Delta Airlines to distribute Surface 2 to pilots after iPad trial

in iPad edited January 2014
Atlanta-based Delta Airlines will reportedly equip its pilots with Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet, rather than Apple's iPad, as the airline rolls out its electronic flight bag program in the coming years.

Surface 2

Just weeks after closing a deal to equip its more than 19,000 flight attendants with Nokia Lumia 820 units running Windows Phone 8, Delta Airlines has chosen Microsoft's newly announced Surface 2 tablet with Windows RT as the pack horse of its corporate electronic flight bag (EFB) program, according to a report from Windows IT Pro. The news comes despite the airline's trial of Apple's iPad and subsequent implementation of an iPad-based "bring your own device" program for pilots.

Delta said in an email to its employees that the company expects the EFB program ??which replaces nearly 40 pounds of paper documents and charts with electronic versions ? to be fully operational within two years, adding that a public announcement is imminent. Delta began trials of its EFB program with the iPad in 2011, shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration approved Apple's tablet for cockpit use.

The airline currently allows pilots to use their personal iPads, but expects "iPad Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) users to transition to a company-issued device," according to the report. The twin moves to Microsoft-based products mark an apparent about-face for Delta on Apple devices, as the world's largest airline by fleet size began to roll out more than 4,500 iPads to its airport restaurants just last year.

Major airlines have looked favorably upon the iPad since the beginning of the tablet-based EFB trend. United Continental is in the midst of distributing more than 11,000 iPads to its flight crews, while American Airlines became the first major airline to fully deploy tablets in all cockpits during all phases of flight in June of this year.


  • Reply 1 of 163



    Guess I won't being buying a Ford (Sync) or a Tesla (Android) or now flying on Delta.

  • Reply 2 of 163
    Meh. That would fit in well with the rest of Delta's experience.
  • Reply 3 of 163

    Product Placement, takes a cruel twist

  • Reply 4 of 163
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,673member

    This is good news! I always did wonder how Pilots made it to their final destination without Microsoft Office¿


    Why on earth would they choose Surface RT? Devices that haven't even been released yet? Just how stable are these tablets going to be?


    I'm guessing Microsoft either gave them away or gave Delta a HUGE discount just for the sake of media exposure.

  • Reply 5 of 163
    Another typical IT department decision...they never pick what users want, only what is cheapest or has the best kickback from the vendor. That's why Apple got out of the enterprise space and focused on the consumer space...where the end user determines their product.
  • Reply 6 of 163
    Wonder what the kickbacks and bribes were.
  • Reply 7 of 163
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member

    Guess I won't being buying a Ford (Sync) or a Tesla (Android) or now flying on Delta.
    Don't rule out Tesla. It was not Android in the end. Just Linux.
  • Reply 8 of 163
    They just got a deal they couldn't refuse. It's not like the Surface 2 is such a bad product, it just doesn't have any software for it. For this specific application, that's not an issue as the tablet is supposed to only contain the technical manuals. It's very likely that Microsoft has provided the tablets and phones at or below cost, just to get some buzz going. At this point, it's not like they have much to lose anyway.
  • Reply 9 of 163

    Delta might have gotten a fire-sale deal on Surface 2 ;-) Since Delta already has BYOD, I assume those company provided Surface 2 might end up collecting dust.

  • Reply 10 of 163
    Disclaimer: MS has just made a big investment in Delta.
    I will travel United anytime, I hope they deploy iPads.
  • Reply 11 of 163

    Does Microsoft provide the kickstand ?

  • Reply 12 of 163
    Stupid decision Delta! My guess is Micro$oft offered them to Delta either discounted or free. Pathetic!
  • Reply 13 of 163

    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    Why on earth would they choose Surface RT?


    Live tiles, two apps at once, a clickity-clack keyboard. DUH!!!



  • Reply 14 of 163
    Blue screen of death now means something completely different.
  • Reply 15 of 163
    If you can't compete give it away for little or nothing... And claim growth *artificial*.... Can't fault Delta.
  • Reply 16 of 163

    Microsoft is practically giving these things away.

    It is in IT managers own self-interest to perpetuate the Microsoft bureaucracy.

    God forbid they go with a platform that reduces their dependence on a bloated central IT division to keep all the plates spinning(or planes flying).

  • Reply 17 of 163
    So, does anyone else make a Windows RT tablet, or only Microsoft? I'm asking because at least for Surface Pro there are other companies that make hardware that is compatible. I can imagine that MS will keep pushing the Surface Pro to version 3 and even if they don't other companies will still push the platform forward.
    With Surface 2, I think it could end up being the next Kin and cancelled within weeks of delivery if sales are as poor as one might expect. Even worse than with Zune, that lasted several years but eventually died.
  • Reply 18 of 163
    hmmm- one has to wonder if Delta is purchasing these things or if MS is adopting the Amazon business model and giving them away. Not a bad marketing ploy but pity the pilots, downgraded yet again. Lets hope the interface is an improvement, unlike the MySync fail.
  • Reply 19 of 163
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    It has a kickstand. Click. See?
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