Delta: Keep Climbing

The title is Delta’s current tagline, not my own. It fits with their initiative so well that it deserves the bold font. Before I dive into Delta’s recent app, I have to share this. I stumbled upon it while researching, it’s stamped September 30, 2000.*

Airlines are racing to sell more tickets on the Web. Why? Simple. It’s much, much cheaper than any of the alternatives.

Today, Delta Air Lines, like most major carriers, distributes about 70% of its tickets through travel agents. Each one of those round-trips costs the airline $10 in fees. Delta’s annual tab: $330 million.
The cost of accepting an online reservation and of processing an e-ticket via delta-air.com, however, is close to zero. Delta has sold nearly 5% of its tickets, representing $400 million this year, on its site — second among airlines only to Southwest Airlines… By 2003, Delta expects that delta-air.com will account for up to 20% of the company’s sales.

Fast forward thirteen years, Delta is competing solely online, through several points of entry, with every airline today. Hilarious.

ANYWAY- Delta was in need of a brand revamp to compete with many other flight plans and they decided to focus on costumer service. Even though every company ever says that, these guys seemed to truly mean it. They’ve fashioned customer service around re-innovating everything about their customers’ experience, not just how flawless your boarding is, and it’s payed off.  “Keep Climbing”, that lovely tagline I mentioned above, launched things with a series of well-written spots and print ads.

Delta_2010_OUNCE_VertOOH

But that fluff isn’t fraudulent, it’s reflecting actionable change. Starting with a digital revamp, or “hub” as they put it, Delta altered their site’s UI. That interface then seamlessly flowed into an app, which carried most of the weight/attention.

It improves ticket checkins, baggage security, wifi/movie access while flying, and uses a fancy-shmancy map to illustrate things passengers are flying over. Someone flying Delta might not ‘quit’ their app until the transit is all said and done- and that’s the goal, right? From the journalist’s 2000 perspective, this app is practically magic.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 9.41.38 PM Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 9.39.50 PM Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 9.39.11 PM

Overall, this app is a solid addition that’s wisely paralleled with the “Keep Climbing” direction.

I also like seeing the soft-sell for an airline like this, especially when its coupled with utilitarian digital. As a kid who didn’t fly often, with parents who can still rarely afford tickets, getting up into the sky feels futuristic– however silly that sounds. Seeing this company disseminate their much needed business change with a consistent style and diction is inspirational.

Ha, obviously I’m sold.

*http://www.fastcompany.com/40733/deltas-web-strategy-takes-flight

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