KLM is claiming a first with its announcement of being the first airline outside of China to accept payments for tickets and ancillaries using WeChat Pay.
Passengers can select WeChat Pay whether booking on WeChat or on KLM.com.
WeChat is the top social media platform in mainland China with over 963 million monthly active users, with 600 million of those users having activated WeChat Pay.
WeChat Pay has broad acceptance in China, accounting for 40% of all mobile transactions and is available to for all users with a Chinese bank account.
The integrated payment feature lets users pay quickly using their smartphones without having to leave the WeChat platform on mobile and has also been integrated into the KLM.com website for passengers booking via desktop.
When customers select WeChat as the preferred payment method, a QR code will appear on screen which users can scan to process the mobile payment on WeChat Pay.
Pieter Elbers, president & CEO KLM says:
“The WeChat Pay option is a perfect next step in KLM’s social media strategy. We believe we should be where our customers are. In China we have to be on WeChat. China has developed into an incredibly important market for KLM.
"By offering WeChat Pay, KLM has made it possible to book a ticket and pay for it via WeChat, subsequently receiving flight info and ask questions 24/7 all on the same platform.
"The WeChat Pay feature gives us valuable insights for implementing payment options into other worldwide social platforms in the future as well. By taking this next step, we continue to be an aviation pioneer.’’
KLM first launched on WeChat in 2014, offering customer service, brand content and commercial offers. In May of this year, KLM extended the services available in WeChat to include booking details, check-in notifications, boarding passes and flight status updates.
The airline reports that 25% of its Chinese customers are booking online and receiving flight information via WeChat. KLM processes over 8000 service questions a week through the platform, primarily in Simplified Chinese.
Finnair announced it had introduce Alipay onboard in January and says the initiative has more than doubled inflight retail sales on Chinese flights.