Delta Airlines gave the Windows Phone 8 devices to its flight attendants in order to ease onboard purchases.
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Delta Airlines announced Thursday that it has adopted Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform and the Nokia Lumia 820 as its go-to handheld device for 19,000 flight attendants. The smartphones will be used to handle a range of tasks both on the ground and in the air.
The phones are running customized software for Delta from Avanade that runs on the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of sale platform. Delta believes that the system, together with Wi-Fi/4G connectivity provided by AT&T, will empower its flight attendants while also improving its customers' experiences throughout the boarding, flying and deplaning processes.
The Lumia 820 is fairly compact, which makes it easy to carry around and use. It has a 4.3-inch ClearBlack display, a dual-core 1.5-GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 1 GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, NFC and Nokia's suite of software.
Together with the Avanade software, the Lumia 820 should be a powerful ally for flight attendants. It can handle near real-time credit card processing for onboard purchases, including upgrades to Delta's Economy Comfort seating, as well as food and beverage purchases. Customers can choose to have e-receipts emailed to them rather than accept a paper receipt on the plane. The system promises to speed up transactions by about 10% across the board. It is compatible with regular and prepaid credit cards, and will soon be able to read digital coupons that are displayed on a customer's mobile phone. Delta said that its flight attendants will be able to pull up flight connection details for passengers, too.
"Delta's 19,000 in-flight professionals are there for the safety and comfort of our customers, and equipping them with innovative solutions means they can better meet our customers' needs on board every flight," said Joanne Smith, senior VP for in-flight service. "This is yet another way we're investing in technology to improve the customer experience."
Delta has agreed to use the system from Avanade and Microsoft, the hardware from Nokia and network services from AT&T for three years. The individual pieces of the system will be updated over the life of the contract. The system was piloted in June and July and should be fully deployed by the end of August.
Delta has been progressive in its use of technology. It already offers consumers several applications, such as Fly Delta, for the Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone platforms. In-flight Wi-Fi is offered aboard more than 800 Delta airplanes.
The sale is a major victory for Nokia and for Microsoft. Such a large enterprise deployment should boost its credibility with other businesses, which they have been courting with the Windows Phone platform and Lumia handsets.
Chris Weber, global head of sales and marketing at Nokia, said, "We're excited that Delta Air Lines has chosen Nokia Lumia to provide new services that will benefit their customers. This is a great example of how Nokia, Microsoft and our other partners are enabling many of the world's leading companies to build innovative mobile solutions for their businesses. I look forward to seeing the Nokia Lumia in action on my next flight with Delta Air Lines."