< Reveal sidebar

Delta Pilot Charters Entire A330 for Retirement Send-Off

One captain took his retirement flight to a whole new level.

A Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-900 at Tokyo Haneda International Airport (Photo: Shutterstock)

Airline pilot retirement send-offs are often met with plenty of fanfare, including water canon salutes along with free tickets for family on the final flight. But one captain took his retirement party to a whole new level.

On Tuesday, Delta flight 8871 flew from Dallas/Fort Worth to Kona, Hawaii via Los Angeles. This flight served as a retirement trip for the captain. But instead of being a regular passenger-carrying flight, it was a charter.

According to some reports and air traffic control chatter, Captain Keith Rosenkranz is retiring after a 33-year career at Delta. To celebrate, he chartered an entire Airbus A330-900neo for a day-long trip to Hawaii.

Rosenkranz is a former U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter pilot and author of a book called ‘Vipers in the Storm: Diary of a Gulf War Fighter Pilot.’

An Overnight in Hawaii

Per Flightradar24 tracking data, the chartered aircraft was N411DX. On February 27, it flew from Dallas/Fort Worth to Los Angeles where it made a roughly one-hour stop. Then, the aircraft departed Los Angeles for Kona, Hawaii, arriving at 2:28 p.m. local time.

On February 28, the A330neo completed the same routing on the return, arriving in Dallas/Fort Worth at 10:10 p.m. local time. The aircraft returned to revenue service after ferrying back to Los Angeles later that evening.

A Grand Send-Off

On Twitter/X, aviation inside xJonNYC shared that approximately 100 passengers were onboard the flight, including Captain Rosenkranz’s family and friends. Delta’s A330-900neo aircraft are configured to seat up to 281 passengers.

Rumors shared by xJonNYC state that, in addition to Rosenkranz’s family and friends, also onboard were other Delta captains and their families. In 2020, many airline pilots were not able to participate in a proper retirement send-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like most airlines, Delta charters its aircraft to sports teams and for other special events. These types of charters don’t come cheap though, sometimes reaching hourly rates between $30,000 and $40,000. On its website, Delta says, “charter pricing is based upon a number of parameters such as: desired travel dates, aircraft type, fuel burn (i.e. gallons per hour), block hours flown, aircraft repositioning (i.e. ferrying) required, ground handling costs and catering costs.”

Ryan Ewing
Follow Ryan


  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

Subscribe to AirlineGeeks' Daily Check-In

Receive a daily dose of the airline industry's top stories along with market insights right in your inbox.

Related Stories

ABX Air Pilots Choose Cooperation Over Confrontation

The exhibit hall at the Omni Hotel here was filled in mid-February with booths representing airlines, logistics providers, airports, truck…

Spirit To Trim Pilot Workforce

Ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) Spirit plans to furlough approximately 260 pilots later this year, according to a news release issued on…

U.S. Airline Pilot Hiring Stabilizing

After years of aggressive growth, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has corroborated messaging from multiple U.S. regional airlines that…