Delta Air Lines is planning to test ‘Parallel Reality’ flight information screens that deliver personalised messaging to multiple travellers on a single display, at the same time. Emily Eastman reports

Before coronavirus brought the aviation industry to its knees, Delta was planning to install its first Parallel Reality screens at Detroit Metropolitan airport this summer. (Hopefully it will just be the case that it is delayed.)

The futuristic technology enables multiple customers to see personalised content tailored to their journey on a single digital screen at the same time – and all with the naked eye. (There are rumours that it doesn’t rely on facial recognition – rather, phone location tracking.)

Customers can choose their preferred language and refer to the screens for wayfinding and personalised travel information, such as directions to their departure gate, upgrade status and flight times.Delta Parallel Reality screenThe technology, created in partnership with Misapplied Sciences, was unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Las Vegas.

The Parallel Reality screens are enabled by a new pixel that, according to Misapplied Sciences, has “unprecedented capabilities”. The pixels are capable of projecting millions of light rays of different colours and brightnesses, and each ray can be software-directed to a specific person. How amazing is that?!

The company believes it has broad application in numerous industries, from travel and hospitality to marketing, entertainment and traffic signals.

Delta’s chief operating officer Gil West says that the technology “has to be seen to be believed”, adding that “it has the potential to make even the busiest airports much easier to navigate, even if you don’t speak the language”.

“Not only will Parallel Reality reduce stress and save time for our customers, but when combined with the warmth and thoughtfulness of our Delta people, the possibilities are endless,” says West.

Adding: “At Delta, we foster an innovation ecosystem that allows us to think big, start small and scale fast as technology and consumer expectations evolve – whether it’s with our own solutions or in partnership with leading startups like Misapplied Sciences.”Delta Parallel Reality screenDelta says that almost 100 customers will be able to opt-in to the trail when it takes place. After clearing airport security, they can head to the Parallel Reality screen near to the Delta Sky Club on Concourse A within the McNamara Terminal.

Here, passengers will be asked to scan their boarding pass and select their language before being shown personalised messages. Delta stresses that the system will not store customer information.

Misapplied Sciences calls Parallel Reality a “mind-bending innovation that allows a hundred or more viewers to simultaneously share a digital display, sign or light and each see something different”.

And this isn’t the only technology that Delta is adopting. Speaking at CES, Delta CEO Ed Bastian outlined a number of other innovations, one of which is the transformation of the Fly Delta app into a “digital travel concierge”.

Customers will receive alerts when their seat – rather than the whole flight – is boarding, while a broader partnership with ride-sharing firm Lyft will make it easier for customers to earn miles during rides.

Bastian said: “Customers tell us they want Fly Delta to become their ‘home base’ for managing their travel day. Instead of checking one app for traffic, another for airport parking and a third for TSA wait times, Delta is building the capability to simplify travel by helping you manage everything from ridesharing and in-flight entertainment to bag delivery and hotels.”

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