Delta Airlines’ new social iPad app will distract that flightmate from chatting you up

The next time you find yourself on a flight with Delta Airlines, it won’t just be the in-flight movie or dog-eared copy of Skymall to help while you try not to think about the physics of hurtling at great speeds through the air in a giant metal tube. The airline has launched a new iPad app that will transmit a feed of what’s happening underneath your plane during the entire flight, giving you a chance to know exactly what you’re missing en route your final destination.

The new incarnation of the Fly Delta app for iPad offers what it’s calling a “glass bottom” feature that, thankfully, offers up more than a literal view of what’s going on underneath the plane (Let’s face it, after a while, all you’re likely to see would be a bunch of clouds, which will eventually get old). Instead, it’ll allow the user to “view” the ground below via maps and selected social network and Internet content will identify particular local landmarks, photos, and comments about the area(s) and other related information. Although all of this information will be relayed in real time to users, they’ll also be able to scroll back to earlier parts of the journey to see what they’ve missed via a “scroll back in time” function.

That’s not all that the Fly Delta app offers; before boarding the plane, it will allow customers to check the weather (and see whether it will impact their upcoming flight), find directions to and from the airport, update frequent flier information, and check in to their flights, with the boarding pass sent to the user’s smartphone. While on the flight, the app will offer special travel offers, option to purchase future tickets, travel guides, and social network and recommendation sites for their location – suggesting shopping and dining possibilities once the user has arrived and managed to leave the airport. Sadly, the app has no way to speed up the post-flight process of disembarking or collecting your luggage… Although, come to think of it, there is an app that might help that last part, especially if your luggage didn’t necessarily have as successful a journey as you did.

The revised app – developed in conjunction with digital innovative agency AKQA – is just part of a concerted push that Delta is undergoing to beef up its tech. The airline notes that it is currently in the middle of a $140 million investment in new and updated tech, which will also include an updated website and new self-service kiosks at many airports throughout the U.S. In the mean time, let’s just hope that chatty guy next to you decides to actually play with this new iPad app and leave you alone for the flight.

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