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Delta executives revealed the airline has started experimenting with AI to determine pricing and assist with reservations as part of a growing industry trend.

Delta Air Lines is already bringing artificial intelligence into its operations. At an investor conference Wednesday, Delta executives said that they started experimenting with AI in the past month for its reservations team and to determine pricing. 

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the carrier hoped to use AI to speed up the time it takes customers to get answers on reservation questions. 

“You’re on hold for five minutes waiting for an answer, they should only be on hold for five seconds getting an answer,” Bastian said at the Morgan Stanley investor conference on Wednesday. “That’s one of the first applications that we’re deploying and we’re using AI already to build.”

Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s president, added that the carrier also started using AI to figure out how much customers would be willing to pay for premium products in addition to base fares. 

“It really automates,” Hauenstein said. “It streamlines and accelerates our ability to move faster. So, really exciting on a whole host of fronts. But from the commercial side, that’s one where we really think it has some great power for us.”

How Airlines Are Using AI

AI has increasingly become a new tool in airline operations, whether it’s using algorithms to determine pricing or to predict weather patterns. 

Fetcherr, an AI startup that has worked with airlines to determine pricing, claimed that using AI can raise airlines’ revenues by at least 10%, according to Bloomberg

And this isn’t the first time Delta has talked about implementing AI. Delta’s chief digital officer Eric Phillips said he believed AI would become an important tool for the airline’s operations at the Skift Global Forum in New York in September.

“I think that the overall vision that we’re on … is how do you use the digital tools that are available out there, the technology and systems, to connect things better,” Phillips said at the forum. 

Bastian cautioned that AI needed to be implemented in a streamlined way at a company as large as Delta.

“If you let the computers control the information flow with a dirty structure, you’re going to get hallucinations on steroids, right? So we’re being very disciplined about how we roll it out,” Bastian said. “But I think the opportunity is enormous.” 

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Tags: artificial intelligence, Delta Airlines, Ed Bastian, reservations systems

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