The headlines yesterday focused on the Amazon and JetBlue deal to bring Prime Instant Video to (some) JetBlue flights later this year, but the real story was hidden in the seventh paragraph of the press release.
It was mentioned almost as an afterthought:
All JetBlue customers will be able to purchase and download songs from the Amazon Music store, eBooks from the Kindle store, and apps and games from the Amazon Appstore and earn TrueBlue points when they shop specific categories on Amazon over the free Fly-Fi broadband internet while inflight or through JetBlue promotions.
Prime Video is awesome, and if I ever fly JetBlue I will definitely stream a tv show or two, but that is not that much of a story - not compared to Amazon having a chance to sell you stuff. That is the real story.
Amazon's deal with JetBlue is their chance to make a bid for the slice of time when you're trapped in your airplane seat. They are moving in to competition with the catalogs and magazines you might find in the seat back pockets, and that is worth a lot of money.
Remember the late and wonderful Skymall? Amazon might not be able to offer you a catalog of quirky products, but they can do one better. Rather than make you wait to buy an item later, thanks to Amazon's deal with JetBlue you can immediately download the ebook, app, or song you purchased (but not videos, for obvious reasons).
I'm betting this deal will also extend to shopping on Amazon for physical goods, but either way Amazon has set up shop at 35,000 feet.
What's more, I would bet that this is just the first deal. You can expect more deals like this in the future as airlines upgrade their fleets with broadband internet connectivity.
image by BriYYZ