Delta will roll out the ability for travelers to text message the airline for help and questions starting this summer, integrating a new support method in its smartphone app for Apple iOS users.
The airline announced the new feature Wednesday, a first-of-its-kind addition that will slowly phase in for some travelers throughout the summer. Delta plans to offer text message support for all flyers sometime this fall.
Soon, some travelers with Apple devices may see an option to message the airline within the Delta app, opening up an iMessage window. You'll first correspond with an automated assistant, which can answer common questions. But more involved inquiries will be routed to a live Delta agent.
The option to text Delta may also be available to some travelers who get a “Summer travel tips” email ahead of their flights. The airline hopes that this new text messaging feature will reduce wait times no matter how flyers try to contact Delta.
“Messaging is fast, it’s easy and it empowers our customers to connect with us on their terms — messages will even be saved and remain available so customers have a lifeline to Delta when they need it most,” said Tori Forbes-Roberts, the airline's vice president of Reservation Sales and Customer Care.
The one hitch is that this won't initially be available for Android smartphone users, as Delta is using Apple's Business Chat platform to run the service. A Delta spokeswoman said: “The plan is to have messaging available to all Fly Delta app users in the future.”
Sending airlines a private message on Twitter or other social media platforms has become the best way to contact many airlines for support. You'll often get a response within minutes, which beats staying on hold for hours on the customer support phone line.
But this messaging feature is a natural evolution of that option as Delta – and all airlines – increasingly lean on technology to improve operations and customer relations. Delta is building on the “Need Help?” live chat interface that it launched on its desktop website earlier this year.
It's only natural for airlines to answer traveler questions via text. Frankly, we're surprised it took airlines this long to launch this feature.
Watch for this new support feature in your Delta app or email inbox. And stay tuned for news on when it will roll out to all flyers.