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Virgin America ups stake in mcommerce with Visa Checkout integration

Virgin America is the first United States airline to integrate with Visa Checkout, a platform which does not require consumers to enter in credit card information while completing a purchase online or on a mobile device, proving that the airline industry continues to move quickly into the mcommerce sector.

Customers wanting to pay for Virgin America flights, meals or services can now simply tap the Visa Checkout button to complete a purchase, making the process as streamlined as swiping a credit card. The airline brand is celebrating by offering a promotion of a $25 discount on a future flight for all consumers that use Visa Checkout on the Virgin America Web site through Mar. 15.

“Virgin America is a brand we feel a kinship with,” said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa, Foster City, CA. “It cares about the in-flight experience and building loyalty and affinity.”

Virgin America has always strived to be a technology-forward airline, and its fully responsive Web site is one of many mobile-optimized assets. Visa Checkout will be available for guests to use when completing a purchase on any digital platform and mobile device.

Mr. Curtin pointed out that the feature will be useful for one-handed use, as many airport visitors frequently walk around with one hand holding their luggage and the other holding a smartphone.

“There is a need for speed, a need for elegance and simplicity,” Mr. Curtin said.

Customers are also likely to appreciate the $25 off a future flight when using Visa Checkout online through Mar. 15, as incentives are always an optimal strategy to employ when introducing a new feature to guests.

Virgin America also underwent a Web site redesign to ensure that consumers have the same experience regardless of device.

Visa integration
Consumers may use Visa Checkout with any major credit or debit card, including the Virgin America Premium Visa Signature Card and the airline’s Visa Signature Credit Card. After a consumer has enrolled in the service, he or she may input a username and password to finish the payment process, which will not ask the guest to leave the airline’s site.

Once users have signed up, they will not have to re-enter information for future purchases and can instead click the Visa Checkout button for a one-step process.

The service aims to streamline consumers’ experiences on mobile and on tablet devices so that they may allot more time to planning their vacations and trips.

More airlines are turning to mobile payment solutions as consumers demand simpler ways of paying on-board that do not include rummaging around tight quarters for wallets and purses. JetBlue Airways recently integrated with Apple Pay, allowing travelers to tap and pay with their smartphones when purchasing snacks and beverages during flights (see story).

Other airlines are sure to follow this year, as the mobile payments sector continues to gain traction with brands and consumers alike.

“It’s better to do it with a company like Visa than to do it alone,” Mr. Curtin said. “We don’t succeed unless a merchant succeeds.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York