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PARALLEL REALITY™ unlocks simpler, personalized airport experience for Detroit customers

Customers departing from Detroit Metropolitan Airport can now access PARALLEL REALITY™ technology, a must-be-seen-to-be-believed experience that demonstrates Delta’s spirit of innovation and commitment to customers.

Customer at DTW looking at the new PARALLEL REALITY experience screen

Editor's note: This story was updated on Sept. 14 to reflect the latest way to opt in to the PARALLEL REALITY experience. Customers must scan either a paper boarding pass or a digital boarding pass from the Fly Delta app in order to opt in.

Customers looking for evidence that the airport of the future is here may want to book a trip through Detroit Metropolitan Airport now that PARALLEL REALITY technology is live and available for departing DTW customers.  

This groundbreaking technology, which first debuted at CES in 2020, allows up to 100 customers to each see personalized flight information tailored to their unique trip on a single, shared digital screen, simplifying their journey through the airport at a glance.  

While the technology may seem like something out of science fiction, Ranjan Goswami, Senior Vice President – Customer Experience, emphasized that it’s fully grounded in today’s needs.  

“If this new technology can make finding your gate and departure information quicker and easier, we’re not just showing customers a magic trick — we’re solving a real problem,” he said. “Customers already rely on personalized navigation via their mobile devices, but this is enabling a public screen to act as a personal one – removing the clutter of information not relevant to you to empower a better journey.” 

The world’s first-ever PARALLEL REALITY experience is now live for departing and connecting Delta customers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Parallel reality display at Delta's Detroit terminal

The airport made personal 

When tech scouts at Delta’s global innovation center, The Hangar, first came across PARALLEL REALITY technology over three years ago, Delta leaders quickly saw the value such technology could bring to an airport environment. Delta’s innovation team partnered with Southern California-based tech startup Misapplied Sciences, led by CEO Albert Ng, to bring PARALLEL REALITY to life.  

“All innovation at Delta is incredibly human-centric,” said Matt Muta, Vice President - Innovation. “We’re not chasing shiny objects; we’re looking for ways to make our customers’ lives easier. With PARALLEL REALITY, we saw an opportunity to personalize and simplify what can be a confusing experience – navigating the airport.” 

Delta’s partnership with Misapplied Sciences has brought the high-tech world of Silicon Valley to the familiar airport setting. “Delta's leadership immediately understood the implications of our technology for the future of travel," said Ng, adding that "their objectives mesh perfectly with our company's vision of personalized experiences in public environments; and technology that empowers people without complexity or gadgets." 

To Delta’s innovation team, the value add of the PARALLEL REALITY experience to the travel journey is clear.  

“Ultimately, this technology is a way to make the customer feel seen and valued,” said Muta. “Imagine the peace of mind that such individualized messaging can provide to a traveler who is overwhelmed by the airport environment. That level of personalization, when coupled with the care of Delta employees on the ground, is a powerful combination.” 

Delta customer entering the new PARALLEL REALITY experience at DTW.

Innovation, investments fuel state-of-the-art airport experience 

Delta is investing heavily – in ways big and small – in our vision to transform travel into a more personalized, seamless and premium experience that’s better for our customers, their journeys, and our local communities. 

Earlier this year, Delta unveiled multi-billion-dollar terminal transformations at LGA and LAX, facilitating a more efficient and seamless experience for customers from the moment they arrive. Delta is also investing in digital identity technology, which allows customers to move through the airport using facial recognition, eliminating the need to show a boarding pass or government ID. Digital ID is steadily expanding across the network – it's already available in ATL, DTW, LAX and LGA – and will eventually be activated in all of Delta’s U.S. hubs. With trips powered by digital identity, customers can expedite their journeys through the airport and spend more time enjoying their travels. 

On April 20, the first phase of the new Delta Sky Way at LAX officially opened to customers, along with the terminal’s new, premier Delta Sky Club. The joint $2.3 billion investment in partnership with Los Angeles World Airports is slated for completion next year.

“Customers are expecting more and better from airlines, and we have to work even harder to meet those higher expectations,” said Goswami. “Across the organization, as we work to increase staffing to meet consumer demand, we must also continually evaluate the experience we’re delivering in the airport and work to make it as intuitive, efficient and pleasurable as possible.” 

“What if”: Bringing the airport of the future to life 

As the PARALLEL REALITY experience demonstrates, Delta is committed to reimagining the airport of the future.  

“So many ideas for innovating in the airport space get stuck at go because they’re constrained by the experience we’ve come to expect,” said Muta. “When we go to the airport, we expect certain processes to take place – checking in at a kiosk, for example, or waiting in a line at the security checkpoint. But what if you didn’t have to wait in a line at all? What if we could reimagine the experience outside of the constructs that exist? There are so many opportunities to think differently about how these spaces can operate.” 

For his part, Goswami envisions an airport that brings the convenience and ease of a personal mobile device to the travel experience at large. “Most of us can’t imagine our lives without the constant peace of mind our cell phones provide,” he said. “But I think customers are eventually going to want to be able to navigate their journeys without being buried in their screens. In the future, I’d love to create an airport experience as convenient and informative as the phone in your hand.” 

While these imagined innovations are still a long way from becoming reality, the PARALLEL REALITY experience—now open on Concourse A of DTW’s McNamara Terminal—provides a powerful testament to rethinking what’s possible.

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