Apple Pay is taking to the skies for the first time. Starting next week, select JetBlue Airways flights will begin accepting the mobile payment method.
Passengers on JetBlue flights supporting Apple Pay will be able to use their iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to purchase refreshments and other amenities once the plane reaches cruising altitude. The payment method can also be used to upgrade to premium seats with extra legroom.
"The sky is definitely not the limit when it comes to mobile payments with Apple Pay," Marty St. George, JetBlue senior vice president, said in a statement. "Customers want an easy and fast transaction when they decide to make an on-board purchase so that they can get back to enjoying their flight."
For JetBlue to accept ApplePay, it will begin deploying iPad Minis equipped with special near-field communication (NFC) cases to 3,500 of its inflight crewmembers. The iPads will also have a custom built iOS app called Inflight Service Assistant, which can also be used to access passenger manifest and flight data.
Apple Pay will begin appearing on select flights between New York and Los Angeles New York and San Francisco next week and is expected to be accepted on all JetBlue flights by June. JetBlue passengers will also be able to begin using Apple Pay to complete purchases in the airline’s mobile app through an update scheduled for launch later this year.
JetBlue is the first airline to accept Apple Pay, which was publicly introduced by Apple in September. Since its launch, the Cupertino, California tech company has attracted 750 banks and credit unions interested in supporting the payment system. Apple Pay makes up more than $2 out of every $3 spent on purchases using contactless payments, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s earnings call in January.
"We are more confident than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay," he added.