Delta is one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies Worldwide for the second consecutive year – the only airline on the who's who of tech disruptors including Apple, Microsoft, Google and Rocket Lab.
Delta's 2018 deployment of biometrics to streamline the customer experience, combined with its groundbreaking weather app that enhances safety and comfort in flight, earned it the No. 2 spot among travel companies – up four positions from 2018. "Taking customers from curb to gate with increasing ease," Fast Company wrote."Technology is second only to our employees as Delta's greatest competitive advantage," said Gil West, Chief Operating Officer. "Our team's ability to think big, start small and learn fast means we can rapidly scale technology and innovative processes to respond to what customers say is most important in their travel experience."
Delta in 2018 unveiled the 2.0 version of its Flight Weather Viewer – a proprietary iPad app that provides Delta pilots with real-time graphics depicting turbulence and other weather hazards along their flight path. It allows pilots to determine how the air ahead will affect the aircraft so they can adjust course more precisely, better manage the cabin experience for customers and reduce turbulence-related injuries. Delta's turbulence app also reduces altitude changes by pilots attempting to find smooth air "in the blind," saving millions in fuel costs and decreasing CO2 emissions by tens of thousands of metric tons in its first year.
Delta also disrupted the airline industry with biometrics in 2018. The global carrier introduced fingerprint biometrics as a form of optional ID verification across all 50 Delta Sky Clubs in partnership with CLEAR to streamline Delta Sky Club entry. Then Delta partnered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to introduce the first-ever fully biometric terminal in the U.S. at Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal F in Atlanta. Using facial recognition technology, customers can opt to go from check-in to bag drop, through security and on to the plane by looking into a camera to verify their identity, instead of fumbling for their ticket and passport at each touch point.
While biometrics and the weather app were the reasons for Delta's inclusion on this year's Most Innovative Companies list, Delta introduced several other innovative solutions for customers and employees in 2018 that are keeping the airline's continuous improvement momentum going. From launching state-of-the-art de-icing resources and introducing the world's first wireless inflight entertainment system through its in-house start-up, to developing a bevy of proprietary platforms to support employees in delivering the Delta Difference, Delta made innovation waves in 2018.
Delta was named to Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies in 2018 list for its industry-leading work to deploy RFID bag tags and tracking tools so customers can track their checked bags in real time while receiving push notifications via the Fly Delta app.
"Regardless of the innovative solutions we explore, our goal is always the same," West said. "We want to develop high-tech tools that enable high touch – meaning our employees and customers have the tools they need to engage most meaningfully with each other."