I had the chance to interview with Jake Frank, Delta Air Lines' managing director of global product development and delivery, on the carriers' domestic and international inflight experience. The carrier has been unveiling everything from the domestic buy onboard menu with celebrity chef Todd English to lie-flat seats on its fleet of Boeing 777s and 767s.
The May 29 issue (subscribers only) of Aviation Dailyincludes my story on what Delta has done in its international BusinessElite cabin to attract those all-important premium travelers.
But in this post, I'll talk about the domestic side of Delta's inflight changes, and include a 4:57-minute Podcast with Frank (click here) on Delta's inflight entertainment system, upgraded meals in domestic first class and why the carrier should be travelers' airline of choice.
The message from Frank was clear -- he knows that travelers have their choice of airlines, and he wants his improvements to make Delta the carrier of choice. But he also noted that passengers will be expected to help pay for those improvements.
Take, for example, Delta's buy onboard program, which was brought back in September. "Customers told us they wold pay for better food, since the option of free food was not that good," he observed. "We had a huge opportunity to seize on that. Some of our competitors have done basic stuff, but no one doing what we’re doing, offering sophisticated food, food we could offer in first class." You can see Delta's EATS menu here.
Delta tapped celebrity chef Todd English to handle the EATS program. "We were going with an onboard strategy focusing on style, wellness and entertainment, and Todd fit that perfectly," said Frank. "Todd was born in the South and lives in the Northeast, which fits well with Delta's positioning, and lines up nicely with what we wanted to do and what customers wanted."
Delta has been changing the menus every 2-3, said Frank. "But we will tweak the menu and switch out items not doing well or bring back old favorites," he added.