Delta Airlines announced today that it plans to equip its pilots with Microsoft’s new Surface 2 tablet running Windows 8.1 RT. The company is moving to Microsoft tablets despite the fact that it was the first airline to roll-out iPads to pilots to replace heavy flight bags.
Delta gave 22 pilots iPads back in 2011, but thanks to a deal with Nokia – which is now owned by Microsoft – the company will be a going with an all-Windows approach. The company already gave its 19,000 flight attendants with a company-issued Nokia Lumia 820 Windows handset back in August of this year.
The original plan was for Delta to use Nokia’s Sirius Windows tablet that was slated to release this Fall, but plans changed after the Microsoft-Nokia merger. Over the next two years, Delta cockpits will be completely paperless with the roll-out of the Microsoft Surface 2 to pilots. Delta will issues the device to its 757/767 fleet first before transitioning to the 777, 747, and MD88.
As for the fate of the Delta iPad program, pilots are still welcome to bring their own iPads with them on flights, but it hopes pilots will transition of the BYOD iPad plan to a company-issued device. The Surface 2 is set to launch on October 22nd for $449.