Bought Something with an In-Flight Automated System (161/366)

“The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple.”
~ Freeman Dyson


I love Virgin America.  New planes, nice people, and awesome technology.  I love being able to look at the food and drink choices available during the flight on the screen right in front of you instead of having to flip through a germy old in-flight magazine that’s been touched by countless other passengers, and that really can’t be cleaned.

Today, I got to use Virgin America’s awesome technology for something I’d never done before.  I’ve flown on Virgin America several times and enjoyed their in-flight system for simply looking at the options available on other flights, and a while ago, I got to use their in-flight automated system to pick out stuff I wanted during our flights to and from Mexico.  But since my awesome friend (and the best travel planner in the Universe) Maddie had gotten us “Priority” seating, we didn’t have to pay for anything.  This time, I actually got to use the in-flight system to purchase something.

Ah, those were the days, when most things were included in flights – headphones, a meal, a few complimentary beverages.  Now almost no one serves a meal, a lot of airlines charge for headphones (there are some that try to charge you even if you use your OWN headphones!), and I heard there’s even an airline that’s thinking of charging for CARRY-ON items!

Anyway, alcoholic beverages, as long as I’ve been flying (and legal) have always been an extra charge (unless you’re flying out of the country or in business/first class), so I’ve been used to that.  The flight attendants used to accept cash (any alcoholic beverage was $5), but then they started moving to credit only, which makes it easier and faster, so it makes sense.  On Hawaiian Airlines, you order your grown-up beverage when the beverage carts come around, and the attendants carry a little machine that they swipe your card with, and it prints a receipt.  Cool.

On Virgin though, they let you pre-order your drinks, and prepay with your credit card!  Awesome!  No fumbling with the card, holding onto it until the cart comes around, or worrying that they’ll have run out of what you wanted by the time they get to you. This simple addition of an ordering system also helps the attendants since they don’t have to carry around the credit card machine or take separate orders as they’re trying to get everyone their normal drinks.  Once they announce that service will be available shortly, you can order what you’d like, and they’ll bring you your order shortly.  I of course, ordered bubbles.  One for me, and one for Mom.

Okay cool, so I’d done that part before, I’d chosen items.  But now I had to pay for them.  Cool!  You can swipe your card either on the bottom of the little flip-out screen, or on your hand-held controller thingie.

After I swiped my card, I got the option to get the receipt for my purchase emailed to me.  How cool is that?  No waste of paper!
Using the handheld controller’s keyboard was a little tedious, but that was okay.  It was still neat.

Yay!  I got to pre-order my drink, and just sit back and enjoy the flight.  I didn’t have to mess with change, I didn’t have to keep my card out for the attendant, and I didn’t have to fumble with signing or keeping any paper receipt.  Technology rules.  Cheers!

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