Delta testing ability to talk to customers with Messages app via Apple Business Chat

Delta Air Lines is testing out a new way to communicate with its customers through “their channel of choice” – a messaging app.

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Customers with an iOS device can chat with a live airline representative or a Delta Virtual Assistant through the Messages app via Apple Business Chat, Delta said in a news release Wednesday. The option – which will be available for certain fliers this summer – will offer customers “in-the-moment assistance” or responses to common questions.

The company plans to expand the method into the Fly Delta app in the fall, it said.

Delta Air Lines is testing out a new way to communicate with its customers through “their channel of choice” – a messaging app. (Delta Air Lines)

In explaining how the service will work, Delta said messaging a representative will be akin to chatting with their friends or family.

“During the phased roll out, some customers receiving Delta’s summer travel tips email prior their trip will see a ‘Need Help’ link at the bottom of their email,” the news release said. “When the link is tapped from their iOS device, the Messages app will automatically launch and connect customers with Delta — the same way they message with friends and family.”

If customers are using a different type of device, they’ll instead be sent to “the delta.com ‘Need Help’ messaging interface,” the company said.

“Delta will also perform limited tests of Apple Business Chat from directly inside the Fly Delta iOS app this summer,” it added.

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Tori Forbes-Roberts, Delta’s vice president of reservation sales and customer care, said customer feedback revealed a preference for messaging versus other modes of communication.

“This is about connecting with our customers where they are — and many have told us that they’d rather message with us than engage on other channels like the phone, email or social media,” Forbes-Roberts said. “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.”