Visa has joined the mobile payment fray. The company has today announced that it is enabling its clients to make payments through the M-Pesa system. Clients of Virgin Atlantic would now be able to make payments for tickets, change in reservation fees and upgrades at the same time check for their flight details with the new “tweet bot” a Twitter service.

The new Mpesa service allows the transfer of up to KES 140,000 from one phone number per day and will be available to people in Kenya and other countries (like South Africa and Tanzania) where Mpesa is available.

David Rose, Virgin Atlantic Country Manager for Kenya said, “With the launch of the Mpesa and Twitter services, we are determined in ensuring that customers pay for their air tickets conveniently and efficiently via their mobile phones and also get first hand information on their flight details as a quick, single line tweet will generate an immediate reply.”

Passengers will be required to use the Pay Bill option under Mpesa. The business number assigned to Virgin Atlantic is 672672 (this corresponds to the VS672 flight number that operates from Nairobi to London). Passengers will then be required to input their account number, which is the 6-digit booking reference that comes with every ticket.

Normal Mpesa rates will apply and the airline will not charge any other costs.  Notification and confirmation of payments will be received  once the transaction  has been processed.  Other payment options accepted by Virgin Atlantic are bankers’ cheques, bank transfers, cash payments, credit cards and debit cards.

How to use the airline’s new Twitter flight status checker:

  • Just tweet the flight number and departure date to the airline’s new Twitter account @VAAInfo. For example. @VAAInfo VS3 1411
  • For the majority of flights, passengers will immediately receive a tweet in return confirming the departure and arrival times. If, like Sydney flights, it’s a multi-leg journey, the tweet requests that travellers include the departure airport.
  • Passengers will then receive their flight status in true Virgin style. For example: @RogerFlysalot – Hello gorgeous! The @VirginAtlantic VS3/30Oct left London LHR at 10:50 & is expected in New York JFK at 13:51
  • Travellers can also check flights even when they are still up in the air, in which case you’ll get up-to-the-minute flight status

Virgin Atlantic passengers currently have the option of making their bookings online. They can select the “Book now, pay later” option  which allows 72 hours to make payment and means that  passengers are not required to give their credit card details at the time of making their bookings.