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Delta loves Windows 8 - will equip pilots with Surface 2 tablets

Last month, Delta decided to equip 19,000 of their flight attendants with Windows Phone devices; the move allowed attendants to access a new point of sale system built upon the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail platform. This month Delta has also decided to equip its pilots with Windows tablets, but not the Nokia “Sirius” tablet it had originally planned.

Delta has announced they will be equipping their pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 tablets. The transition is an effort by the company to go green and paperless. Electronic flight information will allow data to be updated and changed as needed, as well as being fully manageable by Delta.

According to a spokesperson from Delta, “In less than two years, Delta cockpits will be paperless as we roll-out the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet running Windows 8.1 RT as our company-issued devices.” The company has stated that the rollout will begin with their 757 and 767 fleets and eventually spread to their 777, 747, and MD88 planes.

Surface 2

As of now, Delta pilots are allowed to bring their own tablets, mainly iPads, into the cockpit with them to help manage flights. The company hopes to shift away from the current Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and have their pilots switch to company-issued devices.

The fact that tablets are currently being allowed in cockpits, is causing a controversial concern over whether or not pilots are actually doing their job or just enjoying a bit of in-flight entertainment. Devices issued by Delta itself, could use group policies to ensure those using the devices are using them for what they are intended for.

Microsoft has no plans to kill off Windows RT and the “lonely operating system” might find a home for itself within enterprise environments where cheap, yet productive tablets, are a growing need.

Let us just hope Delta does not blue screen on my next domestic flight.

Source: WindowsITPro

  • Keep them coming. They more adaption the better.
  • Good to see major airlines using W8. Ad far as I know, Android devices are not being used. Another win.
  • That's because android is a mess, especially for tablets :)
  • And you also don't want to get a virus at 40,000feet
  • Exactly. That's not the mile high club I'd want to join ;-)
  • Back in 2000-01, I was implementing a call center solutions @ Delta near Atlanta. There was this Delta chief Architect guy who had a raging hatred for Microsoft. If you utter anything Microsoft, he'd kick you out into the parking lot. But our product had almost everything Microsoft... COM/ActiveX/MTS running on Windows servers with VB, VC++ front end codes. but he wanted everything done in Java and we were supposed to sanitize our product of any Microsoft reference for him. eventually, I got replaced by a Java expert from our team to contine, who dragged on the project for years....
    anyway, from the looks of Delta's recent love for MS, some Java lover up top got replaced by MS lover!
  • off subject still but i guess they learnt their lessns with java! and realised .net just works.
  • Hopefully all this interest from Delta will push for a better Fly Delta App experience on WP8 and a W8 app as well.
  • I don't think you can apply Group Policies to Windows RT or join them to the domain. Unless that changed with 8.1
  • No you cant. I hope they have changed this in 8.1. would change sales IMO.
  • About half way through, from memory.
  • MDM and powershell can do a lot of what you need a GPO for. That and the access to the local group policy store should hopefully provide enough control, though not near as easily as a domain machine.
  • On a related note, I can't believe the number of major organizations that allow BYOD.
  • It all starts with a few executives...
  • It also starts with tech people who have had enough of the official IT people who have forgetten any and all clues to what life is like in the trenches. Those in the trenches have always brought their own devices, and even their own software. If we waited for IT upstairs to get off their collective bums, we'd all probably still be running Windows 95. (I worked at a big-name medical device company that was actually still using Windows 95 as "secure" workstations when the rest of the world--and many of us developers--had a moved on XP Pro. More than one Win95 workstation was found to have been accessed after hours by custodial staff. They had additional "leakage issues" a couple years after I left.)
  • Basically the owners kid wants to bring his iphone to "work", so they end up letting everyone.
  • I imagined as much, together with an IT director who doesn't have the cojones to say "no...f***ing...way".
  • Correct.
  • I always think that BYOD is just a temporary thing while the world are waiting for the WP and W8 devices to mature.  For the Windows PC based companies, it is a hassle for the IT to manage different platforms in house.  Delta will set up an example for all the enterprises and corporations.  It shows that the W8 RT tablets have a place in the corporations.  The RT tablets can serve a lot people just fine.  The large corporations trust MS to provide long term support and the Surface 2 is an obvious choice.  A little higher cost is not an issure for the corportations.  The pilots certainly don't need to use the Surface Pro 2.  The Surface 2 will do well in the college campus too.  The majority of students don't need to run heavy duty softwares, but they do need to run Office and have a super quiet keyborad which they can use in the classroom.
  • This is great news! As a pilot, I am hoping this will drive the development of aviation apps. The iPod is pretty dominate in aviation so it will be good to see windows 8 break in.
  • I'm not a pilot, but hoping for the same thing.
  • I drive a Honda Pilot, and I agree with you both.
  • Pilots don't drive their planes.
  • I am a pilot to, for futuristic and alien technology's. I test fly alien tech. The aliens told me they just love the new surface and are happy for Windows.
  • I pilot a banshee in halo 4. But I too approve of this message
  • Well, that escalated quickly.
  • I'm not a pilot either but I did stay at a motel 6 or is it the Radisson or was it the Marriott? No... It was the holiday inn express.
  • My name is pontius pilot, and i approve this message.
  • :)
  • I think the dominance of the iPad in aviation can be directly correlated with the availability of Foreflight and how well the ipad's GPS works at altitude. I honestly don't see why delta would opt for the Surface 2, unless they know of some quality aviation apps in development (cross my fingers).
  • Delta's backend infrastructure is built on Azure. They look to be going all in on Microsoft's ecosystem from back to front.
  • They aren't using these tablets for in flight navigation or true flight path planning like a small plane private pilot might.  These commercial jets already have plenty of that type of equipment built in.  They are using the tablets to coordinate logistics and business related stuff.  Like be here at this time, this is your flight info, this is your crew member list, etc.  It's mostly custom internal software made by Delta rather than something you would get from the store/itunes.
  • You're right that they're probably not using them exclusively for the flight path tracking, etc., but they're still useful as an electronic pubs bag, able to easily bring up data for radios, approaches, and even verification of departure procedures and whatnot. That's not to mention the ability to have the approach laid out as a GPS overlay.
    If they were only used for administrative data, there would be no reason for the airlines to install cockpit stands for them, yet they do.
  • There are some awesome apps for pilots like great sectional maps in iTunes, but not so much on WP or RT.  Hopefully the pilots get full Pro's
  • Agreed. Supposedly Jeppesen (who essentially is the primary provider of navigational charts for the major US airlines) also has an app in development for WinRT.
  • All I could find says they're looking into Windows 8. That would be great though if it were already in development.
  • It really doesn't matter. Large companies like Delta generally have custom software created to fit their needs regardless of the hardware it's running on. So, it will never be purchased from an app store of any kind.
  • I fly a desk and welcome this development.  ;-)
  • This is great news. This might be the first high profile addition of WinRT to a company. Wonder if MS will take money to trade in a 1st gen surface for the new surface 2 =/
  • I think it would be a nice nod to fans.
  • Why would they do that? The surface RT didn't become a bad device when the surface 2 launched. In fact it just got better with the new covers and guaranteed os updates. Apple, Samsung, htc, Sony, lg and blackberry don't give you money off a new device when you give them the old one back.
  • because MS allows you to trade in ipads if you buy a one could be hopeful they would do the same for their own device...
  • Apple does the same for their own devices don't they?
  • No, but they are currently trying out that model of sales with the new iPhones this year.
  • Very cool
  • Yea I fly Delta
  • I've never seen Windows 7 or 8 Blue Screen.
  • It's rare but it still happens.
    I am currently experiencing a Win8 bsod on my PC.
  • I'll send you screenshots :)
  • BSOD is pretty much limited to a hardware failure now. I've only ever seen one in windows 8 because my overclock was unstable.
  • Also, Windows 8 can't blue screen anymore because it's not a blue screen. Some old things fade away. Anyway, get bad hardware, especially bad memory and any machine will go bad.
    The bad screens I've seen the last couple of years, are purple. PSOD's, since VMware 4.0 (Linux) opened up more hardware and not having a proper HCL.
  • Just for the hell of it I'm flying Delta next time.
  • I hope they also change the ipads they have in the JFK terminal into surfaces!
  • good news for surface 2 hope to see more companies adopting surface 2 :)
  • Very cool.
  • Correction, they can't really use group policies in the old sense of the word. While each device can be managed through mdm, the level of control is not that of a machine sitting on a domain. I have a feeling they will be doing a lot of awesome powershell scripting to get the level of control they are looking for.
  • I wonder what Surface 2 had that Sirius doesn't to make them switch? Hmmm...And great news for Microsoft, leveraging relationships and providing customer solutions is what it is all about.
  • Microsoft probably told Delta that they would discontinue the Sirius down the road.  Surface 2 will come out a LTE version in the Spring.  Sirius seems to be in the way.  They don't know how to price the Surface/LTE 2 with Sirius' $499 price.  Sirius is a redundant product with Surface 2.
  • All that is happenstance until the acquisition is approved in November, wonder if Sirius comes out and blows Surface 2 out of the water? I think Microsoft may have discounted the Surface 2 or added some other compelling item to help grease the wheels as good publicity for Microsoft. Would not surprise me at all.
  • Blades
  • What is Blades?
  • Custom attachments like the touch cover that are designed to serve specific purposes. Look up the assortment of accessories announced by MS.
  • Very interesting, I doubt Nokia is going that direction, those Blades sound very useful, I wonder what Blade they will create for airline pilots and flight attendants? Thanks to you both.
  • I doubt there is a need for blades in the Delta's case.  Special business apps will serve thier needs.  
    You can build a piano keyboard blade to turn the Surface 2 into a music composing system.  You can build some special language keyboard blades like Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, French, etc. to help people using different languages.  You can build all kinds of sensor blades to bring the physical data into Surface for analysis.  The potential applications is unlimited.
  • Surface Blades is a new class of plug-in peripherals MS introduced along with Surface tablets.  This will make MS tablets more attractive than the competitors.  They introduced the Remix music cover blade as the first example.  There will be more entertainment or business blades coming out later.  So purchasing a Surface is just a start.  You will get expanded functions when adding new blades later on.  It is like buying an electric drill now and get more functions later by adding different attachments.
  • Blue Screen on my next flight?!
    Are you an author or a hater
  • You had to touch on the blue screen eh :)
  • Well you definitely not getting a blue screen on RT, and definitely no viruses. That's some of the advantages of RT. I have yet to see mine crash or blue screen. This is a year now. Love Surface. I want to see the Hostesses using them too
  • MS should have a program that equips passengers with a Surface 2 for the duration of their flight