Following its partnership with high-speed Wi-Fi provider Viasat and plans to launch a Wi-Fi access portal developed in-house, Delta says its customers are now one step closer to a seamless, personalised in-flight experience.
Viasat’s next-generation satellite technology, Ka-Band, gives the carrier more options to modernise how the airline’s customers stay connected and enjoy content during travel.
According to Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Delta’s director of brand experience – in-flight entertainment & Wi-Fi, the new offering will unlock the future of the onboard experience at Delta. “Staying connected is a key part of our customers’ lives both at home and during travel, and we are taking big leaps forward to deliver an unparalleled experience that puts connectivity and personalisation front and centre. Best-in-class in-flight connectivity takes our vision for a reimagined brand experience to the next level and has long been a focus for us as a business.”
“Since the onset of the pandemic, we accelerated to deliver an enhanced customer experience in many ways – from industry-leading cleanliness to future-ready technology – to benefit customers as we welcome them back to travel.”
High-speed satellite-powered technology
Glenn Latta, managing director of in-flight entertainment & Wi-Fi explained why the airline has partnered with Viasat. “Viasat’s high-speed satellite-powered technology changes the game for what we can offer. We now have additional capability and next-gen technology to make sure you have a faster and more consistent connection to your favourite sites, including the ability to stream the entertainment of your choice on your flight. It also lays the groundwork for future enhancements and personalisation with the seatback screen that customers will love.”
According to Ekrem, Delta’s team has big plans for its customers and now has the tools to overcome any hurdles. “Whether Wi-Fi or in-flight entertainment, adding Viasat and our new portal together will help us offer high-quality streaming, more personalised content and a Wi-Fi experience closer to what you would find at home or work.”
Latta notes: “Coming this summer, the Delta-developed Wi-Fi access portal is an interface that integrates in-flight Wi-Fi and other day-of-travel features under one roof. It is built to work with Viasat and acts as the front page to your experience – the first thing that will greet you as you connect to the onboard Wi-Fi.
“At launch, you will have the opportunity to purchase Wi-Fi access and still enjoy free mobile messaging and access your favourite Delta.com services, with much more planned in the future. It gives us an interface to build on and is a dramatic step toward giving you great connectivity, personalised content and easy-to-use services that will improve your in-flight experience.”
New personalised experiences
Ekrem says the airline is consistently looking for new ways to delight its customers, and the portal opens the door to new personalised experiences. Regarding what the future onboard experience at Delta look like, Ekrem explains: “We have come a long way since Ed’s keynote address at CES 2020 where we shared a vision focused on creating a seamless, connected customer experience rooted in personalisation. We want to continue to transform travel into a part of your journey to look forward to, not endure – and that is still true moving forward. Though 2020 required some shifts in focus areas as a result of the pandemic, we still clearly see a future rooted in deepened customer interactions with technology.”
“One of the best parts of my job is finding new ways to introduce customers to a world of entertainment they might not have experienced before”, he continued. “In the past few years, we have added seatback screens to nearly all our mainline fleet and have expanded our offerings – from new partnerships with Hulu and Disney+, additional podcasts, and health and wellness options – to ensure every customer has an opportunity to unplug with options similar to what they would find at home. Whether you are catching up on a podcast, putting the finishing touches on an upcoming presentation or multi-tasking across devices, we want your journey to be as seamless as possible.”
Ekrem says Delta is committed to delivering Free Wi-Fi in the future, and this is a significant step on that journey. “Our Free Wi-Fi pilot in spring 2019 gave us valuable insights to better understand the challenges to providing a service that meets our standard – and having the right equipment was a key part of that. As Ed said at CES, delivering Free Wi-Fi that is high-quality and streaming capable requires thorough testing to ensure our technology can handle the demand.”
“Our vision for the future of travel will not come to life overnight. While we’ve had to shift our focus during the pandemic, our journey to offering the best customer experience possible has never stopped. Our teams are relentless in ensuring Delta customers have the very best experience onboard.”