American Airlines will introduce a new service to accept credit and charge
cards for onboard purchases, in addition to cash, using wireless handheld
devices.American will be the first U.S. airline with a global network to
offer this option onboard all aircraft.
This additional payment option, which is being supported through an
expanded relationship with American Express, is the latest in a series of
moves by American to find innovative ways to work with its long-time allies
to create value, add convenience, or provide new options for its customers.
American’s full-scale launch follows successful testing executed in 2005.
Results showed that passengers viewed the new payment option as a way of
conserving cash while maintaining the ability to purchase items inflight.
According to the Nilson Report, a leading publication covering consumer
payments, there were 1.7 billion cards (debit, credit and prepaid) in
circulation by the end of 2004, generating $2.342 trillion in purchases.
With more and more travelers, especially business travelers, using payment
cards, the ability to accept credit and debit cards in the air allows
American to extend another convenient payment option valued by its
“Our customers appreciate choice and flexibility,” said Lauri L.
Curtis, Vice President-Onboard Service. “Expanding payment options for
onboard purchases, such as snack boxes, sandwiches, alcoholic beverages and
headsets, to include credit or debit cards is another way we offer our
passengers convenience and flexibility, while providing a service no other
major U.S. airline offers.”
“We know that travelers, in particular those traveling for business,
look for every opportunity to use an American Express Card,” said Erich
Franken, Vice President, Airline Industry, American Express Establishment
Services. “Whether on the ground or 30,000 feet above it, American Airlines
is offering a great way to increase the convenience of travel.”
The rollout will take place during a six-week period and will be
available on all American Airlines domestic and international flights by
mid-June. The devices operate using Windows Mobile technology, common in
mobile devices and PDAs, combined with wireless data transmission