Delta took the CES stage this week for the third consecutive year as Molly Battin, V.P. – Global Brand Marketing, talked about Delta’s efforts to use technology to better connect with employees and customers.
The panel, moderated by WIRED acting Editor-in-Chief Megan Greenwell, also featured Norman DeGreve, CVS Health Chief Marketing Officer, and Bob Lord, IBM Senior Vice President – Cognitive Applications, Blockchain and Ecosystems.
Delta is currently working with CVS Health on a first-of-its-kind comprehensive COVID-19 employee testing program and has a long-time partnership with IBM, through which new tech like quantum computing is now being explored to enable even better customer experiences throughout travel. Together, the trio discussed a range of timely topics, from how COVID-19 has impacted customer expectations to how each company is using tech to guide smarter decisions as we emerge from the pandemic.
While COVID-19 has changed the world, Delta’s customer-focused approach remains true. “We are listening closely to customers and looking at ways we can pull new technology and innovation into everything we are doing to create a more seamless experience,” said Battin.
The session comes one year after Delta CEO Ed Bastian made history as the first airline CEO to deliver the opening keynote at CES, where he showcased Delta’s vision for the future of travel. And in 2019, Bastian joined IBM CEO Ginny Rometty for her opening keynote.
While much of the panel was focused on technology enabling business, Battin also shared Delta’s successes in using technology to power our greatest differentiator – the Delta people. It’s a theme that has long been part of Delta’s strategy to reduce the number of transactional interactions employees have with customers so they can deliver more meaningful and human interactions instead.
“When we think about technology at Delta, it’s about putting the human touch first,” Battin said. “We are looking at all the ways we can use technology to empower our people to have more personal connections.”
Battin also reiterated Delta’s approach to emerging from the pandemic stronger than before by pulling the future forward whenever possible. Among the proof points she highlighted were accelerating the retirement of older, less fuel-efficient fleets and fast-tracking work to bring the future of in-flight entertainment to life.
While Delta’s focus in 2020 pivoted to providing a safe experience for essential travel throughout the pandemic, delivering on other customer-centric investments, like faster Wi-Fi, personalized in-flight entertainment and other innovations Delta debuted at CES last year, remain on its roadmap. Just last week, Delta finalized a partnership with high-speed Wi-Fi provider Viasat and took steps to launch a Delta-developed Wi-Fi access portal that will dramatically change how customers interact online from the air.
Other highlights from the last year include:
- Launching the industry’s first domestic digital identity test in the U.S., giving customers the option to move through the airport faster and more easily by building on its existing facial recognition technology
- Taking the stress out of planning with a new interactive travel map that details what customers need to know about quarantine and entry restrictions at their destination
- Installing high-tech Vyv antimicrobial LED lighting above high-touch sinks and countertops in lavatories to enhance surface cleanliness, bringing its CES-announced partnership to life