Delta Air Lines Rolls Out Restaurant IPads at Twin Cities' Airport
At the Mimosa and Shoyu restaurants in Concourse G at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the moules frites and caterpillar rolls aren't the only starring attractions.
Dining travelers also get a heapin' helping of technology, in the form of an Apple iPad tablet installed at every seat and bar space in the restaurants for Web browsing, email checking, game playing and news watching along with flight and gate updates.
Travelers also place food and drink orders on the tablets, which work with adjacent credit-card swipers so that the customers can consummate transactions themselves and be on their way.
The 250 or so iPads, perched atop stylized metal stands resembling stiletto heels, are the first wave of a massive tablet deployment that will fill the Delta Air Lines-controlled Concourse G with about 2,500 of the gadgets over roughly the next year.
OTG Management, the New York City-based company responsible for the iPad rollout, also is installing tablets in sections of New York's LaGuardia Airport and Canada's Toronto Pearson International Airport in the coming months.
"We believe it to be the largest public-facing deployment of iPads in the world," said Albert Lee, OTG's chief technology officer. "I have never seen anything on this scale."
Lee was among a number of OTG and Delta officials present at the airport Wednesday, Aug. 29, for a public unveiling of the iPads -- though the tablets at Mimosa, a country-style French restaurant, have been in use since earlier this month. Shoyu, which specializes in Japanese food, opened its doors on Tuesday.
OTG, which is responsible for a revamping of the dining options in the concourse as well as for technology upgrades, ultimately plans to have about a dozen restaurants and food markets with iPads available throughout for dine-in or take-out food ordering.
The iPads already are about to spread beyond Mimosa and Shoyu.
Workers on Wednesday had started to dismantle the counter at MinniBar, a sandwich bar near Mimosa, to retrofit it with iPad stations. And within the next month or two, remodeling crews will begin to pull out many of the traditional chairs in flight-gate waiting areas and replace them with bar-style counters with an iPad for every stool.
The upgrades will essentially transform the concourse into a single vast restaurant, said William Lentsch, Delta senior vice president of Minnesota operations, since travelers will be able to place food orders from any tablet in the facility.
"We wanted to create a technology showcase and a world-class food program," said Lee, "and to marry the two."Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.