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Delta to hand out Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets to its 20,000 flight attendants

While Delta Air Lines pilots are tapping and swiping away on their Surface 2 tablets up at the front, flight attendants working for the carrier will soon be doing much the same in the cabin with their Nokia Lumia 1520 handsets.

In what is certainly a sweet deal for Microsoft-owned Nokia, the airline has ordered 20,000 of the devices for its army of attendants. The 6-inch device will replace the smaller Lumia 820 smartphone already being used by the airline’s flight crew, and, like the 820, will function as their in-flight manual as well as a sales device, Delta announced Monday. It added that sticking the hefty manual onto the phablet is expected to save the US carrier more than $1 million in reduced fuel and printing costs.

The smartphones, which are set to be handed out in October, will run Windows 8.1 and be used for a variety of duties, including dealing with passengers’ meal orders, handling information about their flight, and providing information for personalized services.

“The phablet is a great foundation for future software applications that, in time, will allow our flight attendants to readily access customer preferences, previous travel experiences with Delta and worldwide connectivity to the company, enabling them to provide the more tailored experience many customers have come to expect,” Theresa Wise, senior vice president and chief information officer, explained in a release.

Monday’s news follows an announcement by Delta last October that it intends to hand out Surface 2 tablets to its 11,000 pilots in a bid to make all cockpits in its fleet paperless by 2015.

DT’s mobile editor Jeffrey Van Camp described the Lumia 1520 as “famliar but gigantic,” though praised it for its clear, pixel-dense display, speedy operation, and “solid” camera.

You can check out his in-depth look at the device here.

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