No Need For Alarm: Your Next Delta Flight Could Get a Bit More Personal
I wouldn't go so far as to call Delta clairvoyant, but it's pretty darn good at forecasting. The airline has become borderline wizard-like in its ability to precisely fill each cabin to capacity, and soon, it's planning to parlay that magic into your in-flight experience.
Delta Air Lines CFO Paul Jacobson spoke today at the Cowen & Co. transportation conference, and he explained a bit about how the airline is looking to intelligently round up customer data into a "single view" of their likes, dislikes, preferences and even their prior experiences.
"So when you walk on board a flight today and interact with a flight attendant, that flight attendant — they may not know the experience that you had last week or last month," Jacobson stated. "When we can unite these systems together operationally in customer service, we can actually come in and acknowledge — 'I know we failed last week, we apologize for that, here's what we can do to make it up.' That's a level of personalization that we really haven't seen before."
He stopped short of detailing what user data would be collected, shared, processed and used. It's not far-fetched to assume that a data-driven company like Delta would look to operationalize some of the information it gathers when you book and board a flight. Travel profiles already include things like aisle or window preference, whether you want a special meal and how many miles you've racked up over the course of your life. Go a level deeper, and it's not hard to envision a carrier analyzing things like how far out you typically book travel, what fare classes you typically select, what extras you typically pay for, how many bags you typically check, and what pre-departure beverage you typically request.
For high-spending Medallion elites, there's even a department within Delta that monitors tight connections, and if they deem suitable, they'll send over a Porsche to whisk you directly from one flight to another. The more a carrier knows about you, the more it's able to proactively serve you.
As flights continue to depart with every seat filled, less legroom and pitch, tighter lavatories and higher bag fees, it makes sense to see a carrier looking to data in order to provide a more personalized experience. Battling the "cattle car" stereotype is no easy feat, but it sounds as if Delta's flight attendants may soon be armed with intel to make their interactions with you a little more personal.
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