This in-flight experience will include a Delta-specific customer experience developed by Avanade to run on the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of-sale platform and will run over wi-fi and AT&T’s 4G-LTE network.
According to a company release, the flight attendants will use the phones for near-real-time credit card processing for in-flight purchases, generating eReceipts that can be emailed to customers, and offering customers pre-paid credit cards for on-board purchases.
The flight attendants will begin using the phones for these purposes on Monday.
“Equipping [the flight attendants] with innovative solutions means they can better meet our customers’ needs on board every flight,” said Joanne Smith, senior vice president of in-flight service at Delta, in a statement.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see a benefit to me as a passenger of the airline anywhere in there. It might help the airline get paid faster because it can begin processing purchase transactions while the plane is still in the air, but that doesn’t help me in any way. I really don’t care when my credit card gets billed for the $2 it costs me to rent the headphones or the $12 it costs me for a box lunch.
The airline says it expects in the future to provide flight attendants with certain customer-specific information to enable more personalized service. It will also add the ability to read coupons off customers’ mobile phones. Now this might actually have some customer service impacts. I can see a value in the flight attendant knowing that the passenger in seat 12C requires a gluten-free meal, that the passenger in seat 23A prefers gin to vodka, or that the passenger in seat 19F frequently flies for business between New York and San Francisco and is eligible for a free seating upgrade.
As for me, when I fly, I like a window seat. Once I’m on the aircraft, I like to close my eyes and be left alone. I’d prefer if there wasn’t a crying baby in the row behind me, and I’d rather not sit next to the old guy with a flatulence problem. If the flight attendant can see that on her cell phone during the flight and carry out those simple requests, we’ll both have a much better flying experience.