Delta Pilots fought against deal to replace iPad flight bags with Microsoft Surface

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Microsoft's marketing coup in selling Delta Airlines its Surface 2 tablet for use as an Electronic Flight Bag in place of Apple's iPad created friction with the company's pilots, who "fought hard" against the deal.

growl


"We fought hard for iPad," a pilot working for the airline told AppleInsider. He described the Delta deal as being about money, travel contracts, and Delta's Information Technology staff historically being "in bed" with Microsoft.

Delta began trials with Apple's iPad as an EFB in late 2011, shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration approved Apple's tablet for cockpit use. It further began purchasing thousands of iPads for use in its airport restaurants last year."We fought hard for iPad" - Delta pilot

This makes it surprising that the company just announced plans to use the "Surface 2" devices Microsoft just unveiled, particularly because the company says it only plans to be "fully operational within two years."

American Airlines fully deployed iPad in all cockpits during all phases of flight in June of this year, a program involving 8,000 devices.

An expensive wait on Microsoft

Delta's conservative rollout plans may be related to the fact that the Surface 2 apparently hasn't yet been studied for use as a EFB. There's no mention of the device in the FAA's authorization documents. [Update: PCMag stated "Delta expects to receive approval from the FAA to use the tablets during all phases of flight next year. That approval will follow an extensive testing period onboard the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767. Approvals for all fleet types are expected by the end of the year."]

One FAA requirement for EFB devices specifically states, "if a touch screen is used, it must be evaluated for ease of operation. The touch screen must be responsive and not require multiple attempts to make a selection, but not be so sensitive that erroneous selections occur." Touch performance on the Surface played a significant factor in its poor reviews.

A report by the Wall Street Journal said Delta estimates it will save $13 million in fuel costs by moving to EFBs, so delaying the transition from paper by two years for the Surface 2 could cost the airline $20 million or more, far more than the roughly $5.5 million the tablets would actually cost.

Delta's deal for Surface 2 EFBs was publicized alongside the "equipping" of 19,000 flight attendants with Lumia Windows Phones, another Microsoft product that isn't selling well. Nearly three years ago, Dell announced plans to adopt 25,000 Windows Phone 7 devices the month after Microsoft launched its new WP7 platform.

JetBlue
JetBlue's iPad EFB.


The move appeared to account for many of the WP7 phones that eventually sold, but didn't benefit Dell's struggling operations or enable either company to make headway into the mobile market.

It's also unlikely that Microsoft will still be selling the "Surface 2" model two years from now, when Delta completes rolling out its EFB program. However, Microsoft is desperately in need of good press for its hybrid-tablet after having been unable to sell the product in volume and being forced to take a charge against earrings of $800 million in the last quarter.

Microsoft had tried to unload its unsold Surface inventory on schools, but even fire sale pricing couldn't move the inventory. Last month, it began dumping the devices on education for free, calling it "Bing for Schools" program in an effort to compete against Google for free search traffic.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 162

    Looks like no one wants a Zune tablet. Even when given to them for free.

  • Reply 2 of 162
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Microsoft's marketing coup in selling Delta Airlines its Surface 2 tablet for use as an Electronic Flight Bag in place of Apple's iPad created friction with the company's pilots, who "fought hard" against the deal.

     
    growl





    "We fought hard for iPad," a pilot working for the airline told AppleInsider. He described the Delta deal as being about money, travel contracts, and Delta's Information Technology staff historically being "in bed" with Microsoft.



    Delta began trials with Apple's iPad as an EFB in late 2011, shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration approved Apple's tablet for cockpit use. It further began purchasing thousands of iPads for use in its airport restaurants last year."We fought hard for iPad" - Delta pilot



    This makes it surprising that the company just announced plans to use the "Surface 2" devices Microsoft just unveiled, particularly because the company says it only plans to be "fully operational within two years."



    American Airlines fully deployed iPad in all cockpits during all phases of flight in June of this year, a program involving 8,000 devices.

     

    An expensive wait on Microsoft




    Delta's conservative rollout plans may be related to the fact that the Surface 2 apparently hasn't yet been studied for use as a EFB. There's no mention of the device in the FAA's authorization documents.



    One FAA requirement for EFB devices specifically states, "if a touch screen is used, it must be evaluated for ease of operation. The touch screen must be responsive and not require multiple attempts to make a selection, but not be so sensitive that erroneous selections occur." Touch performance on the Surface played a significant factor in its poor reviews.



    A report by the Wall Street Journal said Delta estimates it will save $13 million in fuel costs by moving to EFBs, so delaying the transition from paper by two years for the Surface 2 could cost the airline $20 million or more, far more than the roughly $5.5 million the tablets would actually cost.



    Delta's deal for Surface 2 EFBs was publicized alongside the "equipping" of 19,000 flight attendants with Lumia Windows Phones, another Microsoft product that isn't selling well. Nearly three years ago, Dell announced plans to adopt 25,000 Windows Phone 7 devices the month after Microsoft launched its new WP7 platform.



    The move appeared to account for many of the WP7 phones that eventually sold, but didn't benefit Dell's struggling operations or enable either company to make headway into the mobile market.



    It's also unlikely that Microsoft will still be selling the "Surface 2" model two years from now, when Delta completes rolling out its EFB program. However, Microsoft is desperately in need of good press for its hybrid-tablet after having been unable to sell the product in volume and being forced to take a charge against earrings of $800 million in the last quarter.



    Microsoft had tried to unload its unsold Surface inventory on schools, but even fire sale pricing couldn't move the inventory. Last month, it began dumping the devices on education for free, calling it "Bing for Schools" program in an effort to compete against Google for free search traffic.

     

    Well, I'm glad the Delta Pilots have some sense, even if their management seems lacking in that area and apparently prefers buying Microsoft products (whatever the quality).  "Hey who could get fired for going with Microsoft"?  And I thought it was 2013 rather than the corporate IBM-dominated '60s . . .

  • Reply 3 of 162
    The CIO and the rest of IT at Delta are idiots. MS puppets. And now they've ticked off the pilots. I think I'll fly an airline where the pilots aren't ticked off at their own company.
  • Reply 4 of 162
    talk about desperation on MS's part. Wow. Just wow.
  • Reply 5 of 162
    hydrhydr Posts: 146member
    I imagine they are having a serious problem up there, and the pilot starts looking in the manual, and it goes BOOM and shows a blue screen. BSOD.
  • Reply 6 of 162

    When this story first appeared last week, I was really surprised that the pilots would go along with this.

     

    Now the truth comes out. Delta-Ugh!

  • Reply 7 of 162

    Did another Elop become CEO of Delta? 

  • Reply 8 of 162
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,449member

    I'll bet Delta's IT staff are personally heavily invested in $MSFT. Such conflicts of interest should be reason enough to recuse oneself from the voting.

  • Reply 9 of 162
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,433member

    I'm not surprised that the pilots wanted the to use the absolute best device available (iPad), but Microsoft apparently made some sort of deal with Delta so that Microsoft could sell their flop of a tablet to Delta.

     

    Needless to say, I would never fly with a penny pinching airline that is so out of touch with reality and puts public safety at risk.

     

    This reminds me of a recent TV show that I was watching, "Under the Dome". I saw numerous Windows phones and Surface tablets in that TV series. The way that they were featured was so in your face and so obvious, that it could only have been a paid product placement by Microsoft. It was totally unrealistic to see a product that is a certified flop pop up all over a TV show, but that hardly anybody uses in real life.

  • Reply 10 of 162

    Keep in mind people M$ keeps lots of IT folks in a job, in Indian that is. We all know IT has always hated Apple since it just works and does not need masses of cheap labor unable to answer your questions when things do not work.

     

    Face it M$ products are a job program for countries like Indian.

  • Reply 11 of 162
    Inevitable headline: Surface Keeps Flights Grounded.
  • Reply 12 of 162
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sumergo View Post

     

     

    Well, I'm glad the Delta Pilots have some sense, even if their management seems lacking in that area and apparently prefers buying Microsoft products (whatever the quality).  "Hey who could get fired for going with Microsoft"?  And I thought it was 2013 rather than the corporate IBM-dominated '60s . . .


    There is no need to quote the entire article, it is already listed above.

  • Reply 13 of 162

    Do you still think I'm pretty?

  • Reply 14 of 162
    dont worry the pilots can always stop in mid air and reboot . a new meaning t "the blue screen of death"
  • Reply 15 of 162
    drowdrow Posts: 121member
    "You are now free to move about the cabin. And operate electronic devices. And if anyone has an iPad the captain could borrow for the flight, he sure would appreciate it."
  • Reply 16 of 162

    On a similar note I recently went to see the doctor and the staff had MS Surfaces. I asked the nurse what she thought of them and she said they'd tried hard to lobby for iPads. I would have thought that with a keyboard suppled the Surface would have been a better experience for data entry, but it seemed sooo clunky. Basically just a windows app running on a small screen.

  • Reply 17 of 162
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

     

    There is no need to quote the entire article, it is already listed above.


     

    Agreed. People who do that are just damn lazy. Quote a line or two, if you must quote, but don't quote the whole god damned article, especially when it's a bit long.

  • Reply 18 of 162

  • Reply 19 of 162
    idreyidrey Posts: 640member
    ???? MS you so suck!
  • Reply 20 of 162
    I'm surprised Delta would even go out on a limb like this and state they're making the switch, without first getting clearance from the FAA and second, having operational devices with which to do initial testing.

    Seems like this has the potential to really go badly for both MS and Delta - should the device not get clearance from the FAA and/or the device not work similarly to the iPad.
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