Saturday, February 27, 2016

Southwest Starts Offering Pay With Amazon For In-Flight Purchases

Southwest Starts Offering Pay with Amazon for In-Flight Purchases
Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has partnered with Amazon to offer a new in-flight payment service. The Dallas-based low-cost carrier’s Wi-Fi-equipped planes now allow passengers to make purchases with Pay with Amazon.
To use Pay with Amazon, fliers simply have to log into their Amazon account on their own device and approve whatever purchases they want to make. The feature can be used for buying Wi-Fi access or purchasing movies and TV shows. 
Keeping up with current trends
Heather Figallo, Southwest’s senior director of product innovation and management, touted the new payment option as an example of the airline’s ability to keep up with current trends: "We're continually following the trends of our Customers, looking for ways to enhance the Customer Experience onboard our aircraft.  With the addition of Pay with Amazon to our entertainment portal, we're doing just that.” 
The Amazon payments will work on iOS and Android devices, and the service will also be accessible via web browsers.
Not the only airline-Amazon partnership
Southwest’s IFE system is powered by Golden Eagle Entertainment, a firm that offers in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions to airlines around the world. Golden Eagle is the IFE partner that is helping Norwegian Air roll out its live TV service. It is also a leader in the gate-to-gate connectivity movement.  
Southwest isn’t the only airline to tap into Amazon’s considerable clout. JetBlue’s IFE portal features an enhanced version of Amazon Instant Video, which is accessible via the airline’s free Fly-Fi connection. The service is free for Amazon Prime members, and other passengers can sign up for a free trial when they fly. Since Southwest charges for Wi-Fi access, their IFE options are technically not free, though Amazon Prime members should still be able to use their account after they purchase Wi-Fi. 
Convenience... and an easier upsell
Pay with Amazon will certainly bring a higher level of convenience for Southwest passengers, allowing them to make purchases with a couple of clicks instead of having to go through the comparatively tedious process of whipping out a credit card and entering payment information. If they are already logged into Amazon on their device, they don’t even have to enter a password. Some fliers will also probably appreciate the extra layer of security that comes from not having to enter a new credit card number before clicking “purchase.”
So on one hand, Pay with Amazon brings a higher level of convenience and security. On the other, the click-and-buy payment model will make upselling that much easier for the airline. Also, adding another payment option shows that Southwest is most likely planning to continue charging for in-flight entertainment for the foreseeable future. Luckily, the airline is also apparently planning to keep its free checked baggage policy as well, so there is a trade-off for fliers. 
The other trend to note is that Amazon seems to be getting more and more involved in in-flight entertainment, at least as far as U.S.-based low cost carriers are concerned.   

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