A new tool for processing meal orders is flying at Delta Air Lines. The transactions are conducted by flight attendants using a Windows Phone connected to Microsoft Dynamics for Retail.
This week, the airline announced that its more than 19,000 flight attendants will be using Nokia Lumia 820 handsets running Windows Phone 8, connected via Wi-Fi and AT&T's 4G LTE network to the Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of-sale platform. The solution was jointly developed by Microsoft, Avanade, AT&T and Nokia.
The system utilizes the Connected Stores Solution from global business technology and managed services provider Avanade, which enables mobile devices to conduct in-store sales and provides advanced analytics to assess performance by employees.
Avanade Mobile Airline Platform
The system, which began testing in June, is based on a customized-for-Delta version of the Avanade Mobile Airline Platform, an end-to-end retail platform developed with Accenture, Avanade's parent company, for Microsoft Dynamics for Retail software. Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft.
Avanade integrated the solution into Delta's operational structure, and, for the next three years, will provide ongoing support, maintenance and solution enhancements. By the end of this month, Nokia Lumia 820s will have been distributed to all Delta flight attendants.
Dan O' Hara, Avanade's mobility vice president, said in a statement that "companies in all industries need to enable an end-to-end customer experience across multiple channels." He added that Delta, in particular, wanted to "enable its employees with new ways of working that can drive greater productivity and better engagement with customers."
In addition to handling customer orders on board the aircraft, the system also handles passenger manifests, frequent flyer information, updates about connecting gates, scheduling updates for flight attendants and other dynamic information. The Live Tiles interface offers local weather information and flight tracking data from Delta's Fly application.
Seating Upgrades, E-Receipts
The solution can process credit cards at near real-time speeds for on-board purchases, which can also include upgrades in seating. E-receipts can be sent via e-mail to customers, and the airline plans to add the ability to read coupons displayed on a customer's mobile device. The faster operational times available through the mobile-enabled system are expected to allow more transactions by attendants and more time to attend to passengers' needs.
Additionally, Delta said it will roll out the ability for flight attendants to view customer-specific information, enabling a greater personalization of service. The airline is also expecting to adapt the system for the newest Nokia devices.
Delta has been busy developing technology for customers and employees. Last year, it released the Fly Delta travel app for the iPad, and it launched the new Delta.com in December, 2012. Self-service kiosks, rebuilt for better customer service and expanded capability, were also unveiled last fall.