Imagine you are flying 20,000 feet in the air and suddenly you remember the black leather jacket you wanted but didn't get time to buy. Well, what do you do now? How about ordering it online right from your plane seat?
Passengers browse the online shopping mall on air. [Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
China's Hainan Airlines's flight HU7619 from Beijing to Shanghai became the first flight to allow passengers make mobile payments in the air, marking the domestic carrier's official entry into the era of online shopping while cruising in the sky.
Travelers can use their laptops or tablets to connect to Wi-Fi in the cabin and access the internet portal page. They can then browse Shareco's sky shopping mall and start shopping using Alipay payment system. Shareco is a technology company that is providing the service.
On Thursday, Hainan Airlines, Alipay, the online payment platform of Chinese e-commerce company, and Shareco jointly announced the launch of the on-air mobile payment service.
According to Alipay's rules, any transaction made through a new network or through new equipment requires a message authentication code. However, since sending or receiving a text message in the air is impossible, this has been a major bottleneck for companies looking to target air passengers. Besides, as China's civil aviation rules prohibit use of mobile phones during the flight scanning is also not a solution.
To overcome all these challenges, Alipay in collaboration with Shareco's technical department has introduced a type of safety control system that does not violate any existing laws and regulations and simultaneously makes online payment as easy as possible. All that passengers have to do is remember their Alipay account name and payment password.
"Mobile real-time payment landing in the air has broadened the payment channels. It will help us provide better cabin service and happier cabin experience,"said Brooks Pan, CEO of Shareco.
Currently, Hainan Airlines has launched the service on 15 flights and there are plans to extend it to other carriers too. The airline said more than 60,000 passengers each week can benefit from the service.