United Airlines announced Wednesday that it will distribute Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s new 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus to over 23,000 of its flight attendants in the second half of 2015. It will allow them to handle onboard retail transactions and access their company email. Flight attendants will have access to safety and service information with the iPhone 6 Plus.
iPhone 6 Plus to help attendants offer more flyer-friendly services
Notably, United Airlines was one of the first to equip pilots in the cockpit with iPads in 2011. Earlier this year, it renewed that plan to give pilots the iPad Air 2. United’s SVP for inflight services, Sam Risoli, said that the iPhone 6 Plus will enable attendants to provide “even higher level of flyer-friendly services.” It will also give attendants a simple, one-touch access to work information.
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In the beginning, flight attendants will be able to handle onboard retail transactions. They will also be able to access the company’s email, Intranet and policies and procedures manuals. United will further expand the use of the iPhone 6 Plus deployment over time. It will replace the printed safety manual with an electronic one. In the future, the phablet will also be used to provide real-time reporting and improved follow-up on cabin issues.
A big win for Apple
According to Apple Insider, United has also updated its official iOS app to extend support to customers. United is not the first airline to deploy smartphones to its flight attendants. Last year, Delta gave its attendants Nokia smartphones. Anyway, it’s a big win for Apple, which has been pushing further in the enterprise sector. The Cupertino company wants to sell more devices to big companies. Earlier this year, it signed a deal with IBM to develop iOS apps for businesses.
The iPhone 6 Plus supply is constrained, and Apple has said that demand will continue to exceed supply for the next few months. However, the tech giant is expected to reach a supply-demand balance by mid-2015, so that companies like United can deploy devices.
Apple shares inched up 0.21% to $112.19 in pre-market trading Thursday.