To shrink check-in lines, Delta experiments with multi-channel check-in

Delta is continuing to develop the way it uses technology to build better relationships.
Its latest endeavor involves getting its customers out of those pesky lines. With that in mind, it has begun testing virtual check-in using mobile phones in six different cities.
Here’s how it works. Travelers take their Web enabled phone or PDA, enter in their Delta Sky Miles frequent flyer number and are checked through right to the gate. There they simply present a photo ID and they print out a boarding pass at the gate.
This application is also available through 800 numbers and the Internet.
“It provides the customer with access through whatever channel they prefer,” says Vince Chirico, general manager of e-business development for Delta. “The really important point is that we’re providing the service to the customer through whatever channel or touch point they prefer. They can pick up a wireless phone and check in, sit at their computer in their office and check in or in the taxi on the way to the airport they can check in.”
Delta is currently testing the service in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. It is currently available only to Medallion level frequent flyer members.
Delta is planning a number of customer service initiatives under the e-service umbrella it is developing. These include notifying customers of flight delays through whatever form of communication the customers desires—a phone call from a human being, by pager or another wireless device. Delta will also offer customers whose flights have been delayed or canceled up to three options from which they can choose and in some cases will automatically rebook them. These tools are in development are probably are a year to a year and a half from implementation.