• Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook (Photo : Reuters)

Apple and JetBlue have partnered to bring Apple Pay to airline passengers for the first time. Select JetBlue Airway flights will be offering the service starting next week.

JetBlue will roll out Apple Pay with transcontinental flights from JFK to San Francisco and vice versa as well as from JFK to Los Angeles and vice versa. More flights will start accepting Apple Pay in March, and by June, all JetBlue flights should be accepting it.

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Edward C. Baig of USA Today experienced firsthand how Apple Pay works during an exclusive pre-launch demonstration. Baig observes that the process works in much the same way as it does when using Apply Pay to buy stuff in stores.

Baig used his iPhone to buy a salad. The transaction registered almost immediately on the iPad Mini that was being held up by a flight attendant.

No paper receipt will be issued, but one will be emailed to the buyer. JetBlue says Wi-Fi is not needed to use Apple Pay at 35,000 feet.

The iPad Minis that the JetBlue crew will be using have been specially outfitted with NFC-capable cases. These iPads have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for use onboard.

Using Apple Pay to make purchases, like food, drink and other onboard amenities, promises to be an easier experience, according to Baig. Thomas Ricker of The Verge agrees, saying the new service will be convenient for airline passengers.

JetBlue will be accepting Apple Pay payments made via smartwatches in the near future, too, starting with the Apple Watch that will come out in April. "The sky is definitely not the limit when it comes to mobile payments with Apple Pay," says Marty St. George, a senior vice president at JetBlue.

Other than Apple, JetBlue is also looking forward to partnering with other providers. Google Wallet or other mobile payments system will be accepted by the airline "down the road," says Rachel McCarthy, JetBlue's vice president for inflight experience.

But for Apple, its partnership with JetBlue is just the start. Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president for Internet software and services, believes more airlines will follow suit.