Phablets to enhance Delta’s on board service

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Beginning in Q3 2014, Delta is planning to equip more than 20,000 of its flight attendants with handheld Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets, which will serve as their on-board manual and in-flight sales device, as well as a platform for future, more personalised in-flight customer service. The device features a larger format, 6in screen and will replace the smaller Lumia 820 already being used by Delta crew.

Providing electronic access to the more than 500 page, 5lb on-board manual carried by every flight attendant is expected to save more than US$1 million annually in reduced fuel and printing costs, while providing a more intuitive way to access essential information.

As the use of the device develops, Delta also plans to enable flight attendants to use it to take customer meal orders, receive detailed information about their flight and provide information for personalised service, including customers’ frequent flyer status and potential need for special services during flight.

“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,” said Theresa Wise, senior vice president and chief information officer.

Devices will be distributed starting in October, with all flight attendants receiving the device by the end of the year. The solution was developed jointly by Microsoft, Avanade, Nokia and AT&T. Last September, Delta announced its pilots would receive Surface 2 tablets to be used initially as electronic flight bags and be developed into a multi-functional device that can be integrated across the airline operation.

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Alasdair joined the team in 2015 and works across a number of titles and websites for UKi Media & Events. He has been a journalist for 10 years, covering everything from travel and technology to sport and entertainment, and brings a wealth of experience, and pedantry, to the team. Away from the office, he is a celebrated snood connoisseur, determined to cycle no matter what the weather decides to hurl from the sky, and driven by a quest to find the very finest, and more importantly the next, slice of cheesecake.

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