Travelers frustrated with online or phone customer service can now get a little face time.
Travelers wait in line at the Delta check-in counter at LaGuardia Airport
Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Delta Air Lines introduced a video chat customer service center at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.

“More and more people are choosing video chat to connect in their everyday lives, so we wanted to bring that channel to Delta customers,” Charisse Evans, Delta’s vice president of reservations, sales, and customer care, said in a statement.

Customers who wish to video chat with a representative can use one of five interactive screens set up at the airport’s Delta Sky Assist area. Passengers simply pick up a receiver and touch the screen to begin a live video chat with a customer service representative, who can deal with issues (like changing a flight reservation) and accept feedback.

The set-up also features one screen specifically designed for passengers with disabilities. The screen is installed on the wall at a lower height, and there’s a keypad option so customers can send their concerns via text.

The program won’t replace any of Delta’s current customer service options, which include Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and telephone. We’re imagining that the video chat option, however, could be particularly useful for eliciting more sympathy and maintaining civil conversations — on both sides of the screen.

The installation at the airport is currently in a test period. Delta will review data from the test to decide whether or not to expand the program to other locations.

The airline industry is currently one of the worst in the country for customer satisfaction. But it appears that several airlines are rethinking their strategies. Earlier this month, for example, JetBlue announced that it would start logging all customer service interactions — no matter the platform — in one centralized place.