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While Other Airlines Hand Out iPads, Delta Chooses Windows Phones for Flight Attendants

Aug 22, 2013 6:51 am

Skift Take

Delta will argue that Windows Phones provided the mobile point of sale offering that its flight attendants require, as unsexy as the choice was. Let’s see how it all works out for Delta the contrarian (at least in this choice).

— Dennis Schaal

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Delta flight attendants are getting a customized version of the Nokia Lumia 820. Pictured is the consumer version. Nokia

Talk about being contrarian: While Allegiant Air distributes iPads to flight attendants, and American Airlines and Ryanair dispense them to pilots,  Delta has chosen to issue a Windows Phone 8 device, namely the Nokia Lumia 820, to its 19,000 flight attendants.

You can just imagine their excitement at the wisdom of this smartphone choice. However, Delta says the Delta-specific version of the mobile commerce solution was developed after months of flight attendant feedback.

The phones will accommodate “near-real-time” credit card transactions, and will enable passengers to receive emailed eReceipts and use pre-paid credit cards for onboard purchases, Delta says.

Importantly, Delta says in a roundabout way that these Nokia Lumia 820s eventually will know something about individual passengers. In other words, the smartphones being carried down the aircraft’s aisles will not be total strangers.

“Delta expects to provide flight attendants with certain customer-specific information to enable more personalized service,” the airline says.

Windows Phone shipments have been rallying of late, but they still only wielded a 3.7% market share in the second quarter, compared with 79.3% for Android and 13.2% for iOS, according to the latest tallies from IDC.

Delta’s flight attendants get a customized Windows Phone 8, developed by Avanade on a Microsoft mobile point of sale platform.

Delta Connection flight attendants are in line to get the phones later this month.

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