Delta Captain Celebrates Retirement With Chartered Airbus Flight To Hawaii


A Delta Air Lines pilot bid farewell to his career in a memorable fashion by chartering an Airbus A330 neo with friends and family for a 24-hour celebration in Hawaii.

Keith Rosenkranz told Business Insider the retirement flight cost him nearly a year’s salary but was worth it for the special moment. In total, 112 people were onboard the flight including Rosenkranz’s family, college friends, Delta employees, neighbors, and former colleagues from his tenure in the Air Force. Other pilots, namely those who retired during COVID and could not arrange their own retirement celebrations, were also invited on the trip.

Business Insider reported the flight took off from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with a stop in Los Angeles International Airport where the aircraft received a water cannon salute before departing for Kona International Airport. The retirement party marked the end of Rosenkranz’s 33-year career with the airline.

“You can’t put a price on something that was that big,” Rosenkranz told the publication. “You think about being able to go out that way and take all your family and friends on a whirlwind journey. You don’t want to be the richest man in the graveyard one day.”

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.


  1. What an uplifting story!! Good on ya, sir!! Hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I am enjoying mine after back to back aviation careers.

    • Yes, a nice good news sorry for a change, but I am surprised that the charter cost for an A330 flying Dallas to Hawaii could be had for $300k-ish.

  2. I wonder how many people could afford to spend a whole year of their income on any one event? I know I couldn’t, but then I guess I was never in the running to be the “richest man in the graveyard” either.

    • I think that having the plane sitting on the tarmac for 3 days, plus housing 112 people , might have cost him another year! 😂

  3. If that doesn’t indicate that pilots are way over paid nothing will. “Well done captain, very cool, lucky guest, What an uplifting story!! Good on ya, sir!!” A bunch of freaks.

    • What is your occupation so we can tell you you’re overpaid for what you do. If you want the big bucks become an airline captain like he did.

    • Hey, vspeed96480! The generous captain and his fortunate friends already had their water cannon salute at LAX. Neither they nor we needed your envious and grouchy wet blanket cast over this splendid event.

  4. vspeed96480, I hope some day you get your wish and have a minimum wage Captain on your flight. Please let us know so we can be there when you land.

  5. I saw video from onboard the aircraft and the retiring captain was wearing his uniform. Did he actually fly any of the legs of the trip as his last flight for Delta?

  6. To all the senior airline captains who command and operate, arguably, one of the larger and most complex machines every created, in one of the most extreme and unforgiving environments on earth, while holding over a hundred human lives in their hands; is there really such a thing as too high a salary? That said however, the service provided to the average individual passenger is no greater than that of the underpaid flying first officer on a small regional puddle jumper, (i.e. delivering passengers to their destination, alive, unhurt, and possibly on time). The value of the service provided to the airline employer on the other hand (i.e. enabling them to cram as many bodies into a small aluminum tube as is possible), cannot be overstated in terms of corporate survival at almost any cost.