I'm on a Airbus A320 anyone have any idea what the black part on the back of the passager seat is used for?

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    $\begingroup$ I’m not entirely certain and don’t have time to write a complete answer but I suspect that it may be a card reader for in-flight purchases. $\endgroup$
    – dalearn
    Dec 25, 2019 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


That’s a credit card reader so a passenger can purchase either premium food products or spirits or inflight entertainment items.

  • $\begingroup$ In an A320? Wow. I wouldn't expect such a thing in an aircraft that isn't usually used for long-haul connections. If I didn't know that Ryanair only uses B737's I'd bet this was another "invention" of Mr. O'Leary. $\endgroup$
    – PerlDuck
    Dec 25, 2019 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, it looks to be a bog standard magstripe reader, no different than the ones that are commonly used for magstripe access cards, library cards, etc on terra firma $\endgroup$ Dec 25, 2019 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ Virgin America used to have a similar system (the card reader is harder to see, at the bottom), but Alaska removed it when they bought the airline. Remember that A320 flights can be up to ~7 hours long, so there's demand for entertainment options, though airlines are largely moving to streaming to customer-provided devices now. $\endgroup$ Dec 25, 2019 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ The card reader looks pretty useless if no display is installed. $\endgroup$
    – bogl
    Dec 28, 2019 at 17:31

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