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Credit only for food and drink items while flying...

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(not sure where else to put this)

Am mostly affected by this due to Air Canada's recent changes to move to a fully cashless cabin, but wondering what others thoughts are on it. I find it incredibly inconvenient, as the only time I really use a credit card is for business, otherwise lately I've used either cash, debit, or Visa gift cards (which incidentally are accepted just about everywhere else....except Air Canada).

Besides which, I wouldn't really care to use a credit card to purchase a $6 glass of wine or a $3 can of Pringles....i'm talking shorter haul flights or off timed, so that they don't serve meals

I think this is a very limiting move on an airline's part.

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  1. Most of the airlines seem to have gone with this policy. I agree that it is annoying to put a small charge on a credit card. If your debit card has a Visa or Mastercard logo, you can use that as they put it through as credit but the charge is actually taken out of the account that is linked to your debit card. I think it easier for the flight crew not to have to have to make change.

    I usually buy something in the terminal ahead of time and can skip purchasing anything on the plane.

    6 Replies
    1. re: baseballfan

      I have a regular old debit card. Given that Visa gift cards advertise as being accepted at all locations that accept Visa....I would have assumed that these would also be ok in the air, but no.

      I sometimes purchase food in the terminal as well..... but you can't purchase a glass of wine in the terminal and take it on board with you (and I'm a nervous flyer...that helps)

      1. re: im_nomad

        I'm with you on the wine. I often feel the need as well. Luckily I fly Southwest quite a bit and since my husband flies a lot for business, I often have free drink coupons. That solves the problem easily but unfortunately only works for one airline.

        1. re: baseballfan

          Speaking of SW, my husband tells me that he often sees their drink coupons on sale on ebay (maybe by people who don't drink on planes?). Anyway, that might be one solution for those who don't want to use the credit card on the plane....you could use a debit card on ebay, no?

          1. re: janetofreno

            Selling airline drink coupons on ebay? Amazing. Certainly knocks the flea market hustlers out of last place.

            1. re: Veggo

              Selling FREE airline drink coupons, no less. Oy frickin' vey.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Since SW has honored my very old ones, I cannot imagine there is much of a market, but then business is not my major. I still have some from when they only had about 4 cities in the route, and the airports were ones that cities were looking to close down. I have gotten to where I do not even download the tickets, when we are boarding, 'cause we have so very many. Also, I have NEVER really liked the wines on SW, so maybe it's a personal thing.

                Hunt

    2. Very few, maybe 1 or 2 domestic airlines in the U.S., actually still accept cash in coach section for food/drinks. It's credit card or "no food for you".

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        and no money for the airline ;)

      2. Probably not as limiting as all the cash that was kept by the flight attendants.

        1. I've noticed that most people never carry exact change so, it's a pain for the flight attendants to go up and down the aisle asking for someone to break a $20. Then the passenger gets huffy because they can't find someone. I prefer a simple swipe, I get my beer, and we're done.

          I could swear they could take anything with a Visa/MC logo, but then again I've never flown Air Canada.

          1 Reply
          1. re: funniduck

            I thought this as well, and as I'd already had some of these cards with me on board and assuming as much, I had recently flown and ordered a glass of wine, received it, and then had to give it back because all i had was a logo card. Embarrassing !!

          2. I'm actually surprised the airlines are doing this, as the various fees for credit card use could negate the worth of using a card. They could have gateway access fees, address verification fees, a flat fee they pay for every transaction, etc. On a $6.00 charge, how much could they actually be getting?

            3 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              People tend to buy more using credit than with cash. On a cross-country flight, you have a captive audience for 6 hours, or more.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                That could be an issue. Perhaps I am more fortunate, than I had realized, with my upgrades on UAL? Maybe I had better read more of this thread, as we might not make our current level with UAL for 2011? Still, having a nice Champagne, pre-flight is a nice touch. I have gigged UAL for some of the recent wine choices, though from a Master Sommelier, as they are just bland, and have no "spirit," whatsoever. If I don't make 1K, then I might find that the choices are rather bleak, after all. Until then, this has not been something that has had any effect - to date.

                Hunt

              2. re: LindaWhit

                I think high-volume sellers are charged pretty low fees to begin with, but I'd guess they'd come out way ahead even if they are charged relatively high ones since the cost of maintaining, accounting for, and securing all that cash across a wide-flung network must be quite high itself. It seems to me that not accepting debit cards, as Air Canada seems not to do, could noticeably dig into their sales, but I don't know what US airlines are doing about that.

              3. When flying, I use my AMEX in the Red Carpet Club (United Airlines), and seldom in the air, as we normally are in BC, or FC, and all drinks are free.

                I think that some of our airlines have gone "cashless," but have not encountered this personally. If the flight is less than 3 hours, we are in the forward cabins, and if less, there is only about time for a glass of sparkling water. Has not hit "home" for me yet.

                Sorry,

                Hunt

                18 Replies
                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  You must be fortunate enough not to be stuck with Delta, Bill. We flew to Vegas from Detroit in July (BTW, not the best time to go to Vegas!) and it was credit card only.

                  Never thought I'd miss Northworst...

                  1. re: coney with everything

                    Interesting that you mention LV in July. Not THAT long ago, I went with my young wife for some meetings. When I made tee-times, I was told an unbelievable price. When I questioned, I was told that in LV, they did not discount the Summer, even if the temps were 115F+. Now, I get "specials" at 1/4 the price, even in the Autumn. Amazing how things change. Not that long ago, the prices were well above Pebble Beach, and now they are courting me. Go figure.

                    As for Delta, we used to fly them, when in NOLA, but it has been years. Sorry that they are not now, the airlines that they once were, but then which one still is. Unfortunately for UAL, I go way, way back, and recall the glory days. Of course, I also remember Eastern Airlines, when Frank Borman was the CEO. One day, he showed up at my door, with my wife's lost luggage in tow. We drank some coffee, and he talked about the shape of the airline industry at that time. Back in those days, the "baked chicken" on Eastern was very, very good. On one flight from PHI to MSY, I was in FC and asked for that chicken, in lieu of my filet. It was that good.

                    Sorry that Delta has gone down, and that LV was not the best. I hope that you did have a credit card handy.

                    Hunt

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      DH did get his beer on the flight, Bill!

                      I always wondered how they dealt with cash on the plane...they had to run out of change frequently, I'd think. I don't have a problem with the credit card for booze policy, it's just Delta in general. They pretty much have the Detroit market monopolized as it's a hub and they have you by the shorts.

                      LV was fine for what it was...we went for a wedding and for a girls weekend with my sisters. It was just bloody f'ing HOT.

                      And my DH had planned on golfing but he was quoted those ridiculously high greens fees...so no LV golf for him.

                      1. re: coney with everything

                        Interesting topic, as I was just on UAL from SFO to PHX, and the flight attendants mentioned that my UAL VISA would get me triple EQM's, if I bought wine (did not get upgraded to FC... ), and I considered that, but as the choice was pretty bleak and we'd been drinking in the Red Carpet Club (they added "premium wines" at my behest), I chose to ignore that. Besides, 21 EQM's does not get me to 1K.

                        As for LV greens fees, they have changed their tune. Going back, I was there in July, and the top courses were well above Pebble Beach. I asked about that, and the response was "hey, we can get US$500 per round, so we do." At that time, PHX was asking US$50 for major, major courses - it was very hot.

                        Now, I get e-mails hourly from tons of higher-end LV courses, offering me all sorts of "deals." One even offered a free room, if I took advantage of their US$125 greens fee for a twosome. That same course wanted US$500, when it was 115F, and did not even blush. Times change.

                        Enjoy,

                        Hunt

                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                        Then you might remember the Continental DC10s. One flight from EWR to IAH jfood was in FC. There was actually a U-shaped bar that you could sit on bolted down stools. The when you reached 30K the rolled out a whole ship's beef and started carving right there on the plane.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I worked for QANTAS and got BC to HNL and FC back to SFO. I knew it was going to be a nice flight when they brought the cart down the aisle with iced vodka and caviar :) Oh, and we were on the upper deck of the 747 with only two other passengers. Did I mention I got to sit on the flight deck while we made our approach and landing at SF? Ah, didn't get paid a lot but the benefits were sure nice.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I got the BC upper deck of a 747 BOS->LHR once when there was only one other passenger there, and he slept the whole way across. The best part was the feeling of having a personal flight attendant and private bathroom, all to myself, for the crossing!

                            1. re: BobB

                              Though in an earlier ship, we had similar on an Eastern 707. I was in FC with one other person, and there were about 6 other fliers. Once we were airborne, we petitioned the stewardesses (the term then), to invite them all "up front." We had 8 passengers, and 8 flight attendants. Talk about great service! Back then, Eastern had a great baked chicken dish in economy, and their FC filet was not that great. I actually got the chicken that night. Actually, I do not think that I have had better baked chicken, even with Michelin stars after it.

                              It was rather strange, when I looked beyond the curtain at that empty economy cabin - I thought "The Twilight Zone."

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                OK the bar keeps getting higher.

                                Ever hear of Air One?

                                In 1983 jfood was flying from EWR to StLouis. The flight was on a DC9 operated by Air One that was in buiness for about three months. The inside was all leather 2x2 business class from Braniff with leather seats and china. On the way out there were 4 of us on a plane with 25 rows. Great service.

                                On the way home that evening jfood felt foolish. He was the ONLY paying passenger on the plane. There were 4 others on the flight sitting in the back row. It was the airlines Board who was flying back to NYC to raise more money. looks like the investors said no. but the lobster, steak and champagne are embedded in jfood's memory.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  Ah, the good old days! Alas, I haven't seen any major aircraft take off anywhere near that empty since shortly after 9/11.

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    I agree with you. I have to admit that I have had some "empty ship" experiences, that were good, now I want the airlines to be nearly full, and worry if the waiting area is not - I fear a cancellation.

                                    Now, there have been a few flights, where there were enough Global Services folk, who got my FC upgrades, but not that often. I'd rather my carriers fly full, so they are in business next week, for my next trip. Now, I'd rather not see the heartbreak, when a flight is horribly oversold. What gets me is that whenever I have time to kill, they are NEVER oversold, and when I have tight connections, they are offering the world!!!!! My timing is absolutely horrible.

                                    I also wish them great fortune at the profitability issue, as i like the little perks, when they are doing well. I miss my Molton-Brown.

                                    Hunt

                                  2. re: jfood

                                    Wow, and here I thought that I knew my commercial passenger aviation history (Frank Borman showed up at my door one Sunday morning), but you got me on Air One. I missed that one completely!

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      since you are an aviation nut in PHX, it was jfood who raised most of the money for america west in the 80s. remember that great mexican restaurant at sky harbor and he basically lived at the biltmore.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        Actually, going back a bit, there used to be some really good food, and not just by airport standards, at Sky Harbor. Much has changed fairly recently. There is a satellite of El Bravo (a local fav. of ours in N. PHX), but we have yet to try them.

                                        Let's just say that Doug Parker and C A Howlett appreciate your support! While UAL is our first choice, US Air (old America West) is #2, and that they are both Star Alliance carriers does not hurt. Glad that we are Premier Elite with UAL and Chairman's Club with US Airways. Makes life much easier.

                                        Hunt

                            2. re: jfood

                              JFood,

                              When Continental (the "proud bird with the golden tail") added those DC-10's, with the standup bar, I was hired to photograph the first flight from MSY to DEN. Then, the seats in FC were "captain's chairs" around circular tables, and the bar was just behind. Ah, those were the days! Missed the UAL 377 Stratocruisers, but did catch most of the following ships. Sometimes, it pays to be very old. Again, those were the days.

                              It was about 10 years later, before anyone even talked to me about "buying" a drink on an airline. I had no clue what they were talking about.

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                let's up the bar for great service in the air...jfk-lax on mgm grand. a couple of years on queen sized beds and lounge chairs.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  JFood,

                                  You got me there! I always wanted to do the MGM Grand, and had my AMEX points ready, but then they disappeared. I need to fly Singapore, or Cathay Pacific, as they get great marks.

                                  Hunt

                              2. re: jfood

                                When I flew the first UAL 747 BC to HNL from SFO, Trader Vic was at the piano in that little upstairs piano bar. Cannot recall who was at the keys on the inbound flight, but will never forget that first trip, FC, on a 747. I still like that area, though it's BC now, on 747-400's. It holds a fond place in my heart. I still remember the wonderment, when the flight attendant (stewardesses back then) led me upstairs to that piano bar. I had died, and gone to heaven.

                                Now, even with 777's, FC to HNL is a shadow of its former self, and is not to be confused with what once was. Not that many years ago, our 777 broke down, and UAL substituted a 747 from the Orient route. Though we were in FC, and got a real FC treatment, I still missed that piano bar. So glad that I got to experience it. Worth its weight in gold.

                                Hunt

                        2. Is this even legal? I thought that cash was "legal tender for all debts public and private." (Quotation marks to indicate that these are not my words, not to indicate an actual quotation because I have no clue what the wording actually is.) IOW, if you are selling anything, you MUST accept cash, but other forms of payment are optional. Maybe this is not the case because we are discussing AirCanada?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: evewitch

                            This was my sense as well. It's awfully discriminatory against people who don't have the means to get a credit card.

                            1. re: evewitch

                              Private businesses are allowed to restrict the forms of payment they will accept. Here is a FAQ from the US Treasury explaining the law:

                              http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq/...

                              1. re: kmcarr

                                Thanks for the link!

                              2. re: evewitch

                                Costco Fuel stations only take the Costco Amex credit card or Costco Cash cards. No cash.

                                1. re: Cathy

                                  Cathy,

                                  I believe that is only partially correct. I have three AMEX cards, and none issued by Costco. All three work fine for the Costco gasoline purchases. Obviously, I do have to have my Costco card also.

                                  This is the case with all Costco gasoline stations, that I have used in AZ.

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Cathy

                                    My Costco takes my Visa debit card without a problem.

                                2. Delta flyer here and they only take plastic.

                                  - jfood questions why people buy anything on a plane (alcohol the exception since not available pre-board) at all since almost everything is cheaper pre-boarding.
                                  - charging $2 for a bag on M&Ms and $3 for the can of Pringles jfood thinks thay have the service charge covered.
                                  - are the posters complaining about the card-only policy the same posters that complain about the cash-only restaurant policy? :-))
                                  - discriminatory? oh please.

                                  65 Replies
                                  1. re: jfood

                                    "- jfood questions why people buy anything on a plane (alcohol the exception since not available pre-board) at all since almost everything is cheaper pre-boarding."
                                    _______________________________________________________--

                                    As the saying goes, "Lack of preparation is preparing to fail."

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      I

                                      you'd appreciate this.

                                      On a flight this week from JFK - LAS jfood was upgraded. when the flight person brought lunch he saw a sandwich on a thick ciabatta roll. it contained processed turkey, a slab of cheap brie and slathered with mayo, and to add insult to fatness a bag of ruffles. then he noticed a nice deer something cookie decalring no transfats. is this what they thought was a balanced meal?

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        I have never understood why people feel like they have to eat during domestic flights.

                                        Sure, if I'm in first or business class, I get some grub, I might take a bite or two.

                                        But I've never understood the need for people to actually pack snacks or buy them before boarding (aside for medical reasons). I mean, c'mon, if you can't hold out for a couple of hours (or 6 hours max) without food, then you've got bigger worries than just whether an airline is accepting only CC or cash.

                                        But that's just me ...

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          I travel a fair amount, including coast to coast. Staying healthy is very important to me. I don't have specific "medical reasons," but going for 7 or 8 hours (the time of a coast to coast flight including check in and waiting on the tarmac) without some kind of nutrition can wreak havoc on my body and mind.

                                          Maybe for you, you can get by grabbing some quick junk food or candy or other crap or filling up later with a super-sized meal. This is not what everyone chooses and they don't have "worries" because they choose to eat regularly.

                                          So, yeah, it's just you.

                                          1. re: taos

                                            Eat before you board, and if you have to, eat after you debark from the plane?

                                            I travel a lot as well, maybe too much for my liking, but even if you are flying from NYC to LA, the total amount of time on the plane from gate to gate is about 7 hours (and shorter the other direction). Yes, that's a long time for some people to go without food, but certainly not something that requires an extraordinary effort.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              sometimes there is just not the time. leave the office, get to the airport, through security, grab something to eat, get to the gate and they are boarding.

                                              if jfood does not grab something for the flight, then he goes from lunch til 10Pm when he gets home and he does not want to eat that late either. so the sandwich on the plane is the only alternative.

                                              1. re: jfood

                                                And what if the plane is delayed on the tarmac for several hours? Having a liter of water and something to eat you've pre-purchased before boarding is a smart thing.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  This is the exact reason that I never board a plane without food or water. I travel frequently for business and 3 out the last 4 flights we had pushed back from the gate and taxied to a holding area. The longest wait was 1-1/2 hours but I always think of the 6-8 hour hold you read about. Yeah I'm not going to starve during a 3-4 hour flight but I would rather be prepared for the worst.

                                                  1. re: Squint

                                                    I travel frequently for business and 3 out the last 4 flights we had pushed back from the gate and taxied to a holding area.
                                                    ~~~~~~~~
                                                    But amazingly, according to the airline, you left ON TIME because you left the gate! LOL

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      LOL Linda!! So true! As long as it looks good on paper....

                                                      1. re: Squint

                                                        it is the on time arrivals that are measured.

                                                        airlines understand that certain airports and times have embedded delays, i.e. LGA at 8AM, and they build that into the schedule. it does not matter whether you push back at 800 or 815 if the flight time is 2 hours and the arrival time at the destination is 1040. as long as wheels up occurs at 830 you will still hit the arrival gate on time.

                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                        Now, out on the tarmac, I do hope that the airlines makes things "OK" for you. When we have had similar delays, the service begins and is continuous, and if we are out on the end of the runway, they keep the movies coming.

                                                        Good luck,

                                                        Hunt

                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                    Whenever I fly to the west coast, I have to change planes. Since I can't count on being on time to my connecting flight, I always bring food with me. From when I leave home til I get to the hotel in LA, it's about 10 hours with no delays, and that's just too long to go without food. Plus, who wants room service at 10 pm LA time, when it's 1 am my home time? I have no status anymore (I can't fly on a preferred carrier due to corporate rules, gotta take the cheapest, usually least convenient route), so I never get upgraded anymore. Bringing food is the only way for me. It's foolish to hope to buy food on the plane - I've heard all the excuses (catering has forgotten to put meals on, we have run out of everything for the back of the plane, etc etc). If you want to eat, bring your own food. For the record, I bring a sandwich, apple, and some kind of snack mix for nibbling, and usually one of those drink packets to flavor water if I choose.

                                                  3. re: ipsedixit

                                                    I never said it was an extraordinary effort to eat on an airplane. If I am traveling for a length of time and at a time of day that requires food, I bring my own food or plan to buy from the airline if it's not a flight that provides it.

                                                    What I resented was the your statement that people who can't fly cross country without eating have big issues. You've now added to the "issues" claim the notion that such eating requires "extraordinary effort."

                                                    Neither of these is true.

                                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                                  1. Everyone has different metabolisms. People respond differently to not eating for a number of hours. In fact a lot of people who could easily go 7 hours without food should eat anyway, since one's mood can often rise and drop with one's blood sugar. I prefer not to be trapped in a flying tin can with a bunch of half-starved grumps.

                                                  2. Traveling with small children. Food is king. In fact, you should thank your nearby parents for bringing food onboard for their children.

                                                  3. You assume that a domestic flight is the only leg of one's journey. I've found simply that getting through customs of late takes up any time I'd have to eat in an airport. Thus, yeah, I tend to eat on the second leg of those long-distance journeys, though to you it might look like I'm out for a leisurely three-hour trip.

                                                  These are all very, very normal situations, and ones that would allow one to not necessarily have worries big enough to prevent them to contemplate cash vs. credit.

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    I can go six hours without food, but also know that if I'm hungry and my blood sugar is low I get cranky, which is not a good state to be in when trying to describe my lost luggage at three in the morning after delayed flight.

                                                    I never go on a plane without a stash of food. Sure, I can go six hours without eating. But add an hour for boarding, and an hour to get off and get my luggage and that's eight hours. Throw in a few hour delay on the tarmac, or a late connection between flights which means dashing through the airport, or a late night transfer in a small airport when nothing is open, and you can have ten or twelve hours without food.

                                                    I also generally take domestic flights as the first or last leg of an international flight, which means my total travel time is often more than twenty four hours. For that last six hours, I'm not feeling my best, and not eating is only going to make things worse.

                                                    I haven't encountered the credit card only policy yet, although nothing that Air Canada can do to decrease their quality of service would surprise me at this point, based on previous experience.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      Ipsedixit, I wonder why you're so concerned about how others choose to eat or not eat when travelling. If there is any point at which one really knows little about what others have been through, it's then.

                                                      The domestic flight may be one that follows an international flight, or another domestic flight. Or a lengthy voyage to the airport that began well before dawn... The moment a person eats is just that, the moment a person eats, why so disturbed by that? As for buying snacks and being prepared? Oh, I can definitely say it's better to be prepared than not. Moreover, check in times, baggage claim, passport control (because again, those people on a domestic flight might not have started that way) add to that time in travel. Better to have snacks that you have selected than to find yourself (or your junior companion) hungry and with recourse only to rubbish.

                                                      And timing aside, there are people with different metabolisms, different nutritional needs, and different 'issues' (including needing to take medications on full stomachs').

                                                      But the real question is: why do you need all this to justify another person's choices? There are many ways in which one can concern oneself with the activities of a neighbour. This is just not one of them.

                                                      (As an aside: I completely understand some of what you say in that I have little need or desire to eat in short UK hops, or in my trip from UK to Belgium, where family and much better food awaits. But even so, I'll usually have an apple or some carrot sticks sometime in the 7 hours it takes, including trip to the airport, baggage drop/check in etc.... Of course, it's worth noting that on many of these trips, food and drink are free. At least, on those non-flybe, ryan air, flights. And that includes alcohol. Bless Europe for being so civilised.)

                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                        "Bless Europe for being so civilised."

                                                        LOL, Lizard. We're flying with Monarch in a day or so to Cyprus. Breakfast will be offered. It will be free. It will be vile. We'll buy something pre-boarding to eat instead.

                                                        BTW, we've just booked for a few days in Belgium & France - but we drive, then ferry from Dover. No worries about shite airline food.

                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                          Lizard,

                                                          I'm not so much concerned, as just curious.

                                                          I certainly don't begrudge anyone from eating on a plane, and as I said originally, I certainly understand that for medical reasons people have to eat at regular, short intervals. That's really not the point.

                                                          The original tenor of this thread was how the exclusive use of credit cards on planes might somehow be an inconvenience to passengers because they won't be able to purchase food (and drinks).

                                                          My only query was why this was such a big deal. If you don't have a credit card, don't eat, or eat before you board.

                                                          (As an aside, ever sit next to someone in coach who has harbored an egg burrito purchased before boarding in their purse or carry-on? Then 2 hours into the flight -- after it's been incubating nicely -- they unwrap it and unleash a torrent of nice eggy, sausage and tortilla odors for the entire cabin to enjoy? Not begruding anyone from doing this, but more than once I've had people complain. But gosh, what's the flight attendant supposed to do? Open up a window?? Yes, indeed bless the euros ...)

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            It's good to see the question stripped of some judgement. But to answer again: because sometimes there isn't the chance to eat before boarding. And for some, it is easier to eat when one knows one can sit and not be disturbed (as opposed to being on edge about flight announcements and gate changes).

                                                            That said, I wish there would be some courtesy about types of foods brought on board. The highly smelly/distracting aren't so nice at all: oranges, eggs, etc. and one wishes that in that regard, a general awareness of the olfactory assault was part of the consciousness of travellers. (Could put an end to perfume and aftershave abuse as well...)

                                                            But when it comes to charging for trolley offerings, I think there can be a complaint all the way around. It is annoying, if one wishes to have a glass of wine, that it is necessary to pay by credit (if one is on an American airline headed to the states or back). Sometimes, I wish I could use my dollars that way.

                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                              But, if one knows the policies, what is wrong with paying via credit card?

                                                              I try to spend my £'s, prior to departure, but if that does not work, then I just tuck them away, until next month and use my credit card.

                                                              As most airlines have stated policies on in-flight food, this should not come as a big surprise to most travelers.

                                                              Hunt

                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                There's nothing wrong with it. However, sometimes I would like to use up my dollars rather than deplete my home account. (Take note, I do not have cause to use dollars where I live!)

                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                  Now, I always keep my £'s, and others, as I feel that I should live to return. If I need to purge myself, then I tip the driver from Mayfair to LHR.

                                                                  I do feel your pain, as I have ¥ that were more valuable then, than they are now.

                                                                  Good luck,

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                    To be fair, it's not as if I wouldn't use the $$ again. I actually keep three separate wallets to accommodate the easy switches of currency for the travelling I do. But I suspect my budget is more restricted than yours since I would prefer not to have to dip into my living/rent fund if there's travel budget left over...

                                                                    But of course, there is the next time.

                                                                    (Moreover, I shouldn't really complain at all-- and wasn't even. I'm a frequent enough flyer that the airline gave me drink tokens. And as I mentioned above, Europe is civilised enough not to charge for alcoholic beverages on flights that do not charge for every last thing...)

                                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                                      I do agree about a difference in mind-set in Europe/UK, regarding alcohol. Most of our flights are direct, and not that often from country to country in the region, but the International FC lounges are much more accommodating, and once the wines were really noteworthy - and free. OTOH, in the US, the wines cost $, and with some campaigning, we've managed to get an upper-level of wines in the UAL RCC installations, both regular and International FC. I will gladly pay more for worthwhile wines, during my layovers. Now, I do miss things in the old UAL RCC at LHR, when the nice white Burgs flowed. I have been known to imbibe at 8:00AM 'cause it's "wine-thirty" somewhere.... [Grin]

                                                                      As for currency, I once got a big bunch of £'s, and then the exchange rate changed in a major way. That might have been the first time that any "investment" of mine ever paid. Well, over the decades, things have changed a bit, and my "investment" did not turn out to be THAT hot, but for me, just knowing that there one small moment in time, when I made out well was enough.

                                                                      We travel to Europe and the UK often enough, that nothing will ever go to waste - at least not for the next several years. I just stick the bills into my passport - ready for the next trip. Also, I use the £2 coins as a marker on the golf course, 'cause they are easy to spot, and rather large. It's those little £1 coins that mess me up, and please, do not give me any pence coins, as I will be too confused. The folk at the Tesco, just down from our flat, recognize us. When we go to check out, they hold out both hands, as they know we'll dump a bunch of money into them, and they will do the math, giving us the proper change. They may be hosing us badly, and laughing behind our backs, but we trust and like them.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        Actually, American just announced that henceforth, they will be offering free wine,beer, and cocktails in the (gasp!) domestic Admiral's Clubs! They will still charge for premium wines, though.

                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                          Interesting.

                                                                          Depending on the choices, I might still opt for paying for the premium. Especially for an old-guy, like me, life is too short to waste. But, it would depend on the choices. At the RCC's, I could have my wine for less, but opt to pay for the premium, and most of those have actually proved to be interesting. Since I campaigned for years for these, I now tell 'em "thanks," for giving us the option. At SFO, IAD, LAX, PHX and ORD, each bartender has said that the premium wines are selling well. It might seem that I was not alone.

                                                                          Now, I am only a minor flyer on AA, but should check this out. Not sure if I have any reciprocity, or any special "cards," that would get me in, but I will see. There is almost zero presence at PHX, but AA is big at many of my destination cities - if I can get in, I will report.

                                                                          Thanks for the tip,

                                                                          Hunt

                                                            2. re: ipsedixit

                                                              Yes, it's unfortunate when people choose to bring food on planes that isn't ideal for consuming in confined spaces. But then people do lots of things on planes that make the flight less than pleasant: they present themselves with offensive body odor, too much perfume or cologne, an over-sized body, a screaming child, carry on luggage fit for a yearlong safari, headphones that you can hear blasting straight through the headphones etc.

                                                              None of this has anything to do with the fact that a lot of human beings, for a variety of reasons, find they function better if they can add nutrition to their bodies ever six hours or so.

                                                              1. re: taos

                                                                "None of this has anything to do with the fact that a lot of human beings, for a variety of reasons, find they function better if they can add nutrition to their bodies ever six hours or so."
                                                                ____________________________________________

                                                                This is true.

                                                                But for me at least, when I eat I do so not only to feed my body the necessary nutrients, but I also place some importance in enjoying my eating experience.

                                                                As you so rightly note, the atmo on an airplane cabin, esp. in the coach section, is hardly conducive to a good eating environment. It's cramped, sometimes very malodorous, and very often just umcomfortable.

                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                It's not really about inconvenience though and not being able to do without food. Flying, for me at least, is not the most pleasant of experiences, but something I tolerate in order to get places. The things that make it more bearable for me are watching movies, having a drink, and on occasion having a snack that I don't often have at home i.e. an overpriced can of Pringles. And to be honest, if airlines offered a $$$ cheese and wine selection in economy, I'd much prefer that and would go for it....if I could pay...

                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                  Why can't you reimburse your business credit card from your personal account?

                                                                  1. re: Cathy

                                                                    ...because I'm not authorized to use it for anything else but for business purposes...it's not my own business, it's a card that was issued to me by my employer.

                                                                    1. re: im_nomad

                                                                      Well. Liquor stores sell the small "nip" bottles of just about every liquor they sell in large bottles. 50 mL (1.7 ounces), so can fit in the one gallon bag at airport security.

                                                                      I would just buy a dozen or so of those and store with my travel bag stuff.

                                                                      I do buy those smaller bottles if I want to try something new before buying a large bottle or if I only need a few teaspoons for a recipe. Not even close to $6.

                                                                      1. re: Cathy

                                                                        the airline rules say you can only drink their alcoholic stash. Not that I'd turn anybody in for bringing their own for medicinal purposes.

                                                                        1. re: Cathy

                                                                          ACtually it's one QUART bags. And, yes, DGresh, I have sometimes needed some medicine late at night.

                                                                          1. re: Cathy

                                                                            even if you smuggle alcohol onto the plane, you still have the liquids limitation - the bottles must fit into a quart size bag.

                                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                              There is no rule against bringing alcohol onto planes so it's not smuggling. And those little bottles of medicine fit in a quart bag quite easily, along with toothpaste, etc.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                C Oliver,

                                                                                Check this reg. out carefully. There are usually limitations on anything alcoholic brought onto a plane. Might differ country to country, or airline to airline, but do check this out carefully.

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                  Here's the TSA reg:

                                                                                  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrave...

                                                                                  As long as the volume is under 3oz. per container, one is fine. What is not alright is to consume it on the airplane. But not problem carrying it on.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    Thank you for that. Only time that I have done any carry-on alcohol has been from Duty Free, and then not THAT often. Now, I have been handed many bottles of "carry-off" wines, and Champagnes, but that was because the cabin crew and I had so much fun. Unfortunately, I have had to decline too many times, as we had connecting flights, and I felt that I would be in trouble. Still, I was extremely gracious in declining. Who knows, next time I might NOT have a connecting flight.

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                      2. re: im_nomad

                                                                        Just flew Delta to and from Panama last week. They offer a cheese and fruit plate for $6. I didn't order it, so I can't speak to the quality, but it was available.

                                                                        1. re: Antithesisofpop

                                                                          I have had those airline cheese plates more than once out of necessity. The cheese is supermarket quality and you might get a few grapes and dried apricots, and some packaged crackers.

                                                                          Better than some of the other offerings, but not delicious.

                                                                          I always bring a few energy bars (of a kind that I enjoy) and make sure I buy a bottle of water before boarding.

                                                                          With all of the variables in travel you can never know just how long it will be, best to be prepared.

                                                                          1. re: pamf

                                                                            Sounds like the "cheese plate" is about the level of that in the RCC. I cannot understand why anyone would choose a pepper cheese, to pair with any wines. Must be the same demented sommelier.

                                                                            Hunt

                                                                      3. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        Kind of reminds me of the flights from MSY, where 1/4 of the passengers bough a muffeletta the day before at Central Grocery, and they all bring them out at the same time. Now, I love garlic olive salad, but when much of the plane is eating it, it's not the ultimate experience.

                                                                        Hunt

                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                          and if that was you with the scowl on the flight to EWR 20 years ago, jfood apologizes. should have offered you a piece.

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            Boy, the forum is really messing up tonight, so hope that this posts correctly!

                                                                            I'd always be glad to "break bread" with JFood, even if you did not appreciate my wine choices.

                                                                            Look for the old-dude in the navy, dbl-breasted blazer and the Panama hat, sitting in FC and flirting with the flight attendants, even though his lovely wife is sitting next to him. Step forward, and we WILL have fun.

                                                                            Hunt

                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              H

                                                                              jfood does not drink, but he will take a sip to appreciate the pairing effect of wine with food (a french friend showed him how sauterne and foie gras together are a different experience). he also appreciates the look the server gives when he places his finger about 1/8" above the bottom of the glass and says "just this much."

                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                Have no fear. So long as I breath, I will make up for your diminished intake of great wines. They will not go to waste!

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          My biggest fear is that the person in the F seat had that same burrito about 2 hours, prior to boarding. Another reason to retain 1K status, where it's just my lovely wife and me, and I know what each has eaten, prior to boarding.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            when you see three people in the row in front of you simultaneously turn the overhead blower counter-clockwise you know something is up. that's why the new fast food at the airport is called 360 burrito. it gets everyone.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              Yeah, watching some of my in-flight companions, I worry greatly. What good is a 5# burrito, on a 4 hour flight?

                                                                              I will often tailor my dietary intake, predicated on my flights the next day.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                    2. re: jfood

                                                                      Gosh, how I miss the old Southern Airways. They always had deep-fried lard kabobs, before kabobs were popular. They only served them in FC, for fear that those old Martin 404's would get tail-heavy, if they served 'em in the back.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        "then he noticed a nice deer something cookie decalring no transfats'
                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                        must have been Dancing Deer. no trans fat, but plenty of sugar!

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          that's it and it had cloves or something like that as well. one taste was OK then it got sorta gross.

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            molasses clove. you were better off not finishing it anyway....refined flour, sugar & canola oil are the first three ingredients.

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              at least the flour had manners.

                                                                              on the way back a sausge and pepper sandwich and a cheeseburger with a chocolate shake before the flight. no need for the cookie on board. slept like a baby

                                                                    3. re: jfood

                                                                      "are the posters complaining about the card-only policy the same posters that complain about the cash-only restaurant policy?"

                                                                      Now, I do not complain about the credit card-only policy. Heck, if I fly SW, instead of my usual UAL, I always get a handful of free-drink coupons (and have several dozen older ones, that are still accepted). On UAL, I do "plan ahead," and stop by the RCC. About a year ago, after being badgered by me, and obviously others, they added "premium wines" and good glasses, to their lineup. If I am not flying FC, or BC, I usually just have a glass, or two there, and soda water on the flight.

                                                                      However, I do run afoul (afowl, if it's a chicken restaurant) of cash-only restaurants from time to time. I've gotten to where I look for credit card decals on the window/door, or ask at the host/hostess stand. I hate carrying much cash with me, and often find myself hosting several others. Even lunch can run a couple $100.

                                                                      Now, I cannot speak for other posters, and there might be some, who hate cash-only restaurants, and credit card-only airlines. There are some folk, who are just genetically surly. Nothing pleases them. Do not see any of those people in this thread, but they exist, and in great numbers.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        If you are responsible for the upgraded wines at RCC you have my eternal gratitude!!! That was always a pet peeve of ours and it seemed the choices varied greatly from location to location but I have noticed in the last 6 months that the choices seem to be better across the board. It makes the whole travel experience slightly more bearable.

                                                                        1. re: baseballfan

                                                                          "It makes the whole travel experience slightly more bearable."

                                                                          I could not agree more. Some years back, I mounted a campaign to get UAL to add better wines to the list, and also upgrade the glassware, in which they are served. It started with some "customer cards," but then moved up to a letter campaign. Some time back, UAL contracted with a survey company, and began offering flyers the opportunity to comment on many aspects of their travel. If one got lucky, they were invited to go more "in depth." Maybe it's because we fly too much, but it seemed that we got that "enhanced survey" most of the time, and both offered the same suggestion - more wine selections and better stemware. About that time, we flew through SEA-TAC and stopped by the RCC. They had a dozen +/- local WA/OR wines, and the stemware was nice. I began using that as a model.

                                                                          A little over a year ago, we walked into the Intl FC Lounge at LAX and the greeter pulled me aside to show me her new sign on premium wines! How perfectly wonderful. We jumped at the opportunity and were so happy. The next week, we were at SFO, and the lady there knew what I had been up to, and growled at me, "you just created more work for all of us!" Yes, but she was selling that premium wine.

                                                                          At my home RCC, PHX, the staff is tickled that they actually do a wine tasting each month to pick the wines there. They have invited me to stop by, but I've not been able to do that yet. Only problem for us is that we are there at 6:00AM, and picking a "breakfast Chardonnay" is not THAT easy. [Grin]

                                                                          Some of the monthly selections have been better than others, but having options is what it is about. Also, they do chill the "white wine glasses," and I have to get them to pour any whites into the room temp "red wine glasses," but most of the regulars are learning to do this, without being asked. The lady at SFO still argues with me, but that is because she's totally convinced that I am the ONE responsible, and that it's more work for her. She'll get over it, 'cause I tip well...

                                                                          I know that we were but two voices out of 1000's, but still feel like this was a victory. Personally, I would much rather pay US$14 for a glass of nice wine, in a decent glass, than get a free rubber cup of plonk.

                                                                          Also, many of the Intl. FC Lounges have added sandwiches and such, and for airport fare, those are not bad at all. No reason to go out onto the concourse anymore, except to go to the head, in that one RCC in ORD, off by the commuter airlines!

                                                                          Now, kinda' back to the topic of the thread - if I have nice wines (whether it's the RCC, or maybe Pour La France at DIA), I do not really care how the Blackstone, or worse, is charged for in flight. They could require gold, and it would not make much of a difference to me, or to my wife.

                                                                          Now, off to joist at the next windmill - going back about 7 years ago, UAL had an improving wine program in FC & BC. That fell a bit by the wayside. They DO have a Master Sommelier, and Charlie Trotter consulting on the menu, but the wine selections have slipped and noticeably, especially to/from the UK. They need to move back to the interesting wines, that they had then. Same for the Star Alliance Intl. FC Lounge in the new UAL terminal at LHR - they used to have a really good selection of some interesting FR wines. Now, the selection is pathetic! Gotta' get that one back too!

                                                                          Hunt, and do not let an opportunity to comment in those surveys go by. Without our voices, they will never know what the traveling public wants and will pay for.

                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            SFO is our home base and where I first noticed the difference. Even the smaller locations such as Orange County have much better offerings now. It really makes a difference if you find yourself facing a lengthy delay. Happened to us in Phoenix this year coming back from spring training. It was a much less aggravating experience all the way around.

                                                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                          can you please to delta...can't even get a decent cup of coffee in their clubs.

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            UAL moved to Starbucks some time back, but they are still not THAT good. Not sure why.

                                                                            Heck, I still miss the Molton-Brown toiletries in the lavatories going to the UK. Cutbacks!

                                                                            We have some Delta flights coming up, so I will benefit too! I'm on it.

                                                                            Hunt

                                                                        3. re: jfood

                                                                          As the OP, I can state that I do not hate cash-only restaurants, however I have felt inconvenienced by them once or twice, but the thing is..... if I have no cash or credit card , I can saunter on down the road and go somewhere else. And even in the credit-only restaurants, or any other credit-only place....they'll still take the Visa gift cards.

                                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                                            in

                                                                            not addressed to you, apologies if you thought that but if you want some good reads do a search on cash only restaurants and see the rage. good point on the alternatives though in your last sentence.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              no worries, I didn't think it was specifically directed at me... was just giving my 2 cents :)

                                                                        4. Sounds very inconvenient. But then so are the other recent food rules put in place by airlines, like: exact change only when paying with cash, charging $7 for a bag of chips, not giving out food when you're stuck for hours on the tarmac (even if you are willing to pay for it), etc.

                                                                          The best recourse is to bring your own food on board. You can take anything through the TSA checkpoint that's not a liquid or gel. If you want a liquid, you should be able to buy it on the other side of security and carry it on the plane. I've done this many times (I doubt if these liquids are screened but that's a topic for another post).

                                                                          1. I know I'm dating myself here but I remember flying Laker airways to London back in the early 70's for $49 each way. What you received for that amount was a seat. That was it. On the way to Kennedy Airport I stopped at Pastrami King on Queens Blvd. (at that time one of the top3 or 4 Jewish delis) for a pastrami on rye with a great half sour pickle. When I opened it on the plane I had about 50 people looking over their seats trying to find out where that wonderful aroma was wafting from, That was the last good meal I had until I got back to NY.

                                                                            1. My experience is that they take credit OR debit cards. Is there anyone who doesn't have either? We flew Virgin America a few years ago and they have a touch screen on the seat back whereby you order and, if required, pay by sliding your card. So if I wanted a glass of water with ice, I could just enter that and they'd bring it to me. I thought it was totally slick.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                Debit cards aren't very international.

                                                                                In the country where I currently live, debit cards the way they are in the US are simply not used. And even if they are used, they don't necessarily work in a different country from which they are issued. The use of credit cards varies hugely from country to country as well. I kept a credit card overseas when I moved, which was good as I can't get one locally.

                                                                                As a graduate student, I had to travel for things like conferences or collecting data, but didn't have a credit card due to a general lack of income.

                                                                                Another thing for the general thread is that you can't necessarily carry a bagged lunch on international flights. I have had food confiscated in security before - typically things like fruits and meat.

                                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                  I mostly have travelled to W. Europe and Latin America where there have been no problems carrying on food. Last week's flight to Rio, I carried on sliced pork tenderloin which made nice little sandwiches with their rolls.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    If we fly from home we make sandwiches for the flight, if travelling from abroad I make sure we have time to buy sandwiches at the outgoing airport. I would never rely on plane food because it's too inconsistent and as others say they frequently run out by the time they get to you, or all they have left is a ham sandwich and a soda neither of which I consume.
                                                                                    A grande hot choc from Sbux can stay warm for quite a while on a flight and is bearable cold and is way better than plane coffee.

                                                                              2. What I find amusing is that while American Airlines takes only plastic on its flights, American Eagle regional flights take only cash.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                  We encountered the same with the various "arms" of UAL. UAL Express(Mesa Airlines) only took cash, but UAL only took credit cards. We had one from PHX to SFO and the other on the way back. Who knew?

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                    Also encountered this yesterday on US AIr. DFW to PHX: credit card only. PHX to FAT, (what an acronym for an airport with only a sports bar and fastfood!), also operated by Mesa Airlines but called something else since it was 'US Air', cash only. Slightly annoying since I wanted a drink only on the second half, and had stuck my credit card, but not cash, in my pocket, and wallet was in carry-on above me....

                                                                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                      We encountered that with UAL and UAExpress (Mesa Air) on a two segment flight. One was credit card only, and the other was cash only. Luckily, we were in FC on the first, and I only wanted sparkling water on the second, but I took note, due to this very thread.

                                                                                      Very confusing,

                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                      PS - UAL did comment that one got triple points, if they had a UAL VISA card!

                                                                                  2. Alaska Airlines has the same card-only policy. We fly it from BOS to SEA often because they have the only nonstop flight. With 6 hours in the air going out and 5 coming back, we have no choice but to eat something. I don't mind the policy because I think a debit card swipe on board is a lot simpler than trying to remember to get cash when you've got a lot of other things to think about, such as whether you thought to put that lethal pair of manicure scissors in your checked bag so that TSA won't confiscate it (again). I do wonder what minors flying solo do, though, as most don't carry plastic.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                      Minors flying solo get special handling at both ends of the trip, my guess is they'd be fed gratis.

                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                        Or the responsible adult that escorts the child to the gate will also pack a snack or buy food for them in the terminal. The only thing you can't buy pre-boarding for consumption in flight is alcohol (yes, I know you can buy it and carry on, but you aren't supposed to drink alcohol unless a flight attendant serves it, and they will only serve what they sell).

                                                                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                          Actually, if I were the in the cabin crew, and had an adult accompanying a bunch of kids, the adult would drink free, even if I had to pay for it.

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                            LOL - a few years back, when my baby threw up on me (I know, gross!) the flight crew was terrific and kept me in wine for the whole flight. So even though I was yucky, I was feeling no pain. My husband was with me, so no worries about the baby being taken care of by a drunk.

                                                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                              That was a nice gesture on their part. We have never flown with children, but do so with my 90 year old M-I-L, so to a degree, I can feel your pain.

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                Once about 15 years ago on a flight from IAD to SFO, an elderly fellow traveler in the row in front of me attempted to hit my 2 year old. A flight attendant witnessed the entire horrifying event. After moving the elderly travelers to another row, she came back with a bottle of wine from first class for me to take off the flight at SFO. It was such a nice gesture and much needed after a cross country flight by myself with 3 children under the age of 6. The flight attendant told me that she thought I needed it more than the people in 1st class and I couldn't disagree!

                                                                                                1. re: baseballfan

                                                                                                  Wow, that was in bad taste - in the case of the other passenger, but a nice gesture from the cabin crew.

                                                                                                  I have been sidled with unruly children, on long flights, and have managed. It is not the end of the world, though might have come close. Still, I would NEVER hold it against the child. Just bad taste, and bad conduct. You deserved the full bottle.

                                                                                                  Hunt