Delta Air Lines has entered into a new partnership with Apple and AT&T to equip all 19,000 of its flight attendants with new iPhone 12s. Currently, Delta’s staff use handheld SkyPro devices for a range of activities to improve the customer experience. The program will begin later this summer.
The new partnership means all 19,000 flight attendants will be able to use the new iPhone 12 to speed up check-in, assist passengers, answer queries and check inventory instantly. The inclusion of network company AT&T means staff will be able to use the devices anywhere.
Delta will be the first airline to have complete access to the 5G network using AT&T’s coverage. The program will begin handing out iPhones in late summer and will come equipped with the airline’s SkyPro app.
What can flight attendants do with the new phone?
Using SkyPro, crew members will be able to access training and safety videos with ease. This will include innovative Augmented Reality (AR) features and videos. The crew will also be able to check inventory, locate catering items and other important objects onboard by using the iPhone camera. By pointing the camera at closed doors and cupboards, the crew can see where things are stored and what needs to be replaced.
The aim of the upgraded devices is to minimize paper usage and improve the customer experience. The crew will be able to access information at the touch of a button. The airline will also work with both Apple and AT&T going forward to see how the phones could drive new technology to improve the customer experience. In a statement on its website, Delta said,
“As accelerating vaccination rates drive renewed demand for travel and human connection, Delta is prepared to embrace our customers once again with an experience even better than the one they knew before the pandemic.”
Airlines and technology
Apple has actually partnered with airlines before to roll out its products to airline staff. In 2019, the tech giant partnered with British Airways to provide 15,000 BA staff with the new iPhone XR. Previously the company had provided BA with iPads for each flight. Crews use the devices to book meals for customers, check information and connecting flights, and much more.
Way back in 2011, United announced it would begin provided pilots with iPads. The program was so successful United launched a follow-up program to bring the then-brand-new iPhone 6 to staff in 2015. It also worked with IBM and Apple in 2017 to upgrade the aging devices.
All the airlines that have embraced the new technology for cabin crew have said it allows them to provide a better customer experience. However, some passengers have said it actually makes the experience feel less personal and that crew spend more time looking at their phones than speaking to customers. Getting a more personalized experience is becoming impersonal. The balance is difficult.
There is no doubt that instant connectivity will make traveling smoother and less stressful. In a world where travel restrictions are constantly changing, and entry requirements fluctuate, being in constant contact with information is crucial to ensuring customers have the best experience possible.
What do you think of cabin crew members having iPhones? Do you think it will make a big difference to how you travel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.