Real-time, in-flight credit card transactions at hand

If an airline was able to conduct real-time credit card transactions during flight, just think of all the high-end items it could sell to passengers.

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At present, credit cards are swiped via wireless handhelds on aircraft but the transactions are processed when the aircraft gets on the ground.

Because of this billing mechanism – which sometimes results in fraudulent transactions – there is a ceiling of the value of items that can be comfortably sold today.

Enter AeroMobile, which is harnessing its mobile connectivity service to offer a new in-flight credit card authentication service that will be trialled by Malaysia Airlines.

With as many as 40 aircraft equipped with AeroMobile by May, Emirates is also looking to roll out the service, AeroMobile chief commercial officer Peter Tuggey tells Runway Girl.

“This reduces fraud, allows airlines to sell high ticket items from duty free, and reduces cost for them,” says Tuggey.

Expect an announcement from AeroMobile this week about the new service.

Other carriers have similar plans to conduct real-time transactions during flight now that airborne connectivity is taking hold. Check out my previous story about Southwest Airlines’ intention to use Row 44 for such a service.

But back to AeroMobile. The Arinc/Telenor joint venture is working on a broad package of new initiatives. In addition to the aforementioned offering, the firm is touting a new airline-brandable mobile phone portal (think airline and destination information).

“All of that’s possible of course with our GPRS link and again brings absolute value to the passenger and the airline as well,” says Tuggey.

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