Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian made history in the consumer electronics industry last week as the first airline executive to deliver the keynote speech for Las Vegas’ premier electronics trade show.
In a speech lasting more than 70 minutes, Bastian outlined a number of ways the airline looks to innovate the travel industry in 2020 and beyond. “We see technology as a tool to further our mission of connecting people and creating opportunities,” he said, with the ultimate goal of making travel easier for all involved.
You can watch Bastian’s full address on Delta’s website. The speech included a mass giveaway of the new blankets the airline is rolling out in Delta One, as well as two pairs of Delta One tickets for journalists in attendance. The big takeaways from the speech include changes to Delta’s app, in-flight services and personalized airport communication; and AI-driven platforms to promote thoughtful travel decisions in the workplace.
The Fly Delta app gets an overhaul to allow it to better anticipate customer needs. This “digital travel concierge” can help travelers reduce stress levels throughout their journey by arranging rides and offering helpful notifications tactfully. For example, the airline is deepening its relationship with Lyft to make ridesharing and flying less stressful on the whole.
In-flight services change, as well. Delta is working to become the first airline with dedicated in-flight channels that spotlight movies and shows meeting the ReFrame Stamp standard, meaning films and shows have females in at least four of eight key production roles. The standard, founded by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film, offers workshops, mentorships and other programs to help achieve gender balance in film and television.
“It’s a really important time for women everywhere, particularly in the entertainment industry,” explained Lulu Wang, writer and director, The Farewell, the first film Delta is featuring with the ReFrame Stamp standard.
During the presentation, Bastian also seemed to imply complimentary WiFi is coming to flights where applicable. In-flight connection capabilities include letting passengers purchase food and drinks with award miles, allowing guests to connect with other passengers and stay as connected or disconnected as they wish, all through the help of seatback screens.
Delta’s airport product is evolving as well. Bastian welcomed Nicole Jones, director of innovation, Delta, and Albert Ng, CEO, Misapplied Sciences, to announce parallel reality, which allows up to 100 customers to look at the same screen and receive personalized travel details. No further information was given at the time.
Finally, Delta Air Lines demonstrated a wearable, robotic exoskeleton. The suit will boost employee’s physical capabilities in everything from changing tires to lifting heavy luggage, and testing among employees begins this year.
Did you check out the full keynote speech? What do you think of some of the revolutions Delta plans to bring to the travel industry? Tell us. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.
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