Two sessions focused on on-board payment solutions and technologies at the APEX TECH Conference in New Port Beach: “The Future of Airline Onboard Retail Solutions” and “Onboard Payment Technologies.”
Jon Hall, group operations director of Belgravium Technologies, an on-board POS solution provider, highlighted the importance of travel shopping within the passenger experience and how airlines can optimize their in-flight sales revenue via technology. “We’re all trying to buy something onboard, whether it be for ourselves, friends or family, and [airlines] need to be able to engage with that easily,” says Hall. Travel shopping is still somewhat of a novelty to many passengers. However, as Hall explained, technology can help “normalize” this behavior. Belgravium Technologies’ “SkyPOS” software allows airlines to engage with passengers at all journey touch-points, maximizing sales opportunities and offering them a chance to compete with other retail channels.
Although payment technologies such as Apple Pay and NFC are already changing the face of on-board payment, something else is causing a stir in the on-board payment sector. Effective October 2015, credit card transactions in the US will shift from magnetic strips to “chip-and-PIN” technology. At that point, “liability for fraudulent transactions shifts from card issuer to the merchant,” explained Michael Planey, co-founder, HMPlaney Consultants.
Mark Reed, business development engineer, Inflight Peripherals (IFPL) presented some of the IFE payment options available to airlines. “The most elegant solution is actually the most difficult,” shared Reed in reference to embedded chip technology. Reed suggested airlines go with a “Contactless/NFC Remote Payment Module.” He explains, “With this solution, [airlines] don’t have to mess with the monitors.”
Following Reed’s presentation, Rich Salter, chief technical officer, Lumexis Corportation, shared, in detail, the steps APEX is taking to address the impact that the shift will have on our industry.
“APEX is working with industry groups to request an extension for the shift that other industries have been granted,” explained Salter.
But new regulations aside, Planey explained that NFC technology is going to be everywhere, and adapting to these changes is inevitable: “We are riding the wave and hoping not to be capsized.”