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Amazon takes online shopping to the skies

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In-flight shopping took on a new meaning this week, when a US airline launched online retail through its wi-fi service.

Travellers flying with Delta Air Lines in the US will now be able to shop with Amazon.com and with its mobile phone site Amazonwireless.com while they are in the air. They access both sites from their personal devices via Amazon banners from the Delta wi-fi page.

The move is part of a $2bn (£1.3bn) investment in improving services and facilities on board Delta planes that also includes flat-bed seats and personal in-seat entertainment.

“Delta continues to offer new technology and innovation that delivers on our customer preferences while they travel with us,” said Delta vice president for marketing and digital commerce Bob Kupbens. “Our customers enjoy our free content options in-flight and free access to Amazon provides a convenient way to shop online at 30,000 feet for things they want on the ground.”

Our view: This move seems to do away with a hitherto online shopping-free zone. We have no doubt that revenues from those who are flying will be handsome, and that other airlines and retailers will also see the opportunity. Our only question is – how soon will this type of service be standard on other airlines, in Europe as well as the US?

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