Aviation Geeks, Snag a Delta Trading Card Next Time You Fly!

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They’ve been all over social media lately: the shiny, holographic airplane trading cards you can collect from the pilots on your Delta flight. 

While it may come across as this big secret, many travelers might be surprised to learn that these Delta aircraft trading cards have been around for more than two decades. And if it seems like they’re just for kids, fret not: From young first-time flyers to die-hard Delta fans, these cards are for everyone to collect. 

The first time I got a Delta trading card, I had to muster up the courage to ask the flight attendant for one from the pilots. I was told to wait outside the plane as they went to check with the crew in the cockpit. A few moments later, the flight attendant emerged with a sweet Boeing 767 trading card for me and I left the plane a happy camper. 


Delta Trading Card Aircraft FactsDelta Trading Card Aircraft Facts


Whether it’s a family vacation or a honeymoon trip, snagging one of these cards is my favorite collectible memento when I travel with Delta. Flip them around and you’ll even get facts about the aircraft that you’re flying on!

Want to start collecting them yourself? Read on for everything you need to know about these aircraft trading cards and how to get one on your next Delta flight. 


What are Delta Trading Cards? 

These Delta aircraft trading cards are far from new: Delta first started producing them in 2003. Each card features a different Delta aircraft, and pilots carry the cards of the planes they fly to hand out to passengers as a form of customer engagement. 

Over the years, they’ve gained a bit of a cult following, and, thanks to the internet, have undergone a resurgence of visibility recently.

The first edition of the cards featured a limited-edition McDonnell Douglas 11 aircraft. Delta began featuring Airbus and Boeing aircraft like the 747 in their card collection shortly after the airline merged with Northwest Airlines in 2010.


Delta Trading Cards Collection 2021Delta Trading Cards Collection 2021
Courtesy of Delta Air Lines


The cards are redesigned every five years, with the approval of pilots, who are the ones who ultimately get to hand them out to passengers. 

“When they’re not operating some of the coolest jets in the skies, Delta pilots love this special opportunity to share their passion of aviation with our customers using these collectible trading cards; with each featuring a different aircraft in our fleet corresponding to the type of aircraft each pilot flies,” a Delta Air Lines spokesperson told Thrifty Traveler. 

To date, there are a total of six collections of the Delta trading cards, with the current set of 11 cards having been in circulation since 2022. What’s neat about Delta trading cards is how they display details and the specifications of the aircraft featured at the back of each card. 


Delta Air Lines Trading CardsDelta Air Lines Trading Cards


How to Get a Delta Air Lines Trading Card

Delta pilots are the ones who carry these aircraft trading cards, but unless you see a pilot outside of the cockpit, it’s always best to approach a flight attendant first to see if you can ask the pilots for a card. 

The best time to ask for a Delta trading card is when you’re disembarking the plane when it’s easier to step aside so you don’t hold up other passengers. You usually want to approach the flight attendant standing near the cockpit saying goodbye to passengers leaving the aircraft. Since they’re close to the cockpit, it’s easier for them to ask the pilots for you rather than you flagging down another flight attendant at the back of the plane or moving through the cabin.

In my experience, the flight attendants have always been willing to help and go into the cockpit to ask for you. Sometimes they’ll grab a card for you but more often than not, you’ll be invited into into the cockpit yourself to ask the pilots personally for a trading card. Getting to interact with the pilots and take a peak into the cockpit is such a cool experience!

Another Thrifty Traveler team member asked a flight attendant about the trading cards as they were boarding the plane, and the flight attendant got one from the pilots and brought it to them at their seat after boarding was complete. 

Just don’t try to approach the cockpit at takeoff, during your flight, or landing for the sake of safety. The pilots will be focused on flying the aircraft and asking for trading cards during your flight is not appropriate. 


Delta Airbus 330 Trading CardDelta Airbus 330 Trading Card


As long as you ask nicely, you will likely be able to snag a card or two from the pilots. Just be warned that due to popular demand on some flights, some pilots may not always have one to give out. Delta says pilots gave out approximately 1.5 million of them to passengers in 2023 alone – that’s a lot of trading cards! 

If you can’t get one from the pilot on your flight, don’t worry: You can always ask another Delta pilot at the airport. 

After flying into Seoul (ICN) earlier this year, I was directed by a flight attendant to talk to the pilots outside of the aircraft, who happily provided me with two sweet Airbus 330 trading cards to memorialize my dream family trip to Asia. I also have a treasured Boeing 767 trading card from when I proposed to my fiancée in Honolulu (HNL)!


Delta Air Lines Trading Cards FramedDelta Air Lines Trading Cards Framed


Some people will try to sell these Delta airplane cards on eBay for a profit since they are collector’s items. As an aviation enthusiast, I framed a few of these cards from my collection so I could admire them on my wall. Collecting these cards when flying Delta is one of my favorite ways of commemorating my trips. 


Bottom Line

Delta aircraft trading cards have been gaining steam on social media lately, but these cards have been around for years. Collecting them is as easy as asking the pilot on your next Delta flight if they have any cards to give out – just remember to do so respectfully. 

Next time you’re flying Delta, see if you can snag one of these aircraft trading cards for yourself! 


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