Combined, Dan Lavker and Anthony Grant have over a half-century of tenure with Delta. As members of the Elite Services team, they craft memorable, premium experiences for customers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).
You’ll often find them behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne, ferrying customers between connecting flights. Most recipients are lucky, unsuspecting customers who find an Elite Service Ambassador waiting for them at their plane’s boarding door with their name on a sign when they arrive. It’s a “surprise and delight” service that keeps the Elite Services team on the move all day.
“It’s great,” Lavker said. “I have the opportunity to be more one-on-one with the customers. It’s definitely a more personal service.”
This summer, Delta and Porsche marked 12 years together and celebrated a renewal of their partnership with a rare appearance of one of the carmaker’s most prized creations: the 918 Spyder, on loan to the Elite Services team. With only 918 (that’s how the car got its name) of the hybrid-powered supercar ever manufactured worldwide, spotting one of the cars on the streets or at the racetrack would be a rarity. But what's even more extraordinary? Spotting one cruising between jets at the airport.
Porsche loaned a pre-production prototype of the 918 Spyder from their corporate collection to Delta’s Elite Services team for a two-week period, after which the supercar returned to the automaker’s collection. The car is typically used by Porsche for marketing and promotional purposes.
In addition to expressing the shared values of premium, best-in-class products between the two brands, the appearance of the 918 Spyder is also a nod to both companies’ visions for a more sustainable future. The 918 Spyder is a hybrid, often cruising the tarmac at ATL under fully electric power among Delta’s growing fleet of electric Ground Service Equipment. It’s a point of forward-thinking pride for the people of both carmaker and airline.
Throughout the day, Lavker, Grant and their Elite Services colleagues review lists of Delta customers passing through the airport. From that list, they’ll pick some lucky customers to skip the walk through the concourses and instead offer them a ride – normally in a Porsche Cayenne – to their connecting flight.
The surprise comes when a customer sees a member of the Elite Services team standing in the jet bridge with their name on a sign when they deplane. The delight happens as they take the customer’s bag and escort them down to the ramp to the waiting Porsche. They’ll snap a few pictures, and off they’ll go – across the airport to their waiting connecting flight. It’s a memorable service and an experience that money can’t buy: seeing the workings of an airport at ground level, feeling the welcoming nature and elevated care of Delta people.
“It’s the first and only time some people will ever see this car,” Grant said. “They appreciate that they’re being picked up. But the fact that they’re being picked up in this? It’s overwhelming for them.”
“We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback,” Grant said of his colleagues who see the car at the airport. “[Delta people] want to sit in it and take pictures with it. The fact that Delta and Porsche have the type of relationship where Porsche will trust us with this remarkable vehicle, it says a lot.”
While Porsche’s 918 Spyder was only seen on the ramp at ATL for a couple weeks, Lavker and Grant and their colleagues remain, looking forward to the opportunity to surprise and delight more customers every day. And keep those window shades open as your flight approaches the gate: The 918 Spyder might make an appearance at another Delta hub later this year.