I've been in and out of trading card game culture throughout my entire life. I hopped on them early when games like Yu-Gi-Oh! came out when I was a kid and made the jump to other games like Magic: The Gathering. As of this writing, I'm currently obsessed with the Digimon Trading Card Game.
All this to say that I'm well aware of the collector lifestyle that includes buying expensive booster boxes and even hunting down single copies for cards at reasonable prices.
But I never would have imagined that people would be out there doing the same for Delta Airlines. Yes, that Delta Airlines.
Apparently, there's an entire trading card scene for Delta Airlines. Some folks are just discovering it, but it turns out that they've been around for a while. You'll never believe how people are getting their hands on them.
Here's everything you ought to know about these cards.
Delta Airlines has sets of trading cards that you can start collecting on your next flight.
A viral TikTok with nearly 15 million views (as of this writing) started bringing these special cards to people's attention. In late November 2023, TikToker @sarowarrr posted a video in which they collected their first Delta Airlines trading card.
In the video, OP goes up to the captain of his Delta Airlines plane and asks him for a card. Shockingly, the pilot walks him through the process.
At the time, the captain didn't have any on him, but he pointed OP toward his first officer to see if they had any left. Sure enough, OP and his flying companion were able to deplane with their first set of Delta Airlines trading cards.
There are a couple of interesting things we can glean from that interaction. For one, the pilot was totally willing to give out cards if he had any, indicating that he was used to the request. Not only that, but he had also run out of cards on his person, meaning that enough people had already asked and cleaned him out of his stock!
Delta Airlines themselves have even posted about the cards in the past. Based on what we've seen, you can always ask the pilot for a card (just don't do it while they're flying).
As for the cards themselves, they represent different models of aircraft that Delta Airlines uses. They even come complete with a holographic finish for some real collector's value.
According to some, these cards have been available on flights since 2004. New versions of the cards are released every year, with people amassing collections based on how often they travel.
Reportedly, other airlines like American Airlines and Frontier also offer their own cards.
And like any trading card scene, there's even a secondary market for them. People sell some of their Delta Airlines cards on sites like eBay. Newer cards are less expensive, but cards from earlier generations can fetch a pretty penny! As of this writing, there's an entire set of cards on sale for $3000 with some users keeping an eye on the listing!
The trading card collection grind is no joke on a good day, but if Delta Airlines is any indication, everyone seems to have their own little card culture!