Apple Pay flying high with JetBlue now on board

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JetBlue passengers, leave your credit cards in your wallets: Apple Pay is on board.

The airline is rolling out Apple Pay on select flights between New York City’s John F. Kennedy airport and airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles starting next week. By June, 3,500 flight attendants will be able to accept mobile payments using new iPad minis in NFC-compatible cases on all JetBlue flights. The cases will also accept traditional credit and debit cards if you don’t have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Later this year, JetBlue is also integrating Apple Pay into its own mobile app so passengers can make purchases, and the company said customers won’t need to purchase Wi-Fi as part of their transactions.

JetBlue is limiting its mobile payment acceptance to Apple Pay for now, though a rep for the airline told USA Today that other systems like Google Wallet might be accepted “down the road.”

This gives Apple an advantage in its quest to take mobile payments mainstream. Once JetBlue passengers get used to paying for drinks, snacks, and seat upgrades with their phones, they’ll start to expect it on all airlines.

We expected airlines to accept Apple Pay at some point, given their adoption of Apple devices for in-flight service. United plans to outfit 23,000 flight attendants with an iPhone 6 Plus for in-air use this year, though it’s unclear if the airline will also adopt Apple Pay.

“Somebody else doing it always puts pressure on the other guy,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for Internet software and services, told USA Today.

Apple has spent the last few months methodically adding new retail partners and support for smaller banks and credit unions. Apple Pay didn't start an overnight mobile payment revolution, but the service has definitely advanced the cause, which is more than competing products can claim.

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