The technology march continues -- with new applications at 40,000 feet. Starting in October, Delta Air Lines will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with handheld Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets.
The Lumia 1520 features a larger format, six-inch screen and will replace the smaller Lumia 820 already in the hands of Delta on-board professionals. The technology solution was developed jointly by Microsoft, Avanade, Nokia and AT&T.
The new phablet will run Windows Phone 8.1 Mobile technology, which will give crew members a more intuitive way to access essential information. It will also serve as the crew's onboard manual and in-flight sales device.
Providing electronic access to the more than 500-page, five-pound manual carried by every flight attendant onboard will save Delta more than $1 million annually in reduced fuel and printing costs.
The new technology also will 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. The airline said the technology will also serve as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service.
"Delta continues to invest in the latest tools and resources for our flight attendants to provide exceptional service to our 165 million annual customers," said Joanne Smith, senior vice president – in-flight service. She said the devices are yet another example of the technological innovations the airline is developing and will be essential as the airline continues to personalize the onboard experience.
She also said the phablet is a good foundation for the airline's future software applications that, over time, will allow crew members to access customer preferences, previous travel experiences with Delta and worldwide connectivity to the company.
That will enable them "to provide the more tailored experience many customers have come to expect," according to Theresa Wise, senior vice president and chief information officer. All flight attendants will receive the device by the end of this year.
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.
Delta Air Lines serves nearly 165 million customers each year. For more information visit www.delta.com.