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Delta Air Lines will be the first major global carrier to adopt digital currency in lieu of its existing loyalty program, effective January 1, 2019. It will transition from having its members accrue SkyMiles, which are currently awarded based on dollars spent on the ticket fare, to earning Ethereum, which is one of the many types of cryptocurrencies currently in the market.
The light bulb came on for Delta when Air France announced it was launching a new airline called JOON, which targets millennials. Air France has designed the JOON concept to function less like an airline, and more like a digital laboratory. Hauenstein said that Delta was, “breath-taken” by the idea of JOON and felt the urge to, “go digital or go home.”
“Like it or not, millennials are the future of our global customer base,” said Hauenstein. “We have to be predictable, nimble, and digital every step of the way, and tailor our products and services to every single thing that value, buy, tweet, troll, or can’t even.”
“We hope we can leverage our relationship with China Eastern to help the Chinese stop using Ethereum to collect virtual cats and instead start using it for legitimate purposes,” he said. “We’ve tossed around the idea of switching our stock ticker from “DAL” to “WEI,” as a bargaining chip.
Redemption of SkyMirage Ethers, however, will be subjected to the normal, unregulated, and highly speculative crypto coin processes, in which Delta is uninvolved.
Delta feels indebted to American Express for all the years in which it supported the carrier during its trip to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005, but as part of the initiative to become “#DigitalAF,” it has to think more along the lines of a social media platform and less like a traditional airline.
Delta has chosen Ethereum over Bitcoin as its preferred method of cryptocurrency due to Ethereum’s speed, with transactions taking place in seconds rather than minutes, even if its value is smaller than Bitcoin.
“We’ll leave that to Southwest,” said Bastian.
Happy April Fools!