The company will join Nokia and Microsoft – the devices based on the Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system (OS) – as well as Avanade, to provide a point-of-sale system on mobile devices for attendants to use in the air.
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Features will include near real-time credit card purchases for goods or upgrades, e-receipts which can be emailed to customers and a capability to use coupons.
It will be powered by wireless technology – both Wi-Fi and 4G – from AT&T and the application will run over Microsoft’s Dynamics for Retail platform.
Delta Air Lines's smartphones features will not be limited to in-flight shopping, but will come loaded with passenger manifests, frequent flyer information, updates on connecting gates and flight attendant scheduling, pinned to the home screen with Microsoft’s Live Tiles feature on Windows Phones.
Users will also be able to synchronise with productivity tools, ensuring they can work on the move with software suites such as Microsoft Office and linked email inboxes.
"Delta's 19,000 in-flight professionals are there for the safety and comfort of our customers and equipping them with innovative solutions means they can better meet our customers' needs on board every flight," said Joanne Smith, senior vice-president of in-flight service at Delta.
"This is yet another way we're investing in technology to improve the customer experience."
The agreement will last at least three years, with Delta signing up to upgrades as subsequent Nokia devices come to market.