Delta’s “Innovation Class” makes flying meaningful

I just stumbled across Delta’s “Innovation Class” program.  What a truly innovative ( 🙂 ) idea!  Which is this: you can apply to sit next to a really cool person who is flying somewhere, usually to a conference or similar event in their field.

The program’s name has such a clever twist in meaning, too—with “class” simultaneously signifying both an airline seating category and a “master class” mentoring/learning experience.

Here’s how Delta describes its Innovation Class program:

Our jets fill up with some of the smartest people in the world. Leaders in technology, science, the arts and more.

But why should a flight just be a simple flight? Could these leaders use this time in the air to not just fly, but to share their knowledge with an up-and-coming professional in the seat next to them? We think so.

From this idea Delta Innovation Class was born.

It’s a mentoring program – that just so happens to take place at 35,000 feet.

We will be selecting leaders in innovation on their way to events around the globe for the program. They’ll be sitting in the mentor seat. The seat next to them will be open. This is your chance to sit in that seat. We’ll fly you to the event, get you in to the event, and, most importantly, give you one-on-one access you might never otherwise get.

The Delta Innovation Class web page even has a place for you to suggest mentors for future flights.  If you have to fly somewhere anyway, how great would it be to sit next to someone really fascinating?  Whom you would never have such access to anywhere else.  And who might offer information and insights that could change your life.

I swore I’d never fly Delta again after a frustrating experience several years ago.  But I’m rethinking that now.

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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