because the people of the firm are sharing in the success that they made possible through their hard work and dedication to serve customers.

Delta message A321
A special message painted on the side of the Airbus A321 in dedication to all of Delta’s members of staff and passengers. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

Homegrown triumph

The customer A321’s livery features all 90,000 employee names and is matched with some special words.

The message reads:

“Dedicated to the world’s best employees and customers.”

The aircraft was designed and put together by Delta’s in-house team at the Delta TechOps print shop and hangar in Atlanta. The workers placed together 48 custom decal panels, which took over a week to complete.

TechOps painter Joel Freeland felt honored to be part of a special project such as this. It is a gift for the employees, which was also helped to be delivered by the employees working together.

Delta Thank You Airbus A321
Delta holds 98 Airbus A321s within its fleet. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

Staff appreciation can go a long way, especially as roles within the aviation industry can be extremely challenging. Altogether, Delta will be heading into the weekend proud of its billion-dollar accomplishments.

Simple Flying reached out to Delta for comment on the grand gestures for its employees. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What are your thoughts on Delta’s special plane and the $1.6 billion payout? Let us know what you think in the comment section.


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Gerry S

I will absolutely affirm Deltas opinion that their employees are the world's best. From ticket agents to flight attendants to customer relations to flight crew's, they are above reproach. Absolutely the best of the best. I too, would be proud to plaster their names on my aircraft. Appreciation is critical for any well run organization and Delta certainly does appreciate its workers. They ARE the reason it is number one in my book. Well done, Delta.

David C.

Well its a nice gesture, but it’s also a great marketing ploy. Still, in a world where large companies don’t often give a flying fajita about the front line staff, its refreshing to see a company as large as Delta sharing the good times with them. (I do fly delta a lot, they have happier employees for the most part..)

Richard Johnson

That is good that Delta is recognizing their employee’s. Sometimes that helps them to go the extra mile. I think now Delta should recognize their million milers on the next paint scheme.


I don’t think anyone except staff should be celebrated for that


I agree, frequent fliers get their rewards and appreciation in the form of priority boarding, lounges and a load of other benefits. It’s not a lot of work flying often; and however stressful flying is for you, it doesn’t compare to the stress that the crew and other employees probably go through. It’s much more work flying a plane than just sitting there and watching movies or sleeping for a few hours.


Thank you Delta for always believing in the fact that your people are your success. So very proud to be a retired member of this family. Remember when the employees bought the 767 The Spirit of Delta. Well the Spirit of Delta was the people then and is the spirit now. Well done Delta Airlines and congratulations to the employees who have earned this honor – their wings.


There seems to be a typo. You have mentioned 9000 employees but it should be 90000 employees.


This is something every company should be doing. Delta has gone into the trouble of printing every single employee’s name on that plane, no matter if they are the CEO or a pilot or a flight attendant. It shows that to Delta management, the employees are not just numbers on a spreadsheet, but actual human beings. And this also makes Delta a better airline — if the staff feel appreciated, their jobs aren’t just chores, and they will put effort into them. Happier staff = better customer experience = better airline.


The 64 million-dollar question is why is this not more common practice, and not just in aviation. The only outstanding examples I can remember are David Garrett Jr (Delta in the 70s) and Janne Carlzon (SAS in the 80s). Why so few, unless anyone can point to others? My hunch is that today’s leaders and management are taught to focus on shareholder value and profits regardless of the long-term costs and degradation of the value of the product or service. The easiest costs to control or slash in a crisis (a crisis created by the leadership team’s myopic focus on… Read more »


Delta should give the employees the pension plan they stole from them in bankruptcy. Delta could massively cut carbon emissions by using turboprops on all Delta Connection flights under 250 miles.

JAYARAM Tamilselvan


Penny O'Dell

I am so proud of my DELTA! A very happy retiree and happy for each employee and their dedication to a great company. #GODELTA