Fifty years on, Delta’s DASH is the most dynamic US cargo product


Delta Cargo is celebrating the 50th anniversary of DASH, its same-day express shipping service for small packages sent within the US.

Since its launch, DASH has grown to be one of Delta Cargo’s most popular cargo products, fostering the launch of a range of innovative DASH products that deliver heavy equipment, life-saving organs for transplant and more.

“Delta was one of first airlines to offer a same-day express shipping option in the US  and today it is one of our most popular products and perhaps the one for which we are best known,” said Andy Kirschner, Delta’s Director – Cargo Sales Americas.

“Over 40% of domestic cargo that we transport annually is carried as DASH, and we carry everything from wedding dresses, films reels, trophies, movie props and human organs for transplant, to passports and other urgent documents.”

Bert Mesa, Vice President – Global Field Operations at MNX Global Logistics, said DASH is invaluable to his business.

“At MNX, our customers rely on our precision logistics services to deliver life-saving therapies to patients and mission-critical parts to help businesses succeed. When every moment matters, we need more than just a provider, we need a partner. And with Delta DASH, we have a partner that enables us to deliver on the speed, precision, efficiency and rigor that our customers demand.”

Let’s take a look at how Dash has emerged over the years.

DASH was launched on October 15, 1970

It initially started as Delta Expedited Package Service (DEPS). In June 1971, the service was renamed Delta Air Lines Special Handling (DASH) and expanded to all of Delta’s US cities.

It’s Delta Cargo’s most popular product

In 2019, Delta carried more than 1.3 million DASH shipments. DASH is Delta’s most popular US cargo product (excluding US mail).

DASH Critical moves life-saving shipments

Delta Cargo carries a weekly average of 15 Lifeguard shipments (time-sensitive heart and other organs) and 800 life-saving human organs for transplant through DASH Critical, which was launched in 2017. Delta Cargo said the product’s signature bright pink box is easily identified for urgent shipments.

Atlanta is the top airport for DASH shipments

Nearly 50,000 DASH shipments were shipped from Atlanta in 2019, closely followed by Los Angeles and New York-JFK.

DASH innovation continues

Last year, Delta launched DASH Door-to-Door for first mile/last mile, same-day delivery straight to the customer. This expanded to include the delivery of heavy goods earlier this year.


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