Delta to let passengers rent iPad at the airport for onboard use, return it via mail | June 13, 2011

Delta Air Lines and airport food and beverage operator OTG Management have teamed up to modernize the food and beverage offering at Delta’s Concourse G in Terminal 1 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) Airport. As part of the plans, Delta will upgrade its current food and beverages offerings with 12 new local restaurants and several fresh food markets (images here), and similar to Delta’s New York JFK and La Guardia terminals, seating will be equipped with iPads which passengers can use to order their food and beverages to have it delivered to their seat by a server in less then 10 minutes.

OTG Media Bar
Delta and OTG will also introduce the ‘OTG Media Bar’, a virtual newsstand where Delta passengers can rent an Apple iPad, loaded with the content of their choice. At what looks like a traditional magazine stand, except it will be filled with Apple iPads, passengers can flip through the iPads to see what publications, movies, and music they like, download the content of their choice, and then rent the device for their trip. Once the passenger reaches his or her final destination, a pre-paid postage box received at time of rental is used to return the iPad. This concept of returning rented goods via the mail has been popularized in the U.S. by DVD subscription service Netflix in recent years.

The OTG Media Bars will complement the traditional newsstands at Delta’s MSP terminal and a dedicated OTG employee will be available to assist in the download and rental process. Travellers who already have an iPad will also be able to use the OTG Media Bars to download content of their choice.

The redesign of Delta’s MSP terminal will begin in January 2012 and the OTG Media Bar is expected to become available later during the year. According to the New York Times, the iPads can be rented for a minimum of one day for a (quite a hefty) fee that starts at USD 29.95.

Virgin America x Google Chromebook
Meanwhile, instead of letting passengers foot the bill, Virgin America has teamed up with Google to allow passengers to ‘test-fly’ the search giant’s new Chromebook computers for free. Virgin America’s passengers can use the computers onboard their flight and at select airport gates from July 1 through January 15, 2012. Flyers who borrow a Chromebook also receive a free WiFi session onboard Virgin America. The Chromebooks can be returned at the passenger’s arriving gate and Google Chrome Staff is also on hand to assist passengers. More images here.