Tablet Wars: Airline Edition

The fight for technological dominance in the air is heating up.

Mar 10, 2014 at 7:31PM

Tablet computers are front and center in the market for mobile devices. Now, airlines are adding tablets as part of a broader push for the increased use of technology and providing marketable extras for passengers. But, even in the airline industry, not all tablets are created equal.

Tablets at Delta
Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) has made the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad into a way to link technology to the customer experience. At New York LaGuardia Airport, iPads take orders for food in the Delta terminal and are on nearly every table for customer use.

But Apple's relationship with Delta is far from a monopoly. Last year, the Department of Transportation fined Delta $750,000 for violating rules regarding the bumping of passengers. But the fine came with an interesting condition: Delta was allowed to use up to $425,000 of the fine to buy electronic tablets "to record consumers' decisions on whether they agreed to leave a flight and accept compensation offered by the airline, as well to train Delta personnel on using the tablets."

Showing it does not have an allegiance to one particular tablet, Delta has opted to use the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface 2 tablet instead of Apple's iPad in much of its operations. Additionally, Computing reports that the airline is phasing out the use of iPads and other unnamed devices in the cockpit, eventually replacing them with the Surface 2. From Delta's perspective, the move appears to be mainly operational. Delta's IT director, Darrell Haskin, attributes the move to the abilities of the Surface 2 including a split screen feature allowing pilots to view maps and weather simultaneously.

Tablets at American Airlines
Delta's not the only U.S.-based airline to use tablets to improve the customer experience; American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) is using tablets as yet another way to encourage flyers to buy more expensive tickets.

American Airlines Group will now be offering passengers in its premium class cabins Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablets on certain transcontinental and international flights. The move comes as airlines continue to wage a battle for passengers and use amenities to generate ancillary revenues or market higher-priced tickets.

Tablets at Air Canada rouge
As part of Air Canada's (TSX:AC.B) expansion strategy, the Canadian flag carrier has launched a discount subsidiary called Air Canada rouge. To differentiate Air Canada rouge from mainline Air Canada, the airline has done everything from rebranding aircraft to having Disney train the flight attendants.

Personal entertainment has become another way to make rouge a more attractive offering for flyers. Customers can connect to the aircraft's entertainment network through their own iPads, iPhones, iPods, or laptops. But for customers without one of these devices, the airline will rent you one for $10 serving as another way for Air Canada rouge to generate ancillary revenue.

Mainline Air Canada has also sought the benefits of tablet computers. The airline has given the nod to Apple and its iPad to replace the current paper manuals that each weigh around 16 kilograms (35 pounds). The airline claims this move will save around $3 million per year from increased operational efficiency and reduced fuel costs.

Tablet wars
Airlines fall into the category of large corporate customers and their purchasing decisions are still very much up for grabs in the tablet arena. Across Delta Air Lines, American Airlines Group, and Air Canada, there are tablets from Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung.

As tech companies do with many corporate customers, these tablet makers still have a lot to fight for in the airline space. And with airlines trying to keep the latest in technology to boost ticket sales, more tablet orders could be on the way.

Will this technology be even bigger than tablet computers?
If you thought the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad were amazing, just wait until you see this. One hundred of Apple's top engineers are busy building one in a secret lab. And an ABI Research report predicts 485 million of them could be sold over the next decade. But you can invest in it right now... for just a fraction of the price of AAPL stock. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening new report.

Alexander MacLennan owns shares of Air Canada, American Airlines Group, Inc., and Delta Air Lines and has the following options: long January 2015 $22 calls on Delta Air Lines, long January 2015 $25 calls on Delta Air Lines, long January 2015 $30 calls on Delta Air Lines, long January 2015 $17 calls on American Airlines Group, Inc., long January 2015 $32 calls on American Airlines Group, Inc., long May 2014 $31 calls on American Airlines Group, Inc., and long May 2014 $40 calls on American Airlines Group, Inc.. This article is not an endorsement to buy or sell any security and does not constitute professional investment advice. Always do your own due diligence before buying or selling any security. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. It also owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers