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.


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. 

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, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.