Delta Introduces Contactless Payments Onboard & Trials Seatback Menus

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The United States may lead the world in a wide variety of areas, but banking and payment processing are not our forte. Where large parts of the world have been enjoying (and embracing) contactless payments for years, we’re still seeing credit card companies offer us incentives to use the technology because a significant percentage of our population has no idea it exists or has no idea how to use it.

The fact is, however, that contactless technology is here to stay because not only is it very convenient, but it’s also considerably more hygienic than the payment terminals we’ve been using for decades. Unsurprisingly, most people are currently a lot more focused on hygiene than they have been at any other point in living memory, and with that focus likely to be with us for some time, the demand for contactless payments is not about to go away.

Delta Brings Contactless Payments Onboard

With all of this in mind, Delta has now announced that starting from 16 March, its cabin crews will be equipped with tap-to-pay processing terminals that will allow customers to start making onboard purchases without the need for them to come into contact with the terminal.

At first, mobile devices and contactless-enabled credit cards will only be useable to purchase the earbuds that Delta sells onboard, but as the airline brings back more food and beverage options, contactless payment will expand to all onboard sales.

Delta’s Seatback Menus

In a further move to reduce the number of touchpoints that passengers share onboard an aircraft, Delta is now trialing digital seatback menus on select international flights. Assuming the trial goes well, the airline plans to expand the feature across its fleet.

The menu being trialed is a new electronic Delta One menu that’s currently accessible via personal seatback screens on Delta’s A330 flights operating between Boston and Amsterdam.

The Bigger Picture

The introduction of contactless payments and the trialing of seatback menus are all part of a bigger initiative to keep reducing the number of unnecessary touchpoints on an aircraft and to improve sanitary conditions onboard.

Along these lines, Delta has already started to offer touchless faucets, flush levers, and waste lids in its aircraft lavatories, and it started introducing anti-microbial lighting for sinks and countertops back in November. A variety of Delta’s aircraft already offer these features (including the Airbus A350s, Airbus A330-900s, Boeing 767-400s, and Boeing 757s) and the airline has confirmed its aim to roll out some or all of these features to other aircraft as the year progresses.

Bottom Line

From 16 March, customers onboard Delta flights will be able to begin to make in-flight purchases using contactless technology and the US will take a further small step towards catching up with the rest of the developed world that has been using this technology for years.