Ready, Set, Jet! A Revolution in Gamified Training from Delta Airlines

Ready, Set, Jet! A Revolution in Gamified Training from Delta Airlines


There are few industries that resist progress and change more than the airline industry. With a platform heavily dependent upon safety and security, technological change is rare. Through years of research and development, Ponch Orendain, project manager at Delta Airlines, has worked with a team to create a truly revolutionary training platform for Delta’s employees, appropriately named Ready, Set, Jet.

 With an impressive 28 years of work at Delta, Orendain is a well-established veteran for the major airline corporation. When he made the switch from programing and design to being a project manager in the reservation group, the expectations were high. Orendain was tasked with developing a more modern way of training people. Orendain and his team found the solution to their training problem: games.

Having no idea where to begin, they started googling potentially related search items, which led them to a video of Gabe Zichermann discussing gamification and links to GSummit. With no idea where to start on his project, Orendain did what any self-respecting Fortune 50 executive would do – he started playing games.

Lots of games. Everything from traditional games to first person shooter video games. They were looking to gain an understanding of game mechanics, as well as an understanding of the type of game suitable for their audience, a group of 5,000 employees across the world.


With rough ideas in place and a few examples of successful games, including Farmville and Words with Friends, the Delta team didn’t know which direction to take, so they began looking for vendors to help with development. This meant compiling a list of requirements, including previous experience, extensive gaming knowledge, and the ability to process and report on big data. Most of the vendors didn’t meet Delta’s requirements, offering solutions too heavily reminiscent of the page-turning e-Learning software Orendain had no intentions of emulating. Finally, the last company on the list, NogginLabs, Inc. in Chicago, impressed Orendain and began developing Delta’s gamified training program.

Since its launch in October of 2012, Ready, Set, Jet has experienced huge success in training and educating at Delta, boasting high employee engagement rates and information retention. Orendain’s team was able to turn a mundane task most employees dread into a challenging, competitive game that engages users while they complete their training.  So what’s the secret to employee engagement with gamified solutions?

Don’t give users learning platforms with some game elements thrown in. Give users games and put learning inside.

Sounds simple. Maybe even too simple. But for Orendain’s team at Delta, it worked, and it’s the beginning of a trend for Delta and similar corporations away from traditional learning platforms to gamified solutions that increase engagement and retention. According to Orendain, Ready, Set, Jet is just the beginning. With more research and development being poured into gamified training solutions, Delta is on the cusp of a big change in the way airline employees learn. And for Orendain and the project development team, playing video games at work paid off.

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  • There is room for change and improvement in any industry.

  • Pick a vendor that’s right for your needs.

  • Give users games and put learning inside, not the other way around.


This interview was provided by Gsummit media partner TechnologyAdvice, an Inc. 5000 company that is dedicated to educating, advising, and connecting the buyers and sellers of business technology. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.


Need help with behavioral science and gamification? Get in touch with our boutique consulting agency Dopamine.