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The sky is the limit! Or is it? That used to be the expression for endless possibilities. JetBlue lifted the limit of internet access by having WiFi available since early 2013. Next JetBlue will offer the ability to pay inflight with an iPhone.
Starting later this month Apple Pay becomes the new payment method on JetBlue flights. Travelers will be able to order a drink or food and even upgrade to a better seat by using their iPhone.
Flight attendants will have an iPad Mini that is to be loaded with the new Apple Pay app. Each iPad Mini will be equipped with an NFC-sensing case and credit card sensor. More than 3,500 crew members will be receiving a new Apple Mini with the custom app, Service Assistant. This app provides flight attendants information with flight data and the passenger manifest along with the ability to take inflight payments via Apple Pay.
Customers with an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus will be able to use their phone. This is how simple it works: the customer makes their payment by just holding it up to the flight attendant’s iPad Mini and then using the phone’s TouchID fingerprint sensor.
There will be no paper receipt to keep track of while inflight. Instead, the receipts are emailed to the customer. Replacing your wallet with Apple Pay is a goal for Apple and maybe very appealing to travelers who prefer not carrying cash.
Initially, inflight payments will be available only on flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles from New York. JetBlue will include more flights next month and plans to have all their flights using it by June. Apple Pay will be available for customers to make purchases on JetBlue’s mobile iOS app by the end of the year.
Apple Pay, offering contactless payments, made its debut in October. Presently customers must have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and then by just waving their iPhone near a device outfitted with the NFC-enabled equipment they can make a payment. Expanding this service widely to vendors and throughout retail in general remains a challenge for Apple.
Major credit card companies, banks, and an assortment of retail chains and vendors signed up with Apple already. Moving into other industries is important for embracing Apple’s method of contactless payments. Apple’s senior vice president for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, believes that with JetBlue using Apple Pay more airlines join in using their app.
The competition, such as Google Pay, supports both Android and iOS devices. Rachel McCarthy, JetBlue VP for inflight experience, gave a statement to USA Today in which she said that individuals using Google Wallet and/or other systems of mobile payment will be able to use their phone to make inflight payments somewhere “down the road.”
So, what about customers that do not have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? Well, that is where Apple Watch comes in! JetBlue will accept Apple Watch when the app launches in April for inflight payments. In fact, whether or not the customer has an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch will support payments anywhere it is active.
By Ailey Hines
Photo by John Karakatsanis – License