When United announced new Wilmington service earlier in the week I initially assumed they meant Wilmington, Delaware but it was actually Wilmington, North Carolina.
I think of service to Delaware as what an airline does when they want to be able to claim they serve all 50 states. There’s no current commercial service to Wilmington, Delaware’s airport.
The last major airline to offer service to New Castle Airport was Delta. They inaugurated CRJ regional jet service June 29, 2006 and ended it September 6, 2007. This allowed them to claim Delta as “the only airline to offer customers service to all 50 states” while in bankrutpcy.
— Wilmington Airport (@FlyWilmILG) August 28, 2014
United launched Wilmington, Delaware service in October 1984. Back then there were 2 million members of Mileage Plus (and the program name had a space between the two words then). They ran a promotion called “50 States in 50 Days” offering unlimited first class domestic travel for a year for those who completed the challenge.
Seventy eight people did it, including golfing great Craig Stadler who had won the Masters Tournament two years earlier. The group consisted of 69 men and 9 women, including one bright enough to buy a ‘Visit USA Pass’ for $860 in Hong Kong allowing unlimited domestic travel on United. Another sent postcards to United from every state as extra proof they had been there.
Every day mileage runners did straight turns off of United’s Boeing 727 flying Denver – Casper, Wyoming.
United ended its service to Wilmington, Delaware in 1991. Shuttle America served the airport for about a year and a half between 1998 and 2000. SkyBus briefly served the airport in 2008. Frontier then served it from 2013 to early 2015. There has been no commercial service since.
— Wilmington Airport (@FlyWilmILG) July 31, 2014
That’s why this project is just cute.