Delta Air Lines’ flight attendants are able to access Gogo inflight Internet – supporting real-time credit card transactions and other applications – under a landmark move that puts the US major at the forefront of using connectivity to drive operational benefits.
More than 19,000 Delta flight attendants today begin using new Windows Phone 8 handheld devices (the Nokia Lumia 820) with Avanade-developed applications to improve the inflight experience for passengers, including supporting onboard upgrades to Delta’s Economy Comfort seating.
Those flying aboard Delta’s 800 Gogo-equipped aircraft will be able to support real-time credit card transactions, says Gogo. Delta refers to the processing time as “near real-time”.
The ability to support real-time credit card transactions will reduce the fraudulent charges incurred by Delta. It could also open up new revenue streams for Delta, as the carrier could conceivably sell more expensive items on board its aircraft.
This solution was developed by Microsoft, Avanade and AT&T after months of development and feedback from flight attendants. Delta says the Windows Phone 8 devices “will include a Delta-specific customer experience developed by Avanade on the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of sale platform and will operate over Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 4G LTE Network. The agreement includes plans to expand the solution over the next three years to the newest Nokia devices”.
In the future, Delta expects to provide flight attendants with certain customer-specific information to enable more personalized service.
“The possibilities are significant in terms of the applications that can be built to aid airline efficiency and passenger services in the future,” says Gogo president and CEO Michael Small. “Whether that’s providing a glimpse of weather ahead, offering passengers connecting gate information, or processing payments for other goods and services, we believe that Gogo’s entry into this space will allow our airline partners to accomplish a lot of these activities in the air and run a better and more consistent operation.”
In 2009, reports surfaced that Delta wanted to view each of its Gogo-connected aircraft as a node on its network. At that time, the carrier told employees that it saw huge benefit in connecting its aircraft to Delta departments, including flight ops, inflight services, and maintenance dispatch. Today’s announcement brings Delta ever closer to its goal.
“We see this as the first step in supporting the entire aircraft and airline operations through in-air connectivity related services,” says Small. “We expect our airline partners, and others, to increasingly develop applications on the Gogo platform. Delta’s use of Gogo’s network in this capacity is truly historical. It makes sense that, with often times more than $100 million invested in a single aircraft, airlines will leverage connectivity to assure that their operations are connected to the ground.”