Delta’s Ekrem Dimbiloglu Discusses Delta Sync Ahead of APEX TECH Keynote


Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Managing Director of Customer Experience, Delta Studio & Wi-Fi at Delta Air Lines. All photos via Delta Air Lines

Ahead of his appearance as a keynote speaker at APEX TECH in Los Angeles from February 28-29, Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Delta Air Lines’ Managing Director of Customer Experience, Delta Studio & Wi-Fi, talks to APEX Insights about the carrier’s groundbreaking reinvention of its in-flight entertainment and connectivity offering.

In order to execute such a mammoth transformation of Delta’s IFEC offering, it must be key for all involved to have a positive, can-do attitude. How do you (and/or Delta more broadly) foster a culture of innovation, teamwork and problem-solving?

Delta’s In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) team takes pride in operating a bit like a startup within the framework of our near century-old legacy of innovation. We’re creating an entirely new platform to engage with customers, and our team is empowered to bring new ideas, forge new connections across the business and develop new skills as part of that. Building a strong team that is empowered to be creative and innovative is imperative to delivering the best possible experience for customers.

It’s clear from the wide-ranging capabilities of Delta Sync that there are many moving parts involved in the system. Which one are you personally most excited about and why?

There’s a lot that excites me about Delta Sync – our partnerships with leading consumer brands like Paramount+, the ways it’s streamlining day-of-travel, the scale of our fast, free Wi-Fi that powers it – but what excites me most at this stage is the opportunity we have to bring a personalized touch to our customers’ travel experiences. More than 200 million customers fly on Delta each year. What if we created a platform that allows us to acknowledge each of them and their relationship with our brand in a meaningful way? It’s a demonstration of how much Delta values each person who chooses to fly with us.

The affinity and love for the Delta brand that Delta Sync helps foster is something we are very proud of. It’s about creating connections that resonate not just when someone is onboard one of our planes, but at every stage of their travel journey. We started rolling out Delta Sync last April, and these first ten months have taught us a lot. We’re just at the beginning of what’s possible, and that excites me to come into work every day.

It’s this cycle of listening, launching and refining that is critical to success.

Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Delta Air Lines

What has been your biggest takeaway since working on the Delta Sync initiative? What do you think other airlines need to know/consider if they’re attempting a project as ambitious as this?

My biggest takeaway from working on Delta Sync is that Delta People are extraordinary. From engineers, developers, designers, product technicians, content experts and everyone in between, Delta Sync is a testament to the power of a skilled, cross-functional team.

For others considering ambitious projects, the key is to build a team that embodies an agile mindset – experts who can pivot and adapt based on customer feedback. We’ve learned to listen to what customers want, launch with a product we’re proud of, gather real-world insights on how customers are using it, and then iterate swiftly. It’s this cycle of listening, launching and refining that is critical to success.

Looking to the future, which cutting-edge IFEC technology are you most looking forward to seeing adopted across the industry? What will the adoption of this technology mean for the passenger experience?

In the airline industry, we’re often accustomed to legacy systems, so the shift toward agile IFEC technology that can evolve with the customer is particularly exciting.

The evolution of the in-flight experience continues to be closely tied to the evolution of experiences in consumers’ everyday lives – it used to be that the novelty and excitement of being on an airplane was the entertainment. But as the technology and media landscapes have evolved through the years, airlines have had to innovate and adapt to meet the needs of the modern traveler. Today, that means customers are experiencing a move toward personalization that is on par with, or even surpasses, what they enjoy at home.

In the simplest terms: bringing this technology to our industry means an in-flight experience for customers that’s as eagerly awaited as the destination itself.

Find out more about the aspects of Delta Sync that Ekrem Dimbiloglu will be discussing onstage with APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader at APEX TECH here. To register for APEX TECH, click here.