Delta has added a new dimension to their friendly skies with the launch of the Innovation Class, which takes place 35,000 ft in the air. The classes are transforming a typical flight into a mentoring program, giving business, art and technology experts and up and coming innovators a chance to share ideas. Throughout the year, specially selected mentors who are the the top of their fields will take to the skies with a knowledge seeker beside them. The one-on-one classes foster a no-holds-barred approach to learning and collaboration that thrives in this unconventional and creative setting.
The carrier’s inaugural Innovation Class positioned Pebble Smartwatch creator Eric Migicovsky alongside interaction designer James Patten on a flight from Salt Lake City to Vancouver for TED 2014. Patten applied for the seat on LinkedIn and was deemed a good match by Delta, which compared his profile to Migicovsky’s interests, including the idea that technology should adapt to the needs of human beings, not the other way around, in the vetting process.
“One thing that entrepreneurs do that is most dangerous is they think that it’s not a good thing to share,” Migicovsky says. “If people become comfortable sharing their projects and goals we’ll all accomplish that much faster.” To his credit, Migicovsky knows a little something about sharing. His smartwatch, which puts much of the technology of your iPhone or Android onto your wrist, is the most successful crowdfunded Kickstarter project to date.
The next Innovation Class is set to take flight May 5 on a flight from Charleston to New York with chef Sean Brock. Brock is attending the James Beard Foundation Awards where he is a semifinalist for the “Outstanding Chef of the Year” award. Applications are still being accepted through April 4th on Delta’s website. In September, the Innovation Class will be flying to TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, an international platform for startups and emerging tech.
Although it is unclear if or when Delta will open up its new mile high club to a larger audience, the class certainly paves the way for in-air meetings at a time when travelers are vying to remain productive and engaged throughout their journeys.
“Sometimes it feels like your schedule just completely overpowers you—it takes over your life,” Migicovsky laments. “You have to make sure that there’s time for those interesting, random chance encounters.”