Delta Air Lines IT chiefs want to capitalise on new revenue streams from mobile, web

By Sooraj Shah
05 Mar 2014 View Comments
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Delta Air Lines is discussing the idea of enabling its customers to order exactly what food and drinks they want to consume on-board online before boarding one of their planes, among other ideas.

Delta Air Lines' director of IT, Darrell Haskin, told the media at Microsoft Dynamics' Convergence 2014 conference that one of the biggest complaints the airline had from its customers was that the air carrier had run out of their preferred in-flight meal.

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Although airlines often narrow down the choices for customers online so that they can select between in-flight vegetarian and meat dishes, for example, the amount of choices can leave airlines unable to cater for everybody's needs, particularly if the person changes their mind at the last minute.

But Haskin said that he had spoken to Delta Air Lines' CIO Theresa Wise at the event, and that a move to enable customers to pre-order meals would make more sense for the airline too - as it would be able to better manage what food it needs on-board.

But he believes the move to open up new revenue streams for Delta shouldn't stop there, as airlines could offer tickets for events at the passenger's desired destination.

"If [the consumer] is going to Broadway, then why can't we sell them the tickets on-board and take the commission that the middleman in New York would normally take," he said.

One of the ways the company had already looked at to find new revenues was its flight attendants' use of Nokia Lumia 920s.

During the opening keynote of Convergence 2014, Delta Air Lines flight attendant Meleia Jordan explained that flight attendants could now know how many ‘economy comfort' seats were available after the plane had boarded, and announce to passengers that they could purchase an upgrade.

"It's allowing us to catch revenue that we were losing out on before," she said.

CIO Wise added that the company is looking at ways it can use the Nokia devices and Windows-based applications to further engage with its workforce and its customers.

She said the organisation wanted to use technology "to create a seamlessness and stickiness with [its] customers around the world".

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