JetBlue Airways will have the honor of being the first airline company to accept Apple Pay for any purchases made in-flight. As reported by USA Today, JetBlue will start accepting Apple Pay payments next week on select flights.
According to the USA Today report, JetBlue's flight attendants will be provided with iPad Minis that are configured to accept Apple Pay payments. Specifically, the iPad Minis will be equipped with small card reader attachments for magnetic card swipes. This means that Apple Pay will not be the only form of payment that is available on board.
Also, each iPad Mini will be installed with the Inflight Service Assistant app. This iOS mobile app will allow flight attendants access to information pertaining to the flight and the passengers.
Moreover, JetBlue will not be just accepting Apple Pay payments in-flight, it will also accept payments from customers that are using the Apple Watch. Like the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple's first wearable device is also equipped with a near field communications (NFC) chip. Of course, since Apple Watch will not be available yet until April of this year, wearable enthusiasts will have to wait a few a couple of months before they can purchase anything using their Apple smartwatch.
Those in the airline industry may not find this news that surprising. For years, airline companies have had a habit of using Apple products. For instance, four years ago in 2011, United Airlines bought 11,000 iPads after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the use of Apple tablets instead of paper flight manuals and charts. Even JetBlue has utilized Apple technology before -- a year ago it debuted its in-flight Wi-Fi service with dedicated 140 gigabyte satellite links.
Bringing Apple Pay on board selected flights may sound exciting now, but in the near future, it would not be a surprise if more airlines adapt Apple Pay too. Indeed, a few years from now, paying for food, drinks, merchandise, and even upgrades to better seats with the use of Apple Pay could be the norm.
But many agree that Apple Pay's growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. Hundreds of merchants, retail chains, credit card companies, and banking institutions are already supporting Apple's mobile payment system. Last December, Chevron was in talks with Apple in making Apple Pay Pay available at gas pumps. This January, news broke out that Apple is partnering with USA Technologies in bringing the mobile payment system to vending machines. And now, Apple Pay is making the jump into the airline industry. Who knows which industry will Apple Pay break into next?
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