Delta wants to let travelers pay for Lyft rides with miles

Key Points
  • Delta executives have said the on-the-ground portion of air travel is a pain point.
  • Delta is the most profitable U.S. airline and is pouring resources into competing for more corporate travel spending.
  • The airline is exploring allowing customers to pay for Lyft rides with their SkyMiles.
Delta Air Lines CEO says the company is expanding its workforce by 12,000

Delta Air Lines is revamping its app to become a one-stop shop for travelers, featuring weather, traffic, security and wait time information, as it seeks to win over customers by easing their stress traveling to and through the airport.

Delta executives have said competition between carriers takes place before the flight even takes off.

The Atlanta-based carrier said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday that it's exploring allowing travelers to pay for Lyft rides with miles, a new step in the partnership Delta launched with the ride-hailing platform in 2017, which allows travelers to earn SkyMiles for those rides.

Delta is the most profitable U.S. airline and has aggressively chased high-spending corporate travelers in key business markets like New York, Seattle and Boston. Revenue from premium seats, like business-class cabins, is growing faster than coach-class sales. Economy-class sales in 2018 generated about 48% of Delta's revenue, down from 63% six years earlier.

It is also considering giving travelers arrival time estimates from Lyft to help customers determine when to call a car for the airport. Delta has also been offering TSA wait times in its app in some airports as well as meal selection. Later this month the carrier will ping travelers to let them know when it's their turn to queue for boarding. It was one of several initiatives Delta unveiled at the massive technology trade show that also includes traveler-tailored messages in the airport and access to entertainment beyond just during the flight.

"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," Delta's CEO, Ed Bastian, said in a release.