Delta is stepping up its tech game, especially on the mobile app.
Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, Delta CEO Ed Bastian explained many of the innovations under development, including a new technology called “Parallel Reality”.
Delta Expands Lyft Partnership + New “Virtual Concierge”
Since 2017, Delta and Lyft have partnered. You can earn Delta SkyMiles every time you use Lyft.
But Delta is now working with Lyft to create a “digital concierge” which will aggregate data to give you a better idea of when you need to leave the house. It will track traffic, TSA/Clear security waiting times, and how long you will need to walk to your gate to prompt you when to leave your house.
Bastian even hinted at picking up luggage in advance and delivering for you, though said this idea is more a “five-year plan” than a short-term goal:
“And then longer term, because I gave a five-year vision, is that we can use the app as far as getting bags from your home to your hotel without you having to even worry about checking in and onboard, finding bin space, and waiting at the carousel.”
That would certainly be an innovation I would welcome and might make me more willing to check bags.
Pay For More Things With Delta SkyMiles
As Delta seeks to broaden the reach of its SkyMiles currency beyond flights, it is working with airport concessioners to allow payment for product with SkyMiles via the Delta app.
Let me pop your balloon right here: you’re probably going to get a terrible value for your miles in such transactions.
“Customized” Airport Monitors (“Parallel Reality”)
Delta showcased new technology at CES that will allow up to 100 people to receive individualized information from the same airport monitor at the same time.
Yes, I’m baffled too.
Teka Perry, a tech writer, explained it in this way:
The demo I saw at CES 2020 allowed up to 100 people to view personalized images—each seeing their own name and flight information in their language of choice—but Thompson says the technology can accommodate thousands of simultaneous viewers. Travelers scan their boarding passes—it’s an opt-in system—and then cameras follow their movements around the terminal to ensure that when they look at a display, they see a personalized message.
The technology will be unrolled at Detroit (DTW) this summer. Bastian added:
“It will personalize what you need to know relative to your trip, how much time do you have to board.”
He also called it science fiction…indeed. Delta explains the new technology here.
Delta (and other airlines like United) already have app notifications when boarding for your flight starts. But what if you received a personalized notification when your seat was boarding?
That is coming to the Delta app next month. Bastian further explained:
“We will push notify you when it’s time for your plane to board, and that’s helpful but to a point and what we want to do is be able to push notify you when your individual seat is boarding so you know when you have to be there.”
The goal will be to eliminate crowding in the gate area and take the stress out of boarding.
Biometric Boarding will also be expanding.
I’m very intrigued by the parallel reality monitors coming to DTW (and admittedly a little spooked), but that last innovation–virtual queuing–is really a solid innovation. To know exactly when it is time to board will take a lot of stress off me, especially during rolling delays. Kudos to Delta for its many impressive technology innovations.