Passengers on Delta’s ‘Beta Plane’ can submit their ideas via Wi-Fi

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By Raymond Kollau,

We have reported several times before how airlines and airports are teaming up with the general public in order to generate ideas for new products and services.

As this trend matures, airlines such as KLM, SAS and Finnair have gone beyong incidental crowdsourcing campaigns by launching broad co-creation programs to improve the passenger experience.

KLM ‘Bright Ideas’, for example, asks Facebook fans to share and discuss their ideas to improve KLM’s products and services. Scandinavian Airlines’ ‘My SAS Idea’ is an online community where anyone can share their ideas and others can join in to further improve on each idea. Finnair’s Quality Hunters – now in its third year – invites a select group of enthusiasts to come up with ideas which are then shared online with the larger community.

Delta ‘Ideas In Flight’
In 2011, Delta teamed with “scientists and thinkers” conference TED (slogan: “Ideas Worth Spreading”) to generate innovative crowd-sourced ideas to improve the travel experience. Called ‘Ideas in Flight’, the program uses curated TEDTalks as thought-starters to inspire participants across technology, entertainment, design, etcetera. Ideas could be submitted through a dedicated tab on the Delta Facebook page.

In February of this year, Delta launched the second edition of Ideas In Flight. Similar to the 2011 edition, any Delta Facebook fan could contribute via Delta’s Facebook page and a voting system allows Delta and users to see what ideas are popular, and which ones will be considered to be implemented on the flight.

Beta plane
Besides testing new products and services and gather feedback from customers via Facebook, Delta also extended the idea generation to 40,000 feet, asking its passengers to come up with their feedback and ideas at the place and time that makes most sense to them.

Since October 2012, passengers can participate in by using the in-flight Wi-Fi for free to go to a dedicated ‘Ideas In Flight’ website onboard Delta transcontinental flights between New York JFL, Los Angeles and San Francisco (video on Delta’s Beta Plane here).

To gather feedback about new initiatives, Delta reportedly also created a survey portal called ‘Beta plane’ that is available on a tablet on a chosen flight.

Or as Delta puts it: “This flight, like all of our flights between New York JFK and L.A. or San Francisco, is dedicated to identifying innovations that make flying better. So check out what’s onboard, and tell us what you think should take flight.”

For example, according to Delta spokeswoman Leslie Scott, one passenger suggested a white noise channel as part of the in-flight entertainment – a suggestion that is currently being tested.


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