Leading US carrier Delta Air Lines has taken matters into its own hands with its outstanding IFE solution. Keen to do more than the competition, the airline launched its own startup IFE and technology enterprise, which is now set to provide wireless IFE to all their new aircraft as well as its fleet of 767s.
The Delta Flight Products IFE system was first seen on the A220 earlier this year. However, Delta has now expanded the platform to be 100% Delta-sourced and developed, which is being deployed on their new A330-900neo and their A321neo fleets.
A Delta spokesperson told Runway Girl Network that,
“The A220 wireless IFE system was developed in partnership with Gogo; however, Delta Flight Products has since expanded its IFE platform to be comprised completely of Delta-sourced and developed elements.”
Delta’s own IFE provider
Delta Flight Products, a wholly Delta owned startup, is a bid to innovate on the most complex aspects of Delta’s aircraft fleet. Launched in 2016 with just 10 employees, the entity now has more than 230 people working within it, bringing to market a number of innovative products.
When Delta launched Delta Flight Products, one of their key goals was to revolutionize in-flight entertainment. They wanted to develop technology that was not generally available, to take a leading place in the race for better IFE solutions. President of DFP, Rick Salanitri, said of this,
“Our goal is simple, to deliver a more interactive and cost effective in-flight entertainment platform that can be easily customized for Delta customers.”
Delta took delivery of their first A220-100 in 2018, which was the first in their fleet to be fitted with the new wireless IFE system from DFP. Passengers have been enjoying the content on the A220 since its inaugural flight in February, and now the system is being rolled out on the A330-900neo and A321neo fleets also.
Delta says that the IFE system will also be retrofitted to their 767-400 aircraft as part of their refurbishment program beginning this year.
What’s good about Delta’s in house IFE?
The Delta wireless IFE is provided via Hitachi tablets, mounted into seat back holders. The wireless connectivity eliminates the need for around one pound of wiring per seat, according to Delta, which on their 767-400 fleet alone is estimated to save 1,330 tons of carbon emissions each year.
For passengers, Delta is promising an experience that is as rich and personalized as they would expect in their homes. It seems Delta has been making some improvements to the Gogo Vision Touch system under their own brand, citing the A330 and A321 systems as an ‘evolution’.
The carrier promises an improved touch display that features intuitive navigation and a host of features to make IFE just a little bit better. One such feature is the ability to compare remaining flight time against the running time of a movie or TV show, to avoid the annoyance of being unable to reach the end of the content before IFE is switched off.
Most exciting for the avgeek is the Flight Viewer app, which includes real-time data from the flight deck and all sorts of additional goodies. The Command Center portal even offers a split-screen view, incorporating both aircraft position and various statistics to really get your geek on.
In terms of screens, Delta calls these ‘seat-back screens’ but they are effectively tablets mounted into the seat in front. This makes the resolution, brightness and touchscreen responsiveness much more tablet-like, and a step above the typical low-res seat-back offering. In main cabin and Delta Comfort+, screens are 10.1”, in Premium Select they’re 13.3” and in Delta One they are a massive 18.5”.
A flight review by TPG reveals that, on that particular flight, there was a choice of 298 movies, 550 TV shows and 1,550 audio selections to choose from. The interface itself looks very similar to the familiar cable and satellite TV systems, making it easier to find appropriate content. Delta states that there are also LinkedIn Learning courses from expert instructors – an intriguing offering indeed.
Passengers can also choose to stream the same content to any laptop, iOS or Android device through the Gogo Entertainment App while in flight. Wireless connectivity in flight is still offered via the Gogo 2Ku satellite service.