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Microsoft and Nokia help the Delta Air Lines cabin crew get mobile

With the help of Avanade and AT&T, Delta's staff will be able to use Nokia Lumia 820s to tend to passenger needs.

Airplane flying in clear blue sky

Delta Air Lines has started handing out Windows Phone 8 devices to its 19,000-strong team of flight attendants, as part of a push to improve the in-flight experience for its customers.

The American airline has partnered with Microsoft, Nokia, AT&T and point of sale (POS) software provider Avanade to provide its cabin crew staff with Nokia Lumia 820 devices running Windows Phone 8.

The devices will be connected to in-flight Wi-Fi services and, using Avanade's POS Mobile Airline Platform, will allow passengers to purchase in-flight meals and services while on board Delta flights.

It will also provide flight attendants with information about passengers' frequent flyer credits and connecting gate updates.

The Avanade part of the proposition is powered by Microsoft Dynamics for Retail and the firm's own Connected Stores offering, which the Accenture-owned company claims can provide users with a more personalised shopping experience.

Dan O'Hara, mobility vice president at Avanade, said the deployment should help make Delta staff more productive and responsive to customers' needs.

"This solution delivers those results by creating an in-flight mobile retail experience that marries human interaction with technology-enabled processes and insights," he added.

The airline, which reportedly carries 160 million customers a year, said it hopes to have completed the Windows Phone deployment by the end of the month.

"The unique Windows Phone Live Tiles provide the latest information at a glance, including local weather details and flight tracking information," said Wayne Morris, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions marketing, in a blog post.

"In addition, flight attendants are more connected and productive with Microsoft Office integration and linked email inboxes," he added.

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