Device will serve several purposes
United Airlines has signed a deal with Apple that will see it equip over 23,000 flight attendants with the iPhone 6 Plus in 2015, according to an announcement. The phones will initially let attendants process onboard credit-card transactions, as well as access United email, the airline's intranet, and internal safety, service, and policy information. Distribution of the phones is expected to begin in the second quarter.
iPads will let people track flights, shop, browse web
United Airlines is spending $120 million on upgrading Terminal C at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport, particularly with iPads for travelers, according to Bloomberg. The terminal is United's main residence at the airport; by 2015, all restaurants and gate seats there will be equipped with an iPad for purposes such as flight tracking, web browsing, and buying food and retail goods. People shopping for goods are even being promised a 15-minute delivery window.
Hyatt, United, Starbucks, Tripadvisor among early partners
Uber has released an anticipated API that will let third-party developers integrate its ridesharing services into their own apps. The company says it is already working with 11 high-profile partners, including Starbucks, United, OpenTable, TimeOut, Tempo, Hinge, Tripadvisor, Tripcase, Hyatt, Mememo, and Expensify. Apps based on the API will be able to show available rides and/or price and time estimates, and make use of a person's trip history.
Airline CFO to be Apple VP of sales
Apple confirmed late Monday to AllThingsD that it had obtained a key executive from United Continental. The airline's CFO, Zane Rowe, had left to become a sales VP at Apple. Company representative Steve Dowling was short on details, but pointed to what it saw as a good track record with Rowe.
United and Continental choose Panasonic for Wi-Fi
United and Continental Airlines have announced that they will have Wi-Fi access on all their main flights by 2015. The companies have chosen Panasonic Avionics to install the Wi-Fi systems on over 300 of their aircraft. The companies chose the Panasonic system because it offers Ku-band satellite technology that delivers faster air to ground speeds and wireless streaming of video content.
United swaps pilot manuals, charts for iPads
United Airlines and its soon-to-be-joined partner Continental staked out a first for flight by making itself the first major carrier in the US to completely drop paper among its 11,000 pilots by using the iPad. Along with shedding paper flight manuals, it's now the first of its size to replace its charts with the Apple tablet as well. Each iPad will carry Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck (free, App Store) to provide worldwide maps in context.
United gets audio from Microsoft's Zune service
United today landed an unusual collaboration with Microsoft for its in-flight entertainment system. Passenger planes will have music curated from the Zune Marketplace and should expand well past the general categories for audio that were previously in the cabin. Electronic and dance, opera, soundtracks and such subgenres as piano jazz will come through seats.
Amtrak to launch free Wi-Fi in some trains
Commuter train operator Amtrak on Thursday said it will begin offering free Wi-Fi service, at least initially, on its Acela trains that carry passengers between Boston, New York and Washington. The move is the latest in the company's bid to entice business travelers to take the train rather than fly. The service will launch in March.