United Becomes First Airline to Introduce PayPal QR Codes as Inflight Payment Option

United Airlines, PayPal | October 08, 2021

United and PayPal today announced a new way to make touch-free inflight purchases, even in areas without Wi-Fi. Starting next month, United customers on select flights can simply show a flight attendant the PayPal QR Code in the PayPal app and use it to buy snacks, drinks and other inflight purchases while onboard.

United is the first airline to offer PayPal QR Codes, and this partnership is part of United's easy-to-use, industry-leading suite of contactless payment tools. United was the first airline to give customers in economy cabins the option to pre-order snacks and beverages from the airline's app and website, and also offers customers the ability to easily store payment information in a digital wallet.

PayPal QR Codes can be used on select flights departing from Chicago O' Hare International Airport in November and before the end of the year, will extend to all flights across the entire network where contactless payment is available.

"Our contactless payment offering is built on simplicity and choice and it's another way we're improving the overall experience of flying United, PayPal is a terrific partner and this technology gives our customers another easy way to make purchases, even when they're not online. We expect to introduce even more new and innovative options for our customers in the future through our collaboration with PayPal."

said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United.

How It Works
  • If you haven't already, download the PayPal app and set your preferred payment method for QR code payments, prior to leaving the gate
  • To make an inflight purchase, Click the 'Pay with QR codes' button
  • Then click the 'In-flight Purchase' button
  • Show the QR code to the flight attendant to scan
  • Look for an emailed confirmation receipt upon landing
  • "We're excited to be partnering with United to introduce our new offline QR code functionality, adding more ways for customers to check out with PayPal in more places, especially in offline or low connectivity areas," said Frank Keller, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Segment Solutions and Digital Commerce at PayPal. "Bringing PayPal QR Codes inflight reinforces our commitment to offering customers choice and provides a new level of touch-free convenience for consumers when making in-flight purchases, within the PayPal app they know and trust."

United's New Buy-On-Board Menu

Customers can pay using PayPal QR Codes to enjoy one of many new food and beverage offerings United launched this year. In June, United unveiled its refreshed buy-on-board menu, which includes:
  • Three New Snack Boxes: A Tapas snack box with European-inspired offerings; a Takeoff snack box with high-protein options; a Recline snack box with movie theater themed treats.
  • New A la Carte Snack Options: Including sweet potato "tortilla" chips with roasted pepper salsa, trail mix and chocolate-covered dried fruit.
  • New Adult Beverage Options: Mango White Claw®; red, white and sparkling wine, and new beer options such as Breckenridge Brewery Juice Drop Hazy IPA and Michelob ULTRA®.
  • New Fresh Options: Last month, United also added five new fresh retail offerings to its buy-on-board menu including:

New Domestic Premium Cabin Menu Items

United also introduced brand-new meal offerings to customers seated in domestic premium cabins on flights over 1,500 miles and hub-to-hub flights over 800 miles.

The enhanced meal service includes a choice of entrees – including fresher options like egg scramble with plant-based chorizo and grilled chicken breast with orzo and lemon basil pesto – sides and dessert.
United has also teamed with Eli's Cheesecake to create a uniquely United chocolate pie flavor called "Pie in the Sky."
The meals will be served on one tray, with items individually wrapped, to limit person-to-person contact and further the safety of our employees and customers.
For information on food and beverage options available, United's contactless payment technology and FAQs, visit

United Next

United is more focused than ever on its commitment to customers and employees. In addition to today's announcement, United has recently:
  • Launched an ambitious plan to transform the United customer experience by adding and upgrading hundreds of aircraft as well as investing in features like larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry's fastest available Wi-Fi.
  • Announced a goal to create 25,000 unionized jobs by 2026 that includes careers as pilots, flight attendants, agents, technicians, and dispatchers.
  • Announced that United will train at least 5,000 pilots by 2030 through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of color.
  • Required all U.S. employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Became the first airline to offer customers the ability to check their destination's travel requirements, schedule COVID-19 tests and more on its mobile app and website.
  • Invested in emerging technologies that are designed to decarbonize air travel, like an agreement to work with urban air mobility company Archer, an investment in aircraft startup Heart Aerospace and a purchase agreement with Boom Supersonic.
  • Committed to going 100% green by 2050 by reducing 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, including a recent agreement to purchase one and a half times the amount of all of the rest of the world's airlines' publicly announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel commitments combined.
  • Eliminated change fees for all economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.

About United
United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United has the most comprehensive route network among North American carriers, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.  For more about how to join the United team, please visit and more information about the company is at United Airlines Holdings, Inc. is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

About PayPal
PayPal has remained at the forefront of the digital payment revolution for more than 20 years. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable, and secure, the PayPal platform is empowering more than 400 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy.


Humor me for a minute. If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? I’d argue that this same logic can be applied to modern day travel. No matter how sacrosanct your personal week in paradise is, no travel experience is complete without a feed full of photographic evidence.


Humor me for a minute. If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? I’d argue that this same logic can be applied to modern day travel. No matter how sacrosanct your personal week in paradise is, no travel experience is complete without a feed full of photographic evidence.

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