Delta Flies The Facebook Skies - InformationWeek

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8/13/2010
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Delta Flies The Facebook Skies

In addition to online ticket booking through the social network, the airline will debut an iPhone app that allows users to purchase and check in for flights.

Travelers now can buy Delta Air Lines tickets directly from the company's Facebook page, completely avoiding the company's website, with the debut of its social media "Ticket Window."

Delta plans to expand the Ticket Window to other social media sites, and expects to add online banner ads that enable full booking capabilities within its ads, the company said. Within Facebook, users can book travel via a dedicated tab on Delta's Facebook page. The popular social networking site has about 500 million users; about 35,000 people "like" the Delta page, as of early Aug. 13. The airline serves 160 million people annually, according to Delta.

"Our customers are spending more time online and are looking for new ways to connect with us. We're now delivering technology where our customers are – from our own website to our Facebook page to Internet news sites and beyond," said Bob Kupbens, Delta's VP of eCommerce. "We already know Facebook is the most used website by in-flight Wi-Fi users on more than 2,000 Delta flights every day, giving us the natural launching point for a new online Ticket Window."

The airline also redesigned its home page to incorporate easier access to flight booking, status updates, online check-in, and frequent flier information, according to Delta. These steps are part of a larger redesign which also will incorporate airport kiosks, the company said.

Within the next few weeks Delta expects to debut an iPhone app that lets customers check in, check flight stats, review flight schedules, set a parking reminder, review their frequent flier balances, and use electronic boarding passes in some cities, according to Delta. Later versions of the app are expected to allow fliers to book flights and make seat selections, among other features, the company said.

"Unlocking the full power of social media and mobile apps is the next step for Delta, while providing innovative travel tools and greater convenience in our customer's mobile world," Kupbens said.

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