Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Delta gives customers first-ever map view of bag’s journey

Everyone who flies is intimately familiar with their journey from the curb to the plane to baggage claim at their destination. But what about their luggage? Taken from us at the check-in counter, its journey – and hopefully our eventual reunion with it – has been a mystery. Until now.

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) has upgraded its Fly Delta mobile app, and version 4.0 includes a map view of the passenger’s bag and its journey, making it the first carrier to offer that level of visibility.

“From the moment our customers drop off their bag, we want them to know we’re looking out for it every step of the way, Bill Lentsch, Delta SVP of Airline Operations and Airport Customer Service, said, noting that the airline is “[W]orking to take the stress out of flying one innovation at a time.”

Screen shot of Fly Delta 4.0 mobile app showing baggage locations
Screenshot of Fly Delta app
The feature, which is a newly unveiled map enhancement, builds on Delta’s industry-first, system-wide launch of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) bag tags and the roll out of RFID tracking technology at 84 airports in the U.S. All domestic stations now offer map view of the bag’s journey and international stations will receive this technology in the coming months, the airline said.

When a customer wants to see the location of their bag on the map, the display starts by showing a zoomed out map of the U.S. as the bag travels from one airport to the next. The map then automatically zooms to airport view and users can follow their bag along its journey via pins, with the last known location identified by a suitcase icon. Tapping any of the pins or the icon will provide additional text information about the location of the bag.

Push notifications will sync with the app later this year and offer Delta customers down-to–the-minute updates on their checked baggage, according to the carrier.

The upgrade is part of the airline’s effort to make the app more user-friendly and more useful as a result.

“We listen to our customers and know they want a simplified mobile experience that puts the control back in their hands,” Rhonda Crawford, Vice President – Global Distribution & Digital Strategy, said.

In addition to an enhanced map view for baggage, Fly Delta 4.0 automatically updates when flight details change, keeping customers informed. The updated app integrates the “Today” view and the customer’s boarding pass into a single screen, eliminating the need to toggle back and forth. Electronic boarding passes now automatically update, including seat, gate and flight information, and the color of the "Today" screen reflects each customer’s current SkyMiles® Medallion status.

Delta’s reputation among frequent fliers improved dramatically in the last year. According to the SKYTRAX 2016 World Airline Awards, Delta was No. 35 of the World’s 100 Best Airlines. That marks a 10-place improvement from the No. 45 spot it occupied in the 2015 and 2013 awards, and an even greater improvement over the No. 49 spot it earned in the 2014 awards.

In addition, Delta derives the smallest percentage of its revenue from the sale of so-called “ancillary services” of any of the big three legacy U.S. carriers, perhaps indicating it is less inclined to nickel-and-dime its customers, and perhaps contributing to its increasing regard among its passengers.

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Screenshot provided by Delta Air Lines
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