For some people, love really is in the air! It’s been a big few days for one couple who celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary on Wednesday and then retired one week later. The married couple retired from Delta Air Lines after a combined 71 years of service. Both pilots fly the Airbus A330 for Delta, and they operated a final flight from New York to Milan and back last week.
A farewell flight
In perhaps the cutest aviation news you’ll hear all year, Joe and Margrit Fahan have flown their final flight together. Joe has worked at Delta for 36.5 years while his wife Margrit has 35 years of service with the airline. The married couple flew their final flight together, operating flight 172 from JFK to Milan on Tuesday, returning on flight 173 a few days later.
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The couple celebrated their final trip by spending time in Venice and on the shores of Lake Como before heading home. While they sipped cocktails and enjoyed their time in Italy, the trip was tinged with sadness. In a video posted to their Instagram, the couple called the retirement trip “bittersweet” and “not without heartache.”
Upon arrival back in JFK airport, the couple were greeted by a water cannon salute to mark the occasion. The couple shared later that the tribute had previously been denied in the run-up to the flight due to health and safety concerns but eventually got permission when they were just 10 miles from the final approach. The last-minute salute was a final surprise, and thank you for their service. As Joe commented in a video after landing, “I’m not crying, you’re crying.”
What does the future hold?
Although Joe and Margrit have retired from Delta, they haven’t retired from flying altogether. The couple has confirmed they will be back in the air soon. However, they will not be operating the “mighty A330″.
The couple hasn’t confirmed if they planned on retiring this year or if they took up Delta’s offer for early retirement. Since the couple has said they plan on continuing flying, they are potentially two of the 2,300 pilots who have opted for the voluntary leave scheme.
Delta retirement package
Delta Pilots who accepted the scheme will receive 58 hours of pay per month for 36 months or until they turn 65, whichever comes first. They would also qualify for medical and travel benefits. However, Delta has previously confirmed that pilots on the scheme would start to retire from September 1st, which would mean Joe and Margrit are probably not part of this scheme.
Having said that, the fact they have already worked at Delta for 35 years and are retiring on the same flight could suggest they opted for an early retirement package leaving them free to pursue other options. This is a difficult time for airlines, and many staff, not just pilots, are facing furloughs.
Whether they retired early, or always planned to go now, we wish Joe and Margrit the very best for their future. Hopefully, they will be back in the sky soon. After 28 years of marriage, perhaps the secret to a happy marriage is to pilot a huge A330 together! Or perhaps the secret is just working for Delta, as this couple found!