Delta partners with Uber-inspired package delivery platform Roadie to deliver delayed luggage to passengers

Delta in 2011 became the first airline to make the baggage process more transparent for passengers with its ‘Track Checked Bags’ service. Delta passengers on domestic flights can track their checked bag(s) in real-time via the Delta app, even when up in the air.

Plus, Delta’s ‘Bags On Time’ guarantee means that passengers on domestic routes will have their checked luggage at the bag caroussel within 20 minutes, or receive 2500 SkyMiles when this takes longer.

Delta in 2016 also invested USD 50 million in RFID technology to further expand is bag tracking service to international stations. RFID scanners, RFID bag tag printer, and RFID pier and claim readers have been installed in 344 stations worldwide, which has resulted in baggage tracking that is 99.9 percent accurate.

With sharing real-time bag tracking with passengers still being a novelty in the industry, Delta has further innovated its baggage service to include delayed luggage.

Delayed baggage claim via Delta app
Earlier this year, Delta expanded its Fly Delta app functionality to allow passengers to skip the bag service office visit when luggage is missing.

The mobile bag service feature allows passengers to file a bag claim at their final destination through the Fly Delta app, instead of having to visit the local Delta baggage service office, when Delta sees the bag has missed a checkpoint. The airline proactively notifies passengers if their bag will be delayed, and provides a link to complete a delayed bag file with the app.

“This is one more way we’re putting the power for a customer to control their experience in the palm of their hand,” commented Delta’s Chief Operating Officer, Gil West. “The last thing a customer wants to do when their bag is delayed is to go in person to do something that can be done with a few taps on their phone, knowing that we’ll deliver their bag directly to them when it arrives.” Read full article »

Delta raises the bar in Business Class with new enclosed ‘Delta One Suites’

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When airlines such as Qatar Airways have announced recently they are working on brand new Business Class seats and Emirates is working on new First Class suites, it was a surprising twist to see Delta, a US carrier, to leap-frog the Gulf-based competition with an adapted Thomson Aero Seating product by UK-based design agency Factorydesign.

Business Class ‘Suite’
The new Delta One Suite is the first Business Class cabin in the world to feature a sliding door for each suite – a feature normally saved for First Class passengers. The doors are a key part of Delta and Factorydesign’s collaborative efforts to improve customer comfort and privacy. The industrial design consultancy worked in close partnership with Delta and seat manufacturer Thompson Aero Seating throughout the design, development and engineering process to achieve this.

The word “cabin” is important in this announcement, as JetBlue’s Mint product offers 4 mini-suites on their aircraft featuring sliding doors, however, the rest of the seats don’t offer this level of privacy.

The seat may look familiar, and follows the traditional 1 x 2 x 1 staggered forward facing design that Delta has already adopted in many of its long-haul aircraft. In fact the product has more in common with SAS’ new Thomson Vantage XL seats that the London based design firm also worked on.

The ability to add doors was driven by the A350’s extra width, explains Factorydesign’s senior designer Ryan Graham. “The high degree of customisation possible with Thompson’s seating platform enabled us to sit down and look at the potential we had when putting it onto a wider aircraft.”

“People like to have some privacy, and the feeling of ‘owning their space’, and this is exactly what the door provides. It is a major step-forward in Business Class travel. In the creation of the new Business Class Suite, Delta and Factorydesign extracted and interpreted the DNA of the Delta brand to create a unique three-dimensional product.” Read full article »

Delta’s Shuttle service targets business travellers with speed, convenience and inflight amenities

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By Marisa Garcia

The top 10 busiest air routes in the world are mostly business traveller-heavy short-haul routes. Think airport pairs such as Tokyo and Fukuoka, Sydney and Melbourne, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Toulouse and Paris, and Madrid and Barcelona.

The busiest air route in the USA is Chicago to New York with 4 million passengers in 2015, followed by Los Angeles to San Francisco (3.66 million) and Los Angeles to New York (3.4 million).

Airlines have responded to the needs of business travellers who frequently fly these trunk routes by offering high frequencies, introduce travel passes, and offer flexibility. For example, Vueling lets passengers rebook themselves on an earlier flight via their mobile app if there is a seat available.

While onboard service on short-haul routes is minimal on most carriers, Delta has reached back to the popularity of VIP shuttle services on Eastern Airlines and Pan Am by giving this profitable segment of frequent business travellers (a.k.a ‘air commuters’) extra services and privileges.

Delta Shuttle: Beyond frequencies
Delta Shuttle is the brand name for Delta’s hourly air shuttle service from NYC’s LaGuardia Airport to Boston Logan, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport near Washington, D.C., and Chicago O’Hare. The shuttle also now operates between Los Angeles International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and San Francisco International Airport and consists of a mix of two-class Embraer E-175 regional jets flown by a Delta Connection regional partner, and Delta mainline Boeing 717 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

The airlines’ shuttle frequencies are marketed toward business travelers with schedules that allow same-day return trips. Elite fliers and those with certain business-oriented fares can catch earlier or later flights with no fee if their schedules change.

Delta Shuttle’s East Coast operation is a direct competitor to the American Airlines Shuttle, which also offers ‘enhanced’ shuttle-specific services and amenities. Read full article »

Delta’s ‘Early Valet’ service preloads passengers’ hand- luggage to speed up boarding

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By Raymond Kollau,

The process of boarding an aircraft is inefficient, as passengers entering the aircraft have to wait for other passengers who are busy placing their luggage in the overhead bins. They then quickly having to cram their own luggage into bins that are increasingly full, as many passengers try to take as much carry-on baggage with them into the cabin in order to avoid paying checked luggage fees.

In an effort to take some of the stress out of the boarding process and reduce expensive delays before take-off, many airlines have been looking for alternative procedures to optimize boarding, especially since a faster boarding process also speeds up aircraft turnaround times, reducing the time that aircraft needs to spend on the ground.

Pre-loading carry-on bags
Now Delta Air Lines is trying something new: This summer travel season, the airline plans to preload carry-on bags into the overhead bins on some flights.

The new system is called ‘Early Valet’ and will offer passengers on busy US routes the chance to have a steward take their luggage from them at the gate and place it in the compartment above their assigned seat.

Agents will ask customers seated in the gate area if they’d like to participate, Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant told NBC. “Their bag will be specially tagged, similar to what you’d see at a hotel for room delivery,” said Durrant, “and then taken down onto the aircraft before boarding and placed above a customer’s seat based on their seat assignment.” Read full article »

Delta lets passengers on domestic routes track checked bags in real-time and guarantees a 20-minute delivery

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By Raymond Kollau,

Back in 1973, Domino’s Pizza introduced a guarantee that customers would receive their pizzas within 30 minutes of placing an order or they would receive the pizzas free. Over the years, Domino’s reduced this service guarantee to the slogan “You Got 30 Minutes,” alluding to the earlier pledge but stopping short of promising delivery in half an hour. Instead, the company introduced the Domino’s Pizza Tracker, an app and Web-based widget that lets customers check on the pizza they have ordered at every stage, providing real-time information that relieves anxiety.

Delta ‘Track My Bags’
Taking a cue from the pizza delivery business, Delta in 2011 became the first airline to make the baggage process more transparent for passengers by launching its ‘Track Checked Bags’ service.

Since bag tags are scanned during each part of the journey by airlines, Delta’s service lets passengers track their baggage in real-time as it makes its way through the Delta system, providing them with some peace of mind when they learn their luggage has been loaded onto their flight.

Available for domestic flights, Delta passengers can go online to track their checked baggage with the bag tag number they received at the time of baggage check-in. Passengers can use the ‘Track My Bag’ functionality on the Delta mobile app to scan their baggage tag with their smartphone camera.

And, as Delta has equipped its entire domestic fleet with GoGo’s in-flight Internet, passengers can even check up in the air whether their bag has made it on their flight using the free access to and the mobile app.

Surprisingly, Delta’s ‘Track My Bags’ service hasn’t been introduced by any other airline so far, who are clearly less willing to share this kind of data with passengers. The fast developments in digital luggage tags (a.k.a. ‘The Connected Bag’) will no doubt change this status quo though. Read full article »

Passengers in Delta’s JFK T4 lounge can order paid meals and drinks via iPads

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By Raymond Kollau,

In 2010, Delta and food and beverage operator OTG launched a novel restaurant concept at New York JFK Airport that allows passengers to order food and drinks via iPads installed at dining areas at the gate. A server then delivers the food to the customer’s seat within 10 minutes. The concept has since then been rolled out by OTG to other airports around the USA, including New York LaGuardia, Chicago, Minneapolis St Paul, Orlando and Toronto Pearson.

JFK T4 Sky Club
Last year, Delta opened its new Terminal 4 at New York JFK Airport. The new Delta T4 also features a 24,000 square feet Delta Sky Club where passengers can work, relax and dine at one of the more than 400 seats, 50+ work spaces and a ‘Sky Deck’ outdoor terrace (video tour and images of the lounge here and here).

Premium meals and drinks
Responding to passengers requests for more substantial meal options in its lounges, Delta in 2010 introduced a paid dining concept at four Delta Sky Club lounges at New York JFK Airport. The new full-service concept offers made-to-order breakfast, sandwiches, salads, small plates and desserts for purchase, as well as premium beverages. Meals are USD 10-15 and premium drinks USD 12 and the Delta Sky Club ‘Café’ includes dedicated seating areas within the lounge, but visitors also can order from the menu and dine anywhere in the lounge.

Tablet-based ordering
In its JFK T4 lounge, Delta has added a self-service element to its premium meals and drinks offering. Those who want to eat more than what is available on the buffet can order via iPad ordering stations, which is a similar concept to the Delta/OTG iPads that are installed at the public gates. Read full article »

Delta upgrades cabin crew from Nokia smartphones to connected ‘phablets’

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By Raymond Kollau,

In the fall of 2013, Delta Air Lines started providing Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones to all of its 19,000 flight attendants. The Windows-based devices feature an app that is based on the Microsoft Dynamics point-of-sale system and also handles passenger manifests, frequent-flyer information, connecting-gate updates, and flight-attendant scheduling updates.

From smartphones to phablets
Now Delta has just announced it will be replacing the smartphones with larger Nokia Lumia 1520 ‘phablets’ and this fall will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with the 6-inch screen devices. Dictribution will start in October with all flight attendants receiving the device by the end of the year.

In addition to its functionality as an in-flight sales device and replacement for the on-board manual, the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, running Windows Phone 8.1, will, as it develops, enable flight attendants to take customer meal orders, receive detailed information about their flight and provide information for personalized service, including customers’ frequent flyer status and potential need for special services during flight.

Personalization platform
Delta flight attendants were initially given Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones to do things like process on-board purchases more efficiently, according to Delta’s SVP In-Flight Services, Joanne Smith. “It’s just a start. […] “The emerging high-value customer expects us to know about them. Millennials want us to know where they like to travel, what their experience has been. Our flight attendants spend more time with our customers than any other group. They can supply that.”

According to Delta, the new devices are meant to serve as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service. Says Delta CIO Theresa Wise: “The phablet is a great foundation for future software applications that, in time, will allow our flight attendants to readily access customer preferences, previous travel experiences with Delta and worldwide connectivity to the company, enabling them to provide the more tailored experience many customers have come to expect.”
Read full article »

Delta offers the public the chance to be seated next to a star of the ‘creative class’

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By Raymond Kollau,

Pioneered by Silicon Valley-favourite Virgin America, more and more airlines are aligning themselves with the creative, entrepreneurial and technology industries and position themselves as forward looking.

American x SXSW
For example, pushing hard to shake off its old image, American Airlines at the 2013 SXSW event in Austin created a #newAmerican ‘brand space’ and together with AT&T organized a hack-a-thon at the event, allowing more than 60 developers to work with American’s travel API for the first time to see what they could come up with to further develop the users experience with the airline.

The event also saw American launch a ‘Napkin Pitch Contest’, where travelers could pitch a business idea to the airline to make the world a better place, all on a simple airline napkin.

Delta  x TED
Meanwhile, Delta has aligned itself closely with TED, the world-renowned gathering of “ideas worth spreading” that has become the go-to event for those thinking different.

In 2011, Delta teamed with TED to generate innovative crowd-sourced ideas to improve the travel experience, called ‘Ideas in Flight’. The program uses curated TEDTalks in social media as thought-starters to inspire their community, across technology, entertainment, design, etcetera. Delta also features TED Talks on its IFE radio channel.

In 2013, Delta showcased its renewed focus on sleep at TED by hosting a talk from renowned Oxford neuroscientist and sleep expert Dr. Russell Foster addressing jet lag. The airline demonstrated his research in action with a so-called ‘Photon Shower’ – a small light chamber that conference attendees could enter for a short period of time to help reset their body clocks through a personalized light treatment.

Delta Innovation Class
Delta’s latest initiative aimed at the ‘creative class’ is called ‘Delta Innovation Class’. In what the airline calls “a mentoring program taking place at 35,000 ft,” Delta has picked a select number of leaders in the field of art, business and technology who will be traveling to select events around the globe during 2014. Delta is offering one lucky person per flight the opportunity to sit next to one of these persons, “to meet face-to-face with some of the world’s most interesting people in a truly unique one-on-one,” as the airline puts it. Read full article »

Delta pops up in central Tokyo with ‘Flight Therapy’ brand space

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Special thanks to Daniel Baron, LIFT Strategic Design
for spotting the Delta ‘Flight Therapy’ brand space

In order to connect and engage with ever more experienced, connected, and informed consumers, who routinely ignore the commercials and ads thrown at them, airlines around the world are becoming more sophisticated in their marketing activities and are finding new ways to break through the advertising clutter. As such, we are witnessing the birth of many creative campaigns from airlines, be it experiental, social, mobile, digital or traditional media initiatives.

Delta ‘Flight Therapy’
Delta Air Lines, possibly the most active airline when it comes to incorporate so-called ‘brand spaces’ such as its Sky360 Lounges, in its marketing mix, held a ‘Delta Flight Therapy’ sensory experience pop-up event in Otemachi, one of Tokyo’s business districts. The purpose-built space was set up in front of an office building between 23 and 25 October.

Inside, visitors could try out the fully flat bed installed in the airline’s business class on 747-400s. The Delta Flight Therapy module sported an organic, futuristic ambience, including mood lighting by Izumi Okayasu Lighting Design that changed dramatically in both color and intensity. Ambient background music was produced with Koone, a high resolution sound system developed by Victor Entertainment.

The pop-up space also gave visitors a chance to experience Arobalance, a relaxation aroma developed by Australian company Air Aroma. Each visitor received a sample of the fragrance.

Tokyo is a major hub for Delta, with daily flights to cities in the US and Asia.

Delta ‘Photon Shower’
Delta earlier this year also showcased its renewed focus on sleep at the annual TED conference. The airline hosted a talk from Oxford neuroscientist and sleep expert Dr. Russell Foster addressing jet lag and demonstrated his research in action with a so-called ‘Photon Shower’ – a small light chamber that conference attendees could enter for a short period of time to help reset their body clocks through a personalized light treatment.
Read full article »

Delta provides cabin crew with Nokia Lumia ‘onboard retail’ smartphones

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By Raymond Kollau,

Equipping airline cabin crew with tablets and smartphones is the latest step in continued efforts by airlines to increase their onboard retail revenues.

Since the end of 2012, American Airlines has been equipping its 17,000 flight attendants with Samsung Galaxy Note handheld devices, saying trials revealed that crew liked the fact that they could hold the device in one hand and easily slip it into a pocket – which is not always possible with a larger tablet. Besides being a means to provide crew with the latest passenger information, American uses the devices for onboard transactions such as the purchase of food and beverages inflight.

Meanwhile in the US, low-cost carrier Allegiant has provided its cabin crew with iPads that feature the FlyDesk app from its subsidiairy Allegiant Systems, while in Europe TUI (Arkefly) has deployed MI.Airline’s Connected Crew solution using 7-inch Samsung tablets.

Delta x Nokia Lumia
The latest airline to provide its crew with a next-generation point-of-sale (POS) device is Delta Air Lines. The airline at the end of August started the roll-out of Windows Phone 8-based Nokia Lumia 820 handheld devices to flight attendants (or inflight professionals as Delta likes to call them) around the world in an effort to streamline the process for purchasing items on board and to put key flight information at their fingertips.

Under the agreement, AT&T will equip more than 19,000 Delta flight attendants with Nokia Lumia devices powered by Microsoft Dynamics mobile point-of-sale platform on Windows Phone 8, with a Delta-specific customer experience developed by Accenture-subsidiary Avanade to operate over Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 4G LTE Network.

Flight attendants began testing the Nokia smartphones during flights in June 2013 and in-flight trials have shown that the new solution is already around 10 percent faster than Delta’s previous systems.

Says Michael Griffiths, Global Managing Director, Retail and Distribution, Microsoft Dynamics, “The company decided to make the move after running into significant challenges with the limitations of its legacy point of sale devices. Yes, they could capture transactions for food, headphones and duty-free items. But they were bulky. They had to stay on the plane. They were costly in terms of maintenance. Information had to be uploaded from them manually. They did not have high-speed wireless connectivity. There simply wasn’t a lot of additional value they could drive beyond basic, transactional interactions, and even those were suboptimal.”

Read full article »

Delta invites passengers at London Heathrow to test their table tennis skills against Serena Williams

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This Delta Air Lines sports marketing case appears in the July 2013 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by and Simpliflying, which identifies the latest innovative marketing campaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

Taking a cue from the likes of Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad, which all have invested heavily in sponsorships of major sports such as soccer and basketball to create brand recognition among the general public, Delta has teamed with major baseball league teams in the USA and earlier this year opened a Sky360 lounge inside Stamford Bridge stadium, home of British Premier League soccer team Chelsea FC as part of a wider sponsorship agreement.

In a fun gesture to passengers leaving from London Heathrow Airport on June 18, Delta surprised  travellers flying out of the airport’s Terminal 4  by offering them the chance to test their table tennis skills against none other than defending Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams, who had just arrived from JFK on an overnight Delta Air Lines flight on her way to the 2013 edition of the tournament. Video here and more images here.

With the surprise appearance of the current number 1 of woman tennis, Delta aimed to showcase its renewed long-haul Business Class product with fully flat beds and new Westin Heavenly Bedding. Says Tim Mapes, Delta’s SVP for Marketing, “We’ve gone flat-out to give customers a great night’s sleep on board our flights into London, and Serena’s form today shows that Delta’s BusinessElite flat-bed seats ensure customers arrive rested for a day’s work or play.”

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.
Read full article »

Delta teams up with Westin Hotels for ‘Heavenly’ onboard amenities

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By Raymond Kollau,

Delta Business Class customers will soon be able to have a more comfortable sleep as the airline has teamed up with Westin Hotels to create an in-flight version of Westin Hotel’s ‘Heavenly Bed’ pillows and comforters.

Dubbed ‘Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding’, the branded amenities will be available from June on for passengers on US transcontinental routes and between Atlanta and Hawaii. Passengers on flights longer than 12 hours also will receive a lumbar pillow. A few years ago, the hotel group had a similar agreement for a brief period with United Airlines on transcontinental routes in the U.S.

Says Joanne Smith, Delta’s SVP In Flight Service, “In recent surveys, customers have told us that the most important part of the in-flight experience is sleep. The new Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding product is just one of the new amenities Delta is introducing to ensure customers achieve a restful, rejuvenating in-flight experience.”

The Delta x Westin tie-up is part of a series of investments in several other products and services to revamp the in-flight sleep experience. By the end of 2013, 70 percent of all Delta aircraft will have flat beds and by  early 2014, Delta’s entire widebody fleet is scheduled to be complete.

To create a more restful cabin environment, flight attendants also are now proactively adjusting for appropriate lighting based on the time of day and streamlining cabin announcements to decrease noise disruptions. Delta has also introduced an ‘Express Meal’ service that features lighter fare and a one-step delivery process on all international flights departing after 9 p.m. and flights between JFK and London’s Heathrow Airport, and will add a so-called ‘white noise’ channel on its IFE system. Delta declined to say how much money it was putting into the new sleep strategy, describing it as a “substantial investment, in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” which would also cover the installation of flat-bed seats.
Read full article »

Innovative Airlines 2012: #3 Delta Air Lines

By Brian Pillsbury

Delta Air Lines has again earned a top 5 finish on our ranking of most innovative airlines, thanks to a number of ongoing and innovative investments that, in Delta’s words, have the aim of “building a better airline, not just a bigger one.” On the heels of its 2008 acquisition of Northwest, Delta’s consumer rankings suffered as passenger complaints increased.  Airline mergers and their associated integration activities typically impact negatively customer satisfaction.  However, Delta’s response to that in the form a USD 2 billion dollar investment program (which runs through 2013) put in place to improve the quality of its products and services deserve particular attention in our view.

Customer Service
As part of the multi-billion quality improvement program, Delta is focusing significant attention on the training of its customer-facing staff. The enhanced training programs and seminars are being targeted to the roughly 11,000 Delta passenger service agents and supervisors who are the day-to-day face of the airline to the travelling public. It has been over a decade since Delta undertook such a large-scale training effort, and the renewed focus on service standards comes in light of Delta’s poor customer satisfaction scores in industry surveys in recent years.

Responding to passenger feedback for a more personal touch on the ground, Delta has already revived its ‘Red Coats’ service agents. In their role as a ‘super’ passenger service agent, the Red Coats’ primary mission is to fix customer problems.  Easy to spot in busy airports thanks to their trademark red blazers, the Delta Red Coats carry hand-held computers that allow them to handle an array of issues on the spot, such as helping customers make flight connections, issuing new boarding passes or providing food vouchers when necessary. Over 800 agents are currently deployed airside at airports across the US, as well as at Delta’s Asian hub at Tokyo Narita.

Expanding on its customer service footprint in the social networking space, Delta became the first airline to offer dedicated customer support via Facebook, as it brought the ‘Delta Assist’ Twitter service to the social network in March 2011, providing real-time travel assistance. To better serve its Spanish language customers, it also launched the @deltaassist_ES Twitter channel in the fall of 2011.

Innovative services
Delta was also the first airline to roll out mobile bag tracking capabilities via its Delta app for smartphones, allowing passengers to track their checked baggage in real-time. The airline also quietly introduced a premium service in partnership with the German automaker Porsche at its Atlanta hub for its highest-tier Diamond Medallion customers. Selected arriving passengers are escorted from the plane to a waiting Porsche luxury vehicle for a ride to their cars in the parking lot or another terminal for a connecting flight. Porsche has provided the vehicles to Delta free of charge, but has placed information about the car models in the vehicles and in Delta Sky Lounges at the airport.
Read full article »

Delta teams up with Porsche to offer passengers a ‘branded ride’ to the aircraft

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While many airlines around the world offer their premium passengers a complimentary door-to-door transfer by luxury car from their home, office or hotel to the airport, a handful of carriers (including Air FranceLufthansa, SWISS, Qatar Airways and Oman Air) also provide their most valuable customers a limousine transfer from the airport terminal or airline lounge straight to the aircraft.

Portuguese carrier TAP, meanwhile, offers its passengers a paid option (euro 110 to 140) for a fast track through security at the airport and a transfer by private car to the aircraft, as part of its Personalised Assistance program.

For airlines looking to enhance the ground experience for their premium passengers, but who have limited funds to invest or do not want to charge separately for the service, Delta Air Lines has come up with an innovative solution. Delta and German automaker Porsche have partnered at Atlanta Hartfield-Jackson Airport to shuttle some of the airline’s most important passengers to and from the aircraft in one of six Cayennes or two Panameras. For example, arriving passengers are escorted to a Porsche and chauffeured to another terminal for a connecting flight or to their cars in the parking lot.

Porsche has provided the vehicles to Delta free of charge, but has placed information about the car models in the vehicles and in Delta Sky Lounges at the airport. The partnership is a good example of the ‘tryvertising’ trend (coined by and featured several times before on

The premium service is available for select Diamond Medallion — those who fly more than 125,000 miles a year — members of Delta’s Skymiles loyalty program. Says spokeswoman Chris Kelly Singley: “For Delta, it’s a way to surprise and delight high-value customers.” According to Delta, the service is targeted at passengers with tight connections, or passengers not based in Atlanta who might find the airport confusing and difficult to navigate, and, time-permitting, other high value customers who “we might not have thanked recently according to our records.” Says Delta’s Singley: “Delta occasionally grants perks to let those high-value customers know it is paying attention to their travels. The gestures are a way to show Delta’s appreciation of their business. “It’s a quick and easy way to make life easier. Sometimes, it’s the small things.”
Read full article »

Delta Picks – airline sells products curated by its flight crew

Airline crew are one of the most important assets an airline has. Witness Southwest, who is actively encouraging its employees to make a difference, and describes them as someone “who dares to make mistakes; dares to be different; finds a way to utilize people’s special talents; and lives a little on the edge” (examples include a Southwest pilot who held his plane so a passenger on his way to a funeral could make it, or the airline’s famous rapping flight attendant David Holmes).

Cathay Pacific
Airlines such as Cathay Pacific and SAS are also putting their employees in the spotlight. Cathay’s ‘Meet the Team’ campaign has been running for some years now – and recently took some hitting– and introduces a dozen of the airline’s staff through profiles and behind-the-scenes stories in print ads, YouTube videos, on Facebook, and via an iPad app.

On a similar not SAS has just introduced ‘The Face of SAS’ on Facebook, which highlights several of its employees every week as the airline’s Facebook profile-picture, as well as present themselves and what they do at SAS. In SAS’ words: “We believe that our employees are our single most important asset. Here’s your chance to get to know them – and SAS – a little better.”

SAS also publishes an annual ‘SAS Crew Guide’, a ‘crew-sourced’ guidebook consisting of recommendations by SAS cabin crew and pilots for accommodation, shopping, dining, sightseeing and nightlife in many of the cities served by SAS. The 350-pages guide also contains 13 personal profiles by individual crew members and their favourite cities and is sold online for EUR15 (or 4,410 SAS Bonuspoints) as well as in select bookshops in Scandinavia, the UK and the U.S. The New York section of the SAS Crew Guide is also available as a free iPhone and Android app. Read full article »

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

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.
Read full article »

Delta to offer local food and rental iPads to take onboard at Minneapolis-St Paul Airport

Delta Air Lines and airport restaurateur OTG Management have announced a new concept at Minneapolis-St Paul Airport (MSP) that taps into two major consumer trends: a growing interest in local and healthy food and the popularity of personal digital devices such as the Apple iPad.

Local food and iPads
At its Concourse G terminal at MSP Airport, Delta will upgrade its current food and beverages offerings with 12 new local restaurants and several fresh food markets. Chefs from the ‘Twin Cities’ will work with local farmers and producers to create a sustainable, health-conscious approach to dining. Restaurants will include Custom Burger – which uses regional farm-sourced meats – a Minnesota Beer Hall serving locally produced beers and Cibo Gourmet markets that emphasize local and artisan foods.

Similar to the food ordering concept introduced by Delta and OTG at New York JFK and La Guardia airports in late 2010, passengers at MSP Airport will be able to order their food and drinks at seating areas equipped with iPads located at the gates and have their orders delivered to their seat.

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. The devices will be available at Cibo Gourmet markets located through the terminal and customers can download publications, movies, music and apps to enjoy during their flight. Those with their own iPads will be able to download material as well. 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.
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Delta lets passengers track their checked luggage in real-time

Online tracking and tracing of packages shipped via parcel delivery companies such as FedEx and DHL has been possible for years, and has even spread to services like pizza delivery. For example, Domino’s Pizza ‘Pizza Tracker’ lets customers track their pizza from the moment they place the order until it leaves the kichen en route to them. Examples from the airline industry include Yapta, which offers alerts when fares drop for specific flights or hotels, and FlightStats, which notifies passengers on flight delays and cancellations. Says consumer trends agency “Tracking and alerting is the new searching, as it saves consumers time, makes it impossible to forget or miss out, and thus ultimately gives them yet another level of control.” 

Delta checked bags tracking
In a move to make the baggage process more transparent for customers, Delta Air Lines is now bringing ‘tracking and alerting’ to checked luggage. The airline has just launched a new ‘Track Checked Bags’ service in order to give passengers a sense of confidence that their luggage has made it to the same aircraft. As Delta scans the bag tags during each part of the journey, passengers can track their baggage in real-time as it makes its way through the Delta system. Available for domestic flights, Delta passengers can go online – for example via their smartphone – to track their checked baggage with the bag tag number that they received at the time of baggage check-in. 

Furthermore, as Delta has equipped all its 549 mainline domestic aircraft with GoGo’s in-flight Internet – and is currently installing the service on 223 Delta Connection jets as well – passengers may even check up in the air whether their bag has made it on their flight. 
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Wireless charging for electronic devices comes to airports

These days most travellers carry multiple electronic devices (e.g, laptop, smartphone, iPad). Once they arrive at the airport and are waiting for their flight, for many their main need is a comfortable place to sit, Internet access and a source of power for their electronics to stay charged.

Charging stations
As power outlets at airports are often hidden in uncomfortable places, Samsung Mobile spotted an opportunity and in recent years in cooperation with JC Decaux has installed free branded charging stations at airports in the USA, Europe, and most recently at Tokyo Haneda Airport. On a similar note, airline alliance Oneworld introduced ‘Oneworld Charging Stations‘ at airports in Europe and the U.S.

Today, at many airports a ‘recharging infrastructure’ seems to be more or less in place as several examples from North America show. For example, Minneapolis St Paul Airport has a Raddisson Hotels ‘Recharge Area’, Las Vegas Airport sports a Verizon-sponsored ‘Recharge Zone’, while in Canada, Toronto Airport’s ‘FlyAway Power Stations’ integrate seating with a desk, WiFi and power outlets. At Boston Logan Airport, seats that incorporate a power outlet are marked with a clear charging icon.

Adding to this, airlines such as Southwest and Delta offer respectively ‘Powerstation’ and ‘Relax and Recharge’ counters at several arports in the U.S., and  Delta is currently installing ‘Delta re-charging stations’ in gate areas at 19 airports across the U.S.

Wireless charging
Meanwhile, developments in wireless re-charging have advanced rapidly in recent years. For example, battery brand Duracel now offers a ‘MyGrid’ charging pad (In Duracell’s words: ‘drop & go charging’) for around USD 60. Several airlines and airports have also jumped on this novel technology and are currently rolling out wireless charging pads at airports and in lounges.
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