Mobile payments are certainly taking off. Starting next week, JetBlue passengers on select flights will be able to purchase food, drinks and other amenities (if not SkyMall purchases) using Apple Pay on an iPhone 6 or iPhone6 Plus. This marks the first mobile payment system to be used on an airline, but it certainly won’t be the last.
JetBlue’s flight attendants will carry around specially equipped iPad Minis that can accept both the six-month-old Apply Pay as well as credit cards. “The iPad Minis will also give flight attendants info on which passengers are frequent fliers and who is having a birthday,” according to JetBlue’s press release.
In addition, the airline is hoping to move its bulky flight-attendant manuals over to the iPad Mini as well.[more]
Apple Pay will be available on select JetBlue flights going from New York to San Francisco and Los Angeles, before expanding to other areas. It should be on all JetBlue flights by June. Apple Watch, which is expected to make its debut in April, will also be able to serve as an in-flight payment system.
It’s a smart branding move for JetBlue and for Apple Pay, which is currently accepted at McDonald’s, Walgreens and a quickly-expanding network of retailers and other businesses.
Other mobile payment systems won’t just stand by while Apple corners this market. “Somebody else doing it always puts pressure on the other guy,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Internet Software and Services, to USA Today.
JetBlue Vice President for Inflight Experience Rachel McCarthy tells USAT’s Ed Baig that the airline expects other payment plans will be accepted in time. Samsung and Google are both players in this market, so there should be a lot of battle lines drawn in the sky between mobile-payment plans.
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