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United Airlines becomes first airline to introduce PayPal as inflight payment option

United Airlines has announced that it has introduced PayPal as inflight payment option becoming the first airline to do so.

Starting November 2021, passengers travelling on selected United flights can simply show a flight attendant the PayPal QR Code in the PayPal app and use it to buy snacks, drinks and other inflight purchases while onboard.

United is the first airline in the role to offer PayPal QR Codes. United was also the first airline to give passengers in economy cabins the option to pre-order snacks and beverages from the airline’s app and website, and also offers passengers the ability to easily store payment information in a digital wallet.

PayPal QR Codes can be used on select flights departing from Chicago O’ Hare International Airport in November 2021 and before the end of the year, will extend to all flights across the airline’s entire network where contactless payment is available.

Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer, United Airlines, said:

Our contactless payment offering is built on simplicity and choice and it’s another way we’re improving the overall experience of flying United. PayPal is a terrific partner and this technology gives our customers another easy way to make purchases, even when they’re not online. We expect to introduce even more new and innovative options for our customers in the future through our collaboration with PayPal.

How it works?

First of all, prior to leaving the gate, download the PayPal app and set your preferred payment method for QR code payments if you haven’t already. Then, to make an inflight purchase, Click the ‘Pay with QR codes’ button. Then click the ‘In-flight Purchase’ button. Now, show the QR code to the flight attendant to scan. Upon landing, look for an emailed confirmation receipt.

Frank Keller, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Segment Solutions and Digital Commerce, PayPal, said:

We’re excited to be partnering with United to introduce our new offline QR code functionality, adding more ways for customers to check out with PayPal in more places, especially in offline or low connectivity areas. Bringing PayPal QR Codes inflight reinforces our commitment to offering customers choice and provides a new level of touch-free convenience for consumers when making in-flight purchases, within the PayPal app they know and trust.

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New Buy-on-board menu

Passengers can pay using PayPal QR Codes to enjoy one of many new food and beverage offerings United launched this year. In June, United unveiled its refreshed buy-on-board menu, which includes:

  • Three New Snack Boxes: A Tapas snack box with European-inspired offerings; a Takeoff snack box with high-protein options; a Recline snack box with movie theater themed treats.
  • New A la Carte Snack Options: Including sweet potato “tortilla” chips with roasted pepper salsa, trail mix and chocolate-covered dried fruit.
  • New Adult Beverage Options: Mango White Claw®; red, white and sparkling wine, and new beer options such as Breckenridge Brewery Juice Drop Hazy IPA and Michelob ULTRA®.

New Fresh Options: Last month, United also added 5 new fresh retail offerings to its buy-on-board menu including:

Morning Menu:

  • Beatrix Market Chia Seed Pudding: Beatrix Market’s signature Chia Seed Pudding with fresh mango and toasted coconut
  • Bacon, Egg and Cheese Spiral Croissant: Shoulder bacon, fried egg patty with black pepper and cheddar cheese on a butter spiral croissant

Afternoon/Evening Menu:

  • Beatrix Market Mediterranean Grain Bowl: Protein-packed grain bowl features bulgur, a black lentil and carrot salad, roasted zucchini and bell peppers and is served with a bright lemon vinaigrette
  • Classic Beef Butter Burger with Cheddar: Old fashioned cheeseburger with cheddar and pickles on a buttered brioche bun
  • Kindred Creamery Selection Cheese Tray: Cheddar cheese, gouda cheese, Colby jack cheese, Monterey jack cheese, along with crackers and dried cherry and almond mix

In addition to this, the Chicago-based airline also introduced brand-new meal offerings to passengers seated in domestic premium cabins on flights over 1,500 miles and hub-to-hub flights over 800 miles.

The enhanced meal service includes a choice of entrees – including fresher options like egg scramble with plant-based chorizo and grilled chicken breast with orzo and lemon basil pesto – sides and dessert. United has also teamed with Eli’s Cheesecake to create a uniquely United chocolate pie flavor called “Pie in the Sky.”

Featured image by United

What do you think of United’s partnership with PayPal to enable QR-code based inflight payments? Let me know in the comments section below.

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