Join Delta at its CES booth for a series of 30-minute conversations around the airline's newly announced innovations, how and why Delta pursues partnerships with high-tech startups, exactly why you cry on planes and much more.

  • Partnering with startups

  • The in-house startup that’s transforming the on-board experience

  • How AI is helping us predict the unpredictable

  • The Delta brand: A foundation of trust, a runway for innovation

  • Building in-house tech that empowers employees

  • How research helps us connect with customers 


PARTNERING WITH STARTUPS

Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 10 a.m. PT

When technology moves as quickly as consumer expectations change, being nimble is key to staying on the leading edge. Delta Chief Operating Officer Gil West, Brand Experience Managing Director Mauricio Parise, and Delta innovation strategist Vikram Rajagopalan will be joined by two of Delta’s startup partners to talk about why being innovative has always been an integral part of the global airline’s DNA, and why it pursues high-tech startups as part of its innovation strategy to solve customer challenges.

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Gil West, Delta Chief Operating Officer

Gil West is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Delta Air Lines. Gil leads the team responsible for safe, reliable operations across the globe, including more than 70,000 employees in Airport Customer Service; Cargo; Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance; Delta Connection; Delta Private Jets; Fleet and Technical Procurement; Flight Operations; In-Flight Service; Operations Analysis and Performance; Operations and Customer Center; and Technical Operations. Since joining Delta in March 2008, Gil has held positions of increasing responsibility in the airline’s operations and customer service divisions. Prior to Delta, Gil worked for Laidlaw Transit Services as President and Chief Executive Officer, and also held leadership roles at Northwest Airlines, United Airlines and The Boeing Company.

Vikram Rajagopalan

Vikram Rajagopalan, Innovation Strategy at The Hangar

Vikram Rajagopalan is responsible for shaping Delta’s innovation and venture investment strategy at The Hangar, Delta’s global innovation center. In this role, Vikram is responsible for working with teams across Delta to identify, partner and invest in startups and emerging technologies to accelerate customer experience and operational business objectives. 

Mauricio Parise

Mauricio Parise, Managing Director of Brand Experience

Mauricio Parise is Managing Director of Brand Experience for Delta Air Lines. In this role, he is responsible for bringing the brand to life across the customer journey for Delta. Mauricio joined Delta in 1998 and has since held positions of increasing responsibility, including leading Global Marketing Communications. He also served as CMO at GOL. 


THE IN-HOUSE STARTUP THAT'S TRANSFORMING THE ON-BOARD EXPERIENCE

Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 2 p.m. PT

Delta may be a 95-year-old company, but its robust innovation ecosystem and investment strategy led to launching its own in-house startup - Delta Flight Products, a powerful, fast-growing tech company that’s transforming your in-flight experience and making industry-first waves along the way. Delta Chief Operating Officer Gil West and Onboard Brand Experience Director Ekrem Dimbiloglu will be joined by Delta Flight Products President Rick Salanitri, Vice President of In-Flight Entertainment Alice Belcher and engineer Ilham Buharie to talk about why Delta took control of one of the most complex parts of its business and how DFP is making the future of travel entertainment a reality today.

Rick Salanitri President of DFP

Rick Salanitri, President of Delta Flight Products

Rick Salanitri has spent virtually his entire career working to improve the on-board experience for commercial airline passengers. After graduating from Auburn University in 1985, Rick held various engineering and leadership roles for the DoD, a major U.S. airline, and commercial airplane interior modification and manufacturing companies.

 In 2015, Rick joined the Onboard Product team at Delta Air Lines, where he led the Company’s Wi-Fi and In-Flight Entertainment initiatives pertaining to the on-board customer experience. In his current role, Rick established and oversees Delta Flight Products; a Delta subsidiary to develop, manufacture and certify aircraft components for projects related to cabin interiors and entertainment systems.

 Rick earned a Bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Alice Belcher - VP of IFE at DFP

Alice Belcher, Vice President of In-Flight Entertainment at Delta Flight Products

Alice Belcher came to DFP in August 2017 to lead the design, development and support of the Wireless IFE group. She came to DFP from Collins Aerospace (formally Rockwell Collins) where she was Senior Director of IFE and Biz Jet Cabin.  Alice spent 11 years at Collins Aerospace in quality, program management and business leadership roles. Prior to that, she spent 15 years working in the Automotive industry in a variety of roles as a supplier of cabin and electronic equipment. 

Ilham Buharie

Ilham Buharie, Senior System Engineer at Delta Flight Products

Ilham Buharie joined Delta Flight Products in 2018 as a senior system engineer. In this role, Ilham serves as a technical lead for system design and development activities including the wireless network, security, system evolution, and more. Prior to joining Delta Flight Products, Ilham worked on engineering solutions in a variety of sectors including industrial automation, commercial electronics and avionics.

Ilham earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from California State Polytechnic University. In his free time, Ilham can be found playing in the Atlanta Cricket Conference, golfing and riding his motorcycle.

 

Ekrem Dimbiloglu

Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Director of Onboard Brand Experience and Uniform Design

Ekrem Dimbiloglu is Delta’s Director of Onboard Brand Experience and Uniform Design, responsible for the airline’s onboard product design, innovation and experience to deliver on Delta’s brand promise of being thoughtful, reliable and innovative. In this role he is responsible for hard product (ex: seat design), soft product (ex: amenity kits, blankets), in-flight entertainment and WiFi, as well as the appearance of 64,000+ uniformed Delta employees. Previously, Ekrem led the design, testing and launch of Delta’s elevated Zac Posen and Land’s End uniform program, a $50 million investment. Before joining Delta, he served as a Senior Compliance Auditor for Calibre CPA Group PLLC.

See Gil West bio under "Partnering with startups."


HOW AI IS HELPING US PREDICT THE UNPREDICTABLE

Thursday, Jan. 9 at 10 a.m. PT

Running the world’s most reliable airline takes the world’s best employees - bold innovators and born collaborators. Combining their expertise with the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning at a scale that’s never been used by an airline, Delta will take the guesswork out of the unpredictable and take “on-time arrivals” to new heights. Chief Information Officer Rahul Samant, S.V.P. of Operations and Customer Center Erik Snell, and S.V.P. of TechOps Don Mitacek will join Innovation Director Nicole Jones to discuss Delta’s use of AI to provide customers a superior experience every time they fly.

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Rahul Samant, Delta Chief Information Officer

Rahul Samant is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer responsible for Delta’s information technology and digital strategy spanning applications, data, cybersecurity and infrastructure, which are a vital part of nearly every aspect of the customer experience. Rahul also oversees Delta’s Global Innovation Center that works hand-in-hand with Delta’s operating divisions to think big, start small and scale fast in solving for employee and customer challenges. Rahul joined Delta in 2016 from multinational insurance corporation AIG where he was Chief Digital Officer, and prior to that held various leadership roles at Bank of America.

Don Mitacek 2

Don Mitacek, Senior Vice President of Delta TechOps

Don Mitacek is Delta’s Senior Vice President for Delta Technical Operation (TechOps), Delta Global Services (DGS) and Delta Private Jets (DPJ). In this role, Don is responsible for driving the engineering and maintenance strategies for Technical Operations (TechOps). He is also the standing Chairman of the board for Delta’s Joint Venture with Aero México MRO Operation. Prior to joining Delta, Don was the Senior Vice President at TIMCO Aviation Services (TIMCO).

Erik Snell 2

Erik Snell, Senior Vice President of Operations and Customer Center

Erik Snell is Senior Vice President – Operations & Customer Center for Delta Air Lines, responsible for the Operations Customer Center (OCC) and the direction of Delta’s worldwide operations. His responsibilities also include oversight of the airline’s Operations Analysis and Planning organization which seeks to improve Delta’s operations and customer service performance through data-focused analysis and decision-making. Erik joined Delta Air Lines in 2005 from SunTrust Bank, and has since held positions in the airline’s finance, customer service and operations departments. He also served as Delta’s President of Delta Global Services and Delta Private Jets.

Nicole Jones

Nicole Jones, Director of Innovation at The Hangar

Nicole is Director of Innovation at The Hangar, Delta’s global innovation center. Nicole and her team leverage research, design, and technology to increase customer satisfaction and improve operations at Delta. Nicole puts her strategy and technology expertise to work at The Hangar having previously worked in other roles at Delta, including Retail Strategy and Optimization, Digital Content Strategy and media monetization.  Prior to joining Delta, she held leadership positions at Turner Broadcasting, IBM and Macy’s, Inc.


THE DELTA BRAND: A FOUNDATION OF TRUST, A RUNWAY FOR INNOVATION

Thursday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. PT

Delta S.V.P. of Pricing and Revenue Management Eric Phillips joins V.P. of Global Brand Experience Byron Merritt to talk about how trust in a brand provides a platform for pushing boundaries of innovation and customer experiences. The two Delta leaders – one with more than 20 years at the airline and the other a new arrival with two decades of experience leading powerhouse retail brands including Nike – will discuss their unique viewpoints on how Delta works to earn the trust of its customers in its work to build a loved consumer brand.

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Eric Phillips, Senior Vice President of Pricing and Revenue Management

Eric Phillips is Senior Vice President – Pricing and Revenue Management for Delta Air Lines. In this role, he is responsible for the development, planning and execution of pricing and inventory management strategies across the entire Delta system as well as revenue management systems development and corporate forecasting. Eric also has responsibility for distribution strategy for Delta’s products through internal and external channels, and for the development of Delta’s main digital experiences on delta.com and the FlyDelta app. Eric began his career at Delta in 1998. Since joining the airline, he has held numerous positions across the Commercial and Finance Divisions, including Corporate Strategy, Business Development, Network Planning, Financial Planning and Analysis, Treasury Management, and Revenue Management. 

Byron Merritt

Byron Merritt, Vice President of Global Brand Experience Design

Byron Merritt is Delta’s Vice President of Global Brand Experience Design. In this new role for Delta, Byron leads the design and development of product experiences and a brand identity system that will further differentiate Delta as a trusted consumer brand. Byron joins Delta after more than 13 years at universal sports icon Nike, where he served as Vice President of Retail Innovation, leading award-winning design experiences across consumer interactions – from digital products and events to retail concepts that bring digital and physical experiences together – and establishing himself as a global thought leader on design and innovation. Prior to joining Nike, Merritt was a member of the leadership team at the design and innovation firm IDEO. 

 


BUILDING IN-HOUSE TECH THAT EMPOWERS EMPLOYEES

Friday, Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. PT

When serving 200 million people a year to 300 destinations in 50 countries, how do you create moments with customers that feel more personal and meaningful? S.V.P. of Airport Customer Service and Cargo Gareth Joyce, S.V.P. of Flight Operations Jim Graham, V.P. of In-Flight Service Ranjan Goswami, and V.P. of Reservations Sales and Customer Care Tori Forbes-Roberts will be joined by Flight Attendant Jeanie Brady to share the innovative technologies built by Delta for Delta people that empower employees to make your travel journey all the more enjoyable.

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Jim Graham, Senior Vice President of Flight Operations

Captain Jim Graham is Senior Vice President — Flight Operations for Delta Air Lines.  His responsibilities include overseeing Delta’s day-to-day flight operations on six continents, as well as Delta’s pilot training, pilot standards, technical support, pilot staffing and scheduling, operational quality assurance and regulatory compliance.  Jim joined Delta in 1988 as a line pilot. During the course of his career, he has held numerous leadership positions in the airline’s Flight Operations divisions, including, most recently, V.P. – Flying Operations and Chief Pilot. He is qualified and actively flies the Boeing 757/767 both domestically and internationally and has approximately 15,000 total flight hours. Prior to Delta, Jim was a Naval Aviator.

Gareth Joyce

Gareth Joyce, Senior Vice President of Airport Customer Service and Cargo

Gareth Joyce is Senior Vice President – Airport Customer Service & President - Cargo leading Delta's largest business unit. In addition to managing all aspects of Delta's in-airport customer service and operations, he is responsible for maintaining and improving Delta Cargo’s business, which handles thousands of tons of cargo and mail each day throughout Delta’s global network.  Prior to joining Delta, Gareth held a variety of leadership positions with Mercedes-Benz, IQ Business Group, Standard Bank South Africa, Blick PLC, Austen Security and Deloitte & Touche.

Ranjan Goswami

Ranjan Goswami, Vice President of In-Flight Field Operations

Ranjan Goswami is Vice President – In-Flight Field Operations for Delta Air Lines.  In this position, he is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction related to managing the day-to-day safety and customer service performance of Delta’s more than 23,000 flight attendants. Previously based in Los Angeles, Ranjan was the Vice President, Los Angeles & Sales – West, and oversaw commercial strategy and customer experience for Delta’s largest West Region hub at LAX. Ranjan has also held roles in Global Sales, eCommerce and Customer Experience Planning and Development for Delta.

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Tori Forbes-Roberts, Vice President of Reservations Sales and Customer Care

Tori Forbes-Roberts is Vice President – Reservation Sales and Customer Care. In this role, she is responsible for 11 customer experience centers in four countries, with approximately 7,000 employees who engage with more than 40 million customers annually and generate approximately $3.5 billion in annual sold revenue. Previously, Tori served as Vice President – Pricing and Revenue Management – Americas. Prior to that, she has held positions of increasing responsibility in SkyMiles Co-Brand and Domestic Partnerships. She has also held leadership roles in WorldPerks Partner Marketing and Sales Planning and Analysis at Northwest Airlines, prior to its merger with Delta Air Lines.

Jeanie Brady

Jeanie Brady, Flight Attendant and Technical Facilitator

Jeanie Brady’s career as a Delta Air Lines Flight Attendant spans nearly three decades. A true ambassador for Delta’s world-renowned culture, Jeanie also serves as a Technical Facilitator, responsible for training fellow flight attendants. She is also a member of the airline’s Velvet team, which develops engaging and educational events for Delta employees.


HOW RESEARCH HELPS US CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS

Friday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. PT

Have you ever watched a movie on board a plane and cried when you normally wouldn’t? Ever wondered why? Consumer Insights Managing Director Carol Campbell will be joined by Flight Attendant Jeanie Brady for a discussion on people’s heightened emotions in the air, why they crave one snack over another, and how at the end of the day, connecting with customers is the ultimate privilege of all Delta people.

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Carol Campbell, Managing Director of Consumer Insights

Carol Campbell joined Delta Air Lines to lead its Consumer Insight arm and advance their global customer experience after a 22-year career with the Walt Disney Company, which was most notably marked by her leadership of the worldwide hotel development portfolio. Carol brings to Delta a reputation for getting deep into the minds of consumers (and employees), challenging the status quo, and bringing innovative experiences to life. She helped lead the development of Disney’s service standards worldwide, a foundation that is still in place today, and curated a multi-billion dollar experience advancement strategy for Disney’s hotels around the globe.

See Jeanie Brady bio under "Building in-house tech that empowers employees."