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Sep 11, 2010 08:28 AM

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

(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 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.


    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. 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.


              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.