Delta Air Lines last month took a small but potentially
meaningful step in acknowledging corporate travelers, piloting with 31 large
corporate clients a "check-in recognition program" that greets
travelers from those accounts and makes note of their company affiliation when
checking in for flights.
Delta internal communications obtained by The Beat called the pilot a "small
part of a larger corporate recognition effort designed to help Delta better
identify corporate travelers as well as provide them with an enhanced customer
experience." The pilot began on Feb. 14.
Launch clients include some of the biggest buyers of
corporate travel, including IBM and GE, whose travelers "see a special
acknowledgement when they check-in via delta.com, kiosks and the Fly Delta App
for iPad," according to Delta.
One sample greeting message shared by a corporate client
read: "Delta employees worldwide thank you and [company name] for your
business. Enjoy your flight!"
The gesture may seem small, but it builds on Delta's efforts
to compile data on corporate clients, detail travelers' experiences in reports
and tailor services. The carrier called the check-in initiative "the first
time Delta has enabled technology to recognize these customers," noting
that "additional functionality and benefits are expected to roll out later
Corporate travel buyers are eager to see what those
additional benefits include. Two Delta clients familiar with the program said
they see opportunities to negotiate for and tailor benefits for their
travelers, and envision waived bag fees, preferred boarding zones or such
additional services as lounge access or upgrades.
"None of these things have been agreed to," said
one Delta client, "but they are the kind of things we're discussing as far
as what corporate recognition means and how that looks and feels from a
The client viewed Delta's new recognition program as a
supplement to and evolution of Delta's Sky Partner reports, which the carrier
has continued to refine with real-time data.
originally appeared in The Beat.