Seamless Payment In The Skies: JetBlue & Apple’s New Venture

Have you ever been on a flight and have had to endure those moments of frustration while trying to pay for drinks or items using a credit card? The airline industry has increasingly made credit cards the standard of payment over the past decade, making some passengers hesitant. One recent development, however could change the face of in-flight payment forever and leave passengers breathing a sigh of relief.

JetBlue has announced a partnership with Apple that will see them become the first airline to accept Apple Pay for in-flight purchases – allowing passengers to even upgrade to premium seating if they so chose. Those looking to take advantage will be able to do so using both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. And as an extra bonus, those who pick up the Apple Watch this coming April will also be able to make use of this payment system. Apple Pay will be first used on flights between New York City and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Next month, more destinations will be included with an end goal of all flights being enabled to take Apple Pay by June.

JetBlue has hit the ground running with the process, with 3,500 flight crew members undergoing training on how to use their new iPad Minis that are replete with new NFC-enabled cases to accept Apple Pay. The iPads are equipped with a specially crafted Inflight Service Assistant app that will not only process payments, but will also give attendants access to the flight manifest and contain the in-flight service manual thanks to approval by the Federal Aviation Administration. This allows flight attendants to quickly pinpoint frequent fliers and those with special needs like wheelchair assistance. However, paying with plastic won’t be dismissed; the iPads will be able to still process credit card as well.

Apple’s collaboration with JetBlue is not limited to flights – the airline will also make Apple Pay a payment option on their mobile app in June. They will also make inroads to add other wireless payment systems like Google Wallet later on this year. JetBlue is still ironing out details on how to fully inform passengers of this news.