Traveling on Delta in 2025 is going to look and feel a lot different than it does today. According to Delta Air Lines President Glen Hauenstein, Delta is aiming to become less airline and more transportation company, eventually absorbing parts of the travel journey that it currently leaves to outside vendors and to passengers.
In speaking with Ric Elias, CEO of TPG‘s parent company Red Ventures, for an upcoming 3 Things podcast episode, Hauenstein painted a picture of how the airline will morph during the next five or so years. “Right now, we still sell airline tickets,” said Hauenstein. “What we really want to sell is the journey. You really don’t want to go from Atlanta to Los Angeles or Charlotte to New York, for example. You want to go from your office or your house, and you want to wind up at a particular hotel or venue. That’s what we need to integrate into the buying process.”
Specifically, Hauenstein alluded to Delta playing a larger role in making sure your bags are less of a burden. “When you get to your destination,” said Hauenstein, “[we want] your luggage to find its way to your mode of transportation, and show up at your hotel or place of residence, or whatever your destination is…If you use Lyft for ride-sharing, if you use Hilton or Marriott as your preferred hotel vendor, we need to know that. Then, we can provide you a curated experience from start to finish. That’s where we’re headed.”
Delta CEO Ed Bastian has been quite vocal about his intention to make Wi-Fi free on Delta jets, and Hauenstein echoed that in comments made during the interview. “As for inflight connectivity — we’re working towards free. We want full connectivity, and we’re not going to take away inflight entertainment systems.”
In a direct knock to American Airlines’ seatback design, which features a flip-down brace to position a phone or tablet, Hauenstein remarked: “Nobody wants to say: ‘I’ll use this little space that I have to hold up a phone, and then I can’t check my email.’ We want your inflight experience to be like your home. At home, you’re multitasking — you’ve got your phone out and your TV on.”
On the topic of perks, Hauenstein dropped a bit of news on the credit card front. On the heels of the airline’s expanded partnership with American Express, he noted that, “For those of you who do have a Delta card — we’ll be relaunching [it], and not diminishing the value, but increasing the value. So, if you don’t have one… maybe you should think about it!” He didn’t elaborate on what valuable additions are around the bend, but we’ll certainly report on those once we find out.
Be sure to subscribe to ‘3 Things (with Ric Elias)’ on Apple Podcasts or your podcast app of choice to hear the full episode.
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