Editor’s note: This post is a guest editorial by Eric Radtke, President of Sporty’s Academy.

Delta's iPad app allows you to track flight progress and see nearby landmarks in flight.

Delta’s iPad app allows you to track flight progress and see nearby landmarks in flight.

Since reading about Delta’s new “glass bottom” app unveiled at the beginning of the year, I’ve been anxious to take the iPad version on a test flight and finally had that opportunity on a recent trip from Cincinnati to Tampa.

The “glass bottom” feature can be found in the Fly Delta app which also contains a wealth of resources for anyone flying Delta.  Within the FREE app you can book a trip, check-in for your flight, verify flight status, get an update on your SkyMiles account, access destination information including weather, and even preview or download  flight entertainment options.

The “catch” on the glass-bottom feature of the app is that you have to be connected to the onboard Wi-Fi network (Gogo Inflight).  Pricing options for Gogo vary.  You may purchase minutes of access or up to monthly unlimited access for the very frequent fliers.

The glass-bottom feature of the app is obvious and easy to access once the in-flight Wi-Fi requirement is met.  The feature allows you to essentially view the ground below (hence the “glass-bottom” naming convention) via maps.  The glass-bottom feature can be toggled on and off.  With glass-bottom on, you’ll see a detailed street map and can access interesting information on various points of interest near your route.  You can also view your aircraft’s altitude and speed.

Unless there was something specific I was looking for immediately below, I preferred “glass-bottom” toggled off.  This view still displays your aircraft over a topographic map, but also allows you to view weather at your destination, arriving gate information, trip information including elapsed and remaining flight time, and even in-flight amenities.

Overall my impression and experience was positive.  The position information wasn’t always perfect as it is dependent on the reliability and speed of the onboard Wi-Fi network, but performance was satisfactory.  If you’re willing to spring for the Gogo access (which is a necessity for me), it’s a versatile, worthy entertainment option.  And learning more about so much of the land that you may never set foot on is a refreshing way to pass the time.

Download the app here: Fly Delta for iPad

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