- Delta Air Lines is moving flight crews off Windows-based devices in 2018 in favor of Apple products, according to a company announcement. More than 23,000 flight attendants and 14,000 pilots will begin using iPhones and iPads, respectively, starting early next year.
- Flight attendants will start using the iPhone 7 Plus as the in-flight point of sale and customer service tool, replacing the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets, which crews began using in 2014, according to the announcement. Pilots will start using Apple's iPad Pro to replace Surface tablets.
- Even though Delta is moving away from Windows devices, the airline said it continues to "maintain a strong and positive partnership with Microsoft." Some of the iPhone 7 Plus applications run on Microsoft Dynamics, according to the announcement.
One of the reasons the company is shifting to iOS is to help bring its devices in line with partners at Aeromexico, Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic. Delta is one of many airlines looking toward iOS for developing and enhancing aviation applications, creating a standard for how mobile devices are used in air.
A number of organizations are working to develop iOS apps for the enterprise. It is a boon for Apple, which has traditionally focused on consumers but is now setting its sights on businesses.
Big Blue and United announced a collaboration on a suite of enterprise-ready iOS apps in February, and the airline also rolled out 50,000 iOS devices to its employees. Finnair is also working with IBM on iOS apps to create easier ways for maintenance crews and supervisors to inspect planes and assign mechanics.
Airlines have had numerous high-profile examples of IT failures, which can cause widespread and rippling delays. One of the key issues is airlines have often not given enough attention to technology needs. This is starting to change as airlines invest more in up-and-coming technology which can help solve glaring issues, such as overbooking or ticket purchasing.