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Forget iPads: Delta to dole out Windows Phones to flight attendants

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 prepaid 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 percent market share in the second quarter, compared with 79.3 percent for Android and 13.2 percent 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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