The next time you fly Delta, don’t be surprised if a smartphone takes your drink order. The airline announced last week that over 19,000 flight attendants will now carry Nokia Lumia 820 handsets for processing in-flight purchases.
Using a handset will make life simpler for hard-pressed flight attendants and the passengers they care for. Instead of writing down orders by hand and collecting cash or credit card numbers, flight attendants will simply enter orders on the smartphone screen, collect payment with a quick swipe of a credit or debit card across an attached reader, and email a receipt to the passenger.
Food and drinks aren’t the only items that can be purchased this way; upgrades to better seats qualify as well. A planned update will let flight attendants scan coupons from flyers’ own mobile devices.
Also in the future, “Delta expects to provide flight attendants with certain customer-specific information to enable more personalized service.” In other words, your server might be able to look up past purchases and know that you prefer your martinis shaken, not stirred—or at least that you prefer martinis.
The smartphones debuted on Delta flights last week, and will appear on appear on Delta Connection flights starting today.