Delta unveils plane dedicated to Braves and World Series championship

Braves and Delta representatives pose for photographs during a ceremony that revealed the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Braves and Delta representatives pose for photographs during a ceremony that revealed the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Delta Air Lines dedicated a Boeing 737-800 aircraft to the Atlanta Braves to commemorate their 2021 World Series win.

Dozens of Delta employees, from pilots to flight attendants, watched as the curtain lowered, revealing a Braves World Champions emblem near the aircraft’s nose. The recent ceremony was held in a hangar at Delta’s TechOps maintenance unit, whose employees painted the plane with the emblem also found throughout Truist Park.

“People asked me when I was younger what I wanted to do and if I dreamed of being an airline CEO, and I said no, I never even flew on an airplane until I was 25 years old. I wanted to be a baseball player,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian, who remembers his parents taking him to Yankee Stadium to see Mickey Mantle.

“In a fitting sort of way, kind of that childhood dream comes back to me today.”

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Delta employees Rebecca Yosseph (L), Lee Shreve, and Kim Bosma (R) take a selfie in front of the Delta Air Lines jet before a ceremony that revealed the plane dedicated to the Braves World Series championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Delta employees Rebecca Yosseph (L), Lee Shreve, and Kim Bosma (R) take a selfie in front of the Delta Air Lines jet before a ceremony that revealed the plane dedicated to the Braves World Series championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Combined ShapeCaption
Delta employees Rebecca Yosseph (L), Lee Shreve, and Kim Bosma (R) take a selfie in front of the Delta Air Lines jet before a ceremony that revealed the plane dedicated to the Braves World Series championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Delta has partnered with the Braves for 56 years starting in 1966, and this is the fourth plane Delta has dedicated to the Braves — Bastian joked Delta has plenty more aircraft for future Braves World Series wins. In addition to commemorative planes in honor of Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones, a plane was dedicated to Hank Aaron, who died in 2021 and spent 21 seasons with the Braves.

“We lost Hank before that last season, and in a lot of ways that carried us through,” said Derek Schiller, Braves CEO and president. “It was really an inspirational part. We knew that he was looking down on us and was doing everything he could to help us win that World Championship.”

Bastian recalled greeting the team after they flew the World Series trophy home to Atlanta. Schiller continued the story by describing that “euphoric” night with the “right partner carrying us home.”

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Chief Executive Officer of Delta Air Lines Ed Bastian holds a 2021 World Series ring that was presented to him during a ceremony that revealed the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Chief Executive Officer of Delta Air Lines Ed Bastian holds a 2021 World Series ring that was presented to him during a ceremony that revealed the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Chief Executive Officer of Delta Air Lines Ed Bastian holds a 2021 World Series ring that was presented to him during a ceremony that revealed the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

During the ceremony, Schiller gave the gift of a World Series ring to Delta.

“This achievement is really for all of us,” Schiller said after the ceremony. “It’s as much a Braves achievement as it is a Delta achievement as it is for our entire community. Now to watch that logo be flown around the country, it just gives me chills.”

Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies said his family and friends fly Delta when coming to the U.S. to see him play. He said the emblem on the plane was “one of the coolest things I’ve seen.”

“It brings back a lot of memories, and all I can say is we want to do more things like this,” he said.

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Braves mascot Blooper poses for photographs before a ceremony that revealed the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Braves mascot Blooper poses for photographs before a ceremony that revealed the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Combined ShapeCaption
Braves mascot Blooper poses for photographs before a ceremony that revealed the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Since 1985, team manager Brian Snitker has flown with the team on Delta charters in various coaching roles and said some flight attendants still serving the team have been doing so for decades.

“They’re more than flight attendants, they’re close friends. We’ve watched each other raise our children and now grandkids,” Snitker said.

At the event in the Delta hangar, former Major League Baseball player and Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson led giveaways of signed baseballs, Braves tickets, World Series jerseys and replicas of the Braves World Champions plane for Delta employees.

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People watch a curtain fall that reveals the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves World Series championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

People watch a curtain fall that reveals the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves World Series championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Combined ShapeCaption
People watch a curtain fall that reveals the Delta Air Lines jet dedicated to the Braves World Series championship Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Some Braves fans and Delta customers will travel on the plane as it flies on routes around the country.

“This has been a hard year, a hard couple of years,” Bastian said after the ceremony. “The championship that was brought back to the Braves — to our town — lifted the spirits of our entire community.”