In the tablet wars, even the airlines are picking sides.
Delta Air Lines said today that it plans to give its 11,000 pilots their own Surface 2 tablets, which Microsoft announced earlier this month. The company says the devices will be used to access digital versions of paper navigation charts and reference documents, potentially saving the airline millions in fuel costs each year. The tablets will also let pilots access real-time weather information.
Delta’s love for Microsoft is nothing new. Back in August the company announced plans to hand out 19,000 Windows Phones to its flight attendants — all in an effort to make the in-flight purchasing process easier.
Delta’s efforts mirror those of rival American Airlines, which has fulfilled its tablet needs using not Microsoft products but the iPad. As with Delta, American Airlines’ move was all about cutting the costs of transporting pilots’ paper manuals.
All of this in-flight tablet adoption comes as federal regulators are still grappling with whether airplanes can handle electronic devices during all parts of flight — including takeoff and landing. A federal advisory committee is expected to tell the Federal Aviation Administration today that devices like the Surface and iPad are indeed safe for airplanes — as long as they’re kept offline.
Here’s a Microsoft PR video about the Delta news, if you’re into that kind of thing.