Air Transport World

'Being last is not always the worst thing'.(Delta Airlines overhauls its airport customer service technology)

The millennium bug forced Delta to take a hard look at its IT shortcomings; now it's on the leading edge of airport customer service technology

In crisis lies opportunity. For Delta Air Lines that old cliche has real meaning: The airline has exploited the challenges posed by the millennium bug to overhaul its obsolete IT infrastructure with leading-edge technology that will help achieve operational excellence, give a big boost to customer service and even contribute to revenue performance.

The secret weapon? The Airport Customer Service Gate and Boarding project, which is being rolled out to Delta's top 26 airports this year and will be in place throughout its domestic network within the next 18-24 months.

"The Y2K thing really spawned a lot of this because we had to go out to the airports and get a lot of the junk out of there," agrees CIO Charles Feld. "Being last with technology is not always the worst thing that can happen to you." Feld, who manages the airline's wholly owned Delta Technology subsidiary (formerly Transquest) and its 2,500 employees, was lured to Delta in 1997 after a successful career at Frito Lay and Burlington Northern by Delta Chairman Gerald Grinstein, who knew Feld from his days at the railroad. …

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