Kenny G performs during the 8th annual Jet Drag for charity on Friday at Delta Air Lines’ Atlanta headquarters. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Kenny G adds sax appeal to Delta’s 2017 jet drag

After an impromptu performance on a Delta Air Lines jet last month, saxophonist Kenny G provided a musical accompaniment Friday to the Atlanta carrier’s annual “jet drag” for charity.

The event features 20-person teams of employees pulling a 167,000 pound Boeing 757 for 20 feet at Delta’s TechOps maintenance center at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

VIDEO: THE 2015 DELTA JET DRAG

Delta Jet Drag 2015

The teams solicit donations and compete for the fastest time. Delta aims to raise $2.25 million for the American Cancer Society from the annual jet drag and other events.

About 100 teams competed this year, most composed of Delta employees, including a team of executives. Also competing were a team of Atlanta airport firefighters, a team of diamond-level elite Delta frequent fliers and others.

“Who has not been affected by cancer?” said Kelley Moore, a Delta airport customer service director.

Kenny G, known for hits such as 1992’s “Forever In Love” and 1986’s “Songbird,” last month was aboard a Delta flight on which flight attendant Jane Mitchell was discussing raising money for the Cancer Society. He was inspired to help her, and after passengers contributed about $2,000 he walked up and down the aisle playing his sax. A video went viral.

Kenny G holds one of his teammates, Dede Pittman,  during the 8th annual Jet Drag on Friday, May 5, 2017. 
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Mitchell’s daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 32, underwent treatment and died in 2015.

“I was surprised that she shared such a candid story with me,” said Kenny G.

The performer was invited to Friday’s jet drag, where he reunited with Mitchell. He performed at a Relay for Life event where employees remember cancer victims, then joined a team pulling a jet.

Upon arriving at Delta’s maintenance center, he described the experience as “a backstage pass to see what happens at a major airline.”

AJC Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi keeps you updated on the latest news about Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Lines and the airline industry in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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