Delta customers can book flights on Facebook

Airline starts doing business on social network, working on iPhone app

Looking to book a ticket on Delta Airlines? Now you can just go to the airline's Facebook page.

Delta, one of the world's largest airlines, said Thursday that it's the first company in the airline industry to enable customers to book tickets directly from a social networking site. On Delta's Facebook page, users can click on the "Book a Trip" tab to search flights, book one and share the information with online friends.

"Our customers are spending more time online and are looking for new ways to connect with us," said Bob Kupbens, Delta's vice president of e-commerce, in a statement. "We're now delivering technology where our customers are ... We already know Facebook is the most used Web site by inflight Wi-Fi users on more than 2,000 Delta flights every day, giving us the natural launching point for a new online Ticket Window."

Delta also has developers working on a new app for the iPhone .

Delta said the upcoming app will enable customers to check in for flights, check flight status, review flight schedules and review their SkyMiles account balance directly from their mobile phones. The company noted that future releases of the app should let users book flights and select their seats.

Just last month, research firm Yankee Group released a report showing that most consumers want to interact with businesses over social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter . The problem is that only 30% of businesses are prepared to do it.

The Yankee study also said that companies not using social networking sites are putting themselves at risk.

If that's the case, then Delta is on the right track by reaching out to customers via Facebook. "Unlocking the full power of social media and mobile apps is the next step for Delta," Kupbens said.

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