Airlines had until this week only managed to place flight search facilities into fan pages, with the user being re-directed to the carrier’s main and external website to obtain results and make bookings.
It was thought European low-cost carrier EasyJet would be the first to cross the finish line with a fully functioning booking system, having talked up the idea a number of times in recent months and paying plenty of attention to the flight search element of its fan page.
But Delta has beaten its European counterpart to it, announcing the launch of its own system just days after overhauling the homepage of its website.
Known as¬†Ticket Window [needs application approval], users can select different search criteria and then view results from within the application, including route options, aircraft type, times and inclusive prices.
Once a fare is selected the user can enter the usual passenger and payment details and the booking is complete.
Delta says the strategy behind the move is to offer a booking mechanism within one of the most popular sites used by its passengers. The airline currently has around 33,000 fans on Facebook, a mere fraction of the 500 million registered profiles on the social network.
Although the functionality is reasonably limited, at least when comparing to other tools available on the existing Delta website, search and booking is on a similar level to the user experience on a mobile due to the limited module size and existing parameters of Facebook.
It does appear that the core functionality behind the search and booking widget is also being geared up for use elsewhere – Delta says the same tools will soon be made available on banner ads it uses as part of its online ad creative, similar to those seen on affiliate networks.
The Delta system was developed by Minneapolis-based software firm Alvenda.