Photo Credit: Angelica "Jelly" Ellis
Inside The Gathering Spot's All-Black Chartered Delta Flight
Houston native Angelica “Jelly” Ellis is an alumna of the University of Miami currently living in the Washington, DC area. As a Marketing Manager for an Accounting firm, she is responsible for marketing programs that support Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.
Perks for members
In August, Angelica flew on a special chartered all-Black Delta flight. All of the passengers, as well as the pilots and flight crew, were Black. The flight was an event coordinated between Delta Airlines executives and The Gathering Spot, a Black-owned country club that has a nationwide presence in cities such as Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.
“I joined the club earlier this year and have since co-founded a travel club within it, for like-minded members who enjoy exploring, adventure, and immersing themselves into unfamiliar cultures,” said Angelica. “Traveling and supporting Black businesses are some of my biggest passions so it made perfect sense to join the trip for the opportunity to meet new people, participate in Black excellence and create unique memories.”
The experience commemorated the grand opening of their newest location in Los Angeles, CA. Along with a chartered flight, the celebration included a complete takeover of the Dream Hollywood Hotel, networking opportunities, receptions, dinners, hiking, sightseeing, pool time, and a gala featuring recording artist DVSN.
“I appreciated the intentional attention to detail, especially when it came to supporting Black-owned businesses during our experience. Uplifting Black-owned businesses is a constant thread in my content so it was wonderful to be exposed to companies such as Fleurs et Sel cookies, Scotch Boyz Hot Sauce, and Partake Cookies, all Black-owned businesses with various footprints across the country. There were also a few larger sponsors that provided products for our trip including Grey Goose and Coca-Cola.”
One of Angelica’s favorite memorable moments of the flight was enjoying Delta Airlines’ newest 30,000-ft. Sky Club with a private reception led by the Delta executives. It featured Black-owned businesses, an extensive breakfast buffet, a mimosa station, live music, and access to an open-air Sky Deck that had unique views of the terminal.
But the best thing about the flight was having the rare opportunity to fly with an entire plane full of people who looked like her, not once but twice.
“The all-Black flight crew (pilots and flight attendants, etc.) were the same Delta employees on the flights both to and from Los Angeles to Atlanta. This is extremely rare in commercial air travel, and the fact that the crew remembered our names and dining preferences, and also maintained excellent service gave a sense of familiarity and comfort. Certain personal touches, such as being called ‘Queen’ while sitting in First Class, were especially memorable.”
“Like many aspects of United States history, there was a time when African Americans were excluded from safely traveling about the nation (by law, economic barriers, and threats of violence). The Negro Motorist Green Book, published from the 1930s to 1960s, was a literal life-saving resource to the Black community. It is truly amazing to witness how much has changed in the travel industry over the past 50 years and how far we’ve come as a people to experience luxury travel.”
Loved on social media
Since the flight, Angelica’s videos showcasing the event have garnered over 3 million views collectively, on dozens of Black travel TikTok and Instagram pages, with over half a million views on her TikTok feed alone. Angelica believes her videos have been so popular due to the fact that they show something seldom seen in the travel space.
“There’s an underlying sense of pride when you are a part of over 200 Black passengers moving as a unit through the airport, but also the pilots, flight attendants, and Delta executives that flew with us. We don’t often occupy these spaces in large numbers, which is why I believe the videos struck a chord and had so much virality amongst the Black travel community. Additionally, there’s a source of comfort and familiarity when you don’t feel the need to code switch, can use AAVE, and are simultaneously professionals, entrepreneurs, and business leaders; the trip personified Black excellence.”
Although the trip was quick, it was packed with activities. In addition to networking receptions, cocktail hours, hiking at Runyon Canyon, and a tour of The Gathering Spot’s newest location, attendees spent time lounging at the Dream Hollywood’s rooftop pool, visiting local spots like In-N-Out Burger, shopping on Rodeo Drive, and a culminating gala where DVSN performed.
The future -
Some of Angelica’s favorite destinations she has visited in the past include Agra, India; Jaipur, India; Tokyo, Japan; and Ambergris Caye, Belize.
“I recently interviewed Dr. Gina Paige of AfricanAncestry.com who spoke extensively about reconnecting with the heritage that was stolen from our ancestors, DNA testing, and traveling back to the Motherland to gain a deeper sense of self. That conversation has inspired me to return to Africa and reconnect.”
You can follow Angelica’s travels via Instagram or TikTok, where she enjoys inspiring her viewers, affectionally called ‘jellybeans’, to travel outside their comfort zone, discover a new Black-owned business, and immerse themselves in a new culture.”