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Why Do Airlines Only Do Credit Cards Onboard?  
User currently offlinerj777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1787 posts, RR: 2
Posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13998 times:

Given that a lot of people are ditching their credit cards, why are airlines going cashless for onboard purchases?

71 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6712 posts, RR: 32
Reply 1, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13984 times:

Because cash has a nasty habit of disappearing between the cart and the terminal. It also avoids the whole "does anyone have a change for a $20/50/100?" problem. The credit card purchase systems can also handle inventory and tracking of what does or does not sell well.

User currently offlinejunction From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 766 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13955 times:

They take debit cards too, so if you have a bank account there should be no problem.

User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13899 times:

It allows for better money tracking, and people ditching all their credit cards and debit cards certainly isn't happening, not enough people carry cash anymore.


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineAvconsultant From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1360 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13862 times:

Ask someone on A.netters about stories from the People Express days.

But yes to handling and inventory tracking and ordering.


User currently offlineEZEIZA From Argentina, joined Aug 2004, 4964 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13822 times:

It's easier to not have to get change, and most of all, it's safer.


Carp aunque ganes o pierdas ...
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24887 posts, RR: 22
Reply 6, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13799 times:

Quoting junction (Reply 2):
They take debit cards too, so if you have a bank account there should be no problem.

AC mainline (not Jazz) changed to credit cards only on May 1, and they do not accept debit cards.. Excerpt from recent YYZ newspaper item on AC changes:

The switch became effective May 1 and it’s all about convenience, said Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick.

“It’s an evolution. Society seems to be moving away from cash and using credit cards more,” said Fitzpatrick.

“This move is a benefit for customers and limits currency issues. Most people don’t travel without a credit card. This policy speeds up the service. Flight attendants don’t have to make change.”

Coffee, tea and soft drinks are still free on North American flights.

With more than 31 million passengers a year, “every second we can save in transaction time adds up to quite a bit of savings in time, convenience and money,” Fitzpatrick said. “Counting out change and handling money is ungainly and time-consuming.’’

Jazz, the regional airline used by Air Canada for many flights, still accepts cash on board.

WestJet says it may follow suit. “We are evaluating the credit-card only option but have not made a final decision yet,” said WestJet spokesman Robert Palmer.

Porter, the small airline that flies out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, does not charge for food or alcoholic drinks onboard.


User currently offlineheathrow From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 978 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13799 times:

Quoting junction (Reply 2):
They take debit cards too, so if you have a bank account there should be no problem.

Maybe in America, but not in Canada / UK.

They take cash here too, but credit cards are just so easy.

It would be nice if debit was introduced on most airlines as well.


User currently offlinethegman From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 653 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13750 times:

Quoting heathrow (Reply 7):
It would be nice if debit was introduced on most airlines as well.

The problem is the difference in debit cards. In the US they effectively operate like credit cards, or can operate like credit cards. Everywhere else it is different in the processing.


User currently offlinejunction From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 766 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13658 times:

Quoting heathrow (Reply 7):
Maybe in America, but not in Canada / UK.

Interesting. I was under the impression something like Visa or MasterCard debit would be accepted like a credit card anyplace they are honored. To only accept credit and not debit would definitely reduce sales for U.S. carriers.


User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 13626 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 6):
AC mainline (not Jazz) changed to credit cards only on May 1, and they do not accept debit cards.. Excerpt from recent YYZ newspaper item on AC changes:
Quoting heathrow (Reply 7):
Maybe in America, but not in Canada / UK.

They take cash here too, but credit cards are just so easy.

It would be nice if debit was introduced on most airlines as well.

Most debit cards these days are supplied through either visa or mastercard, which work exactly like credit cards.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlinecslusarc From Canada, joined May 2005, 838 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 13569 times:

In Canada, debit cards are issued under the Interac brand. They are a online PIN based system. In the future Visa Debit cards and Debit Mastercards are coming and they may have offline signature based functionality like in the US in addition to the Online PIN based system.


--cslusarc from YWG
User currently onlineUALFAson From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 699 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 13348 times:

Not to get off topic, but what are commonly referred to as "debit cards" in the US today are actually "check cards," because they deduct automatically from people's checking accounts.

When true debit cards were first introduced in the US, they operated similarly to how it sounds like they still do in other parts of the world: they were not affiliated with VISA or Mastercard and had to be swiped on a separate operating system from credit cards. I worked retail at the time and constantly had to distinguish between customers who had a true debit card, which we could not take, versus those that actually had a check card that they were calling a debit card, which we could accept.

On topic: on United (and other carriers I'm guessing), bonus FF miles are offered for onboard purchases using the Chase United-branded credit card. Chase buys those miles from United, which is more revenue for the airline. My guess is they probably also see an increase in impulse-purchases from pax who think "oh, just put it on the card" vs peeling off paper bills.



"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
User currently onlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5316 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 13219 times:

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 10):
Most debit cards these days are supplied through either visa or mastercard, which work exactly like credit cards

Again, this is true only in the U.S., and nowhere else in the world.

Quoting rj777 (Thread starter):
Given that a lot of people are ditching their credit cards

Quite the opposite. More people have credit cards than ever before. They are rapidly turning into an essential feature of modern life.


User currently offlineAT From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1007 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 13159 times:

On Jet Blue at least, for example, they serve you the drinks, and then come back later to settle the tab.
What if you order the drink and then when they come to charge you - you only have cash?


User currently offlineAtlwest1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1046 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 13103 times:

Quoting AT (Reply 14):
What if you order the drink and then when they come to charge you - you only have cash?

They open the overwing exit and push you out. LOL No there are ways to take care of that situation, FA's are trained and if you use common sense you let them know before hand its cashless flight and will it be a problem.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co. or Airt
User currently offlinejmbweeboy From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12894 times:

I fly Miami-Port Au Prince Haiti often and when American converted to all cash policy I thought what are all the poor Haitians the overwhelming majority carry no credit or debit cards going to do if they want a bite to eat ?

Well I found out recently with my most recent trip on the Miami-Port Au Prince run. They are are serving a small snack unlike their other runs to the Caribbean which are BOB.

I think they knew what they had to do on this run and maybe PAPJFK too!

JMBWEEBOY


User currently offlinenwaesc From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 3383 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12857 times:

Quoting rj777 (Thread starter):
Given that a lot of people are ditching their credit cards,

They are? My experience has been just the opposite.

Quoting ScottB (Reply 1):
Because cash has a nasty habit of disappearing between the cart and the terminal.

Thanks for implying that F/A's are thieves.

Quote:
It also avoids the whole "does anyone have a change for a $20/50/100?" problem. The credit card purchase systems can also handle inventory and tracking of what does or does not sell well.

Yes.



"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8193 posts, RR: 24
Reply 18, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12815 times:

Quoting rj777 (Thread starter):
Given that a lot of people are ditching their credit cards

I don't think that's true. I don't know many people who even carry cash anymore. Debit/Credit cards make up a huge percentage of financial transactions, and it's only logical that this, combined with the accountability that comes with such transactions, would lead the airlines to stop accepting cash.



This Website Censors Me
User currently offlineaf773atmsp From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2654 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12800 times:

SY still accepts money when buying food and drinks. I prefer cash over debit/credit cards.


It ain't no normal MD80 its a Super 80!
User currently offlinenewark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 30
Reply 20, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12773 times:

Quoting nwaesc (Reply 17):
Thanks for implying that F/A's are thieves.

I don't think that was the implication, however it is easier just to avoid that temptation in the first place.



Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
User currently offlineteme82 From Finland, joined Mar 2007, 1486 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12765 times:
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AY's flights I can use my debit MC  


Flying high and low
User currently offlinenwaesc From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 3383 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12730 times:

Quoting newark777 (Reply 20):
I don't think that was the implication

I don't see how one could interpret it any other way...



"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
User currently offlineChase From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1054 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12680 times:

Quoting nwaesc (Reply 17):
Quoting ScottB (Reply 1):
Because cash has a nasty habit of disappearing between the cart and the terminal.

Thanks for implying that F/A's are thieves.

I used to work in the IT department of an airline (look at my profile if you want to know which one). They had in-house programmers develop a custom program to track the flow of onboard sales revenues from the F/As to the station managers to HQ. It would be logical to assume that mgmt assumed that developing this program would have a net positive effect on the bottom line, in other words, that the cost of paying the programmer salaries to develop it was less than the amount of money that was disappearing. Otherwise why would they have done it?

That being said, I don't remember how many people were on the project, nor how long it lasted. I helped out on it for my first week or two of employment, as a ramp-up exercise. Also, there's no way to know how long they expected it to take for the program to pay for itself. It's possible that it cost $20k to develop, and losses were only $1k/year, and they expected payback over 20 years.

But, in this particular case, yes, cash was disappearing somewhere between the cart and the HQ building.


User currently offlineADent From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1359 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (4 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12649 times:

There isn't a single F/A that is a thief? That would be new - seems like in most places that cash is handled and not fully documented some of it walks away. And if not, then some bean counter thinks it is walking away anyways.

I imagine there were gaps inside the terminal too.

Plus handling cash is not cheap - esp if the station you are going to doesn't do cash (ie mainline flight to outsourced station).

SouthWest will sell you onboard certificates for cash before boarding, not super handy but an option.

Do people with credit cards help out the cash only folks often?


25 newark777 : No one is saying they are all thieves, but I'm sure there are some out there.
26 vv701 : I have to agree with "burnsie28" and disagree with "seabosdca". The Visa Delta Connect debit card was first issued in the UK in June 1987. It has now
27 F9FA37 : That is exactly why they are going cashless cabin. The Airline gets their money right away with no middle man/woman (flight attendants). I actually l
28 rfields5421 : Any operation which deals in cash has problems. I used to handle $25,000-$35,000 cash per weekend - usually less than 2k in 100s - mistly 20s or small
29 KaiGywer : You can add Norway to that list also. My Norwegian debit card is a fully fledged VISA card.
30 rj777 : I may have to get an American Express Gift Card the next time I fly, because Midwest doesn't take Discover
31 wjcandee : The reality is that on one airline (you can look up which one), when cashless was first introduced, the expectation among many commentators was that s
32 hausauflennon : Cash has its drawbacks, from a layman's perspective, there are far too many issues that an airline's management would have to worry about in this resp
33 FRAspotter : Hmmm... I think not. I've used my Mastercard "Debit" card on numerous European and Asian carriers including LH, BA, FR, JL, CX and in numerous countr
34 Post contains images EA CO AS : Along with the previously mentioned reasons of less hassle with change, easier inventory/sale reconcilation, customers are more likely to buy onboard
35 atlturbine : Here is a perfect example. When I worked for Delta, a friend of mine and his wife (both flight attendants) had a large boat docked in Ft Lauderdale. T
36 580fa : Another tired old legend that has been around forever.
37 davescj : And with different fee structures. I agree, but as pointed out, in the US basically a non problem. here in Rome, my bus pass even can double as a vis
38 777ER : Ever since most US airlines went cashless, do some airlines have the option to purchase a pre-pay card at the airport? I'm flying UA in the next few m
39 TravelsUK : Why Do Airlines Only Do Credit Cards Onboard? Shouldn't that read American or US airlines? Bit of a generalisation... Anyway, our company airline, Tho
40 DocLightning : I don't think he was. F/A's are far from the only possible culprits.
41 Post contains images bjorn14 : If you don't have a credit/debit card just buy a prepaid V/MC end of problem. I think cashless cabins is great it one less thing EVERYONE has to worri
42 1stfl94 : This might sound like a daft question but do aircraft that carry cash take the takings off the aircraft after each sector or would it just wait till t
43 TravelsUK : Our crews are issued a 'float' at the start of their working day and then cash up and deposit the takings at the end of their day. Basically the cash
44 Longhauler : This was one of the large issues that was considered. Not really a concern at your main base, where you just walk up and deposit the cash. But at som
45 dstc47 : Rather curious that Ryanair, who more or less insist you deal with them by computer and with cashless modes to purchase flights, have not switched to
46 757ops : I fly often from LHR to the USA and my bank must love it because every drink I purchase attaracts an International Transaction fee, the airlines shoul
47 bjorn14 : I was recently on a FR flight and they announced that they do take cash but would prefer credit....because they have a 5EUR minimum. I think if MOL r
48 GT4EZY : Unlike a lot of the legacy carriers who introduced BOB as a way of lowering costs, for charter and LCC's (in Europe atleast) BOB is essential for boo
49 simairlinenet : Still not mentioned? Business travelers are more likely to buy on board if they can charge it to their corporate card and get reimbursed for it.
50 Tobseren : Once i was flying with SK to BOJ, i only had 83$/67€ in cash with me and a debit-card. I wanted to pay with the cash for 2 cokes, and the attendant
51 ScottB : FA's aren't all thieves -- but there certainly are some. It most certainly isn't just FA's -- it's anyone who is in the chain of custody of the cash.
52 CoachClass : I suspect a gift card won't work. Unlike check cards or credit cards, there's no on-going relationship between the gift card holder and the issuer. S
53 Post contains images AirPacific747 : Well, at least that could be part of the reason why SAS is doing so poorly
54 pnwtraveler : Similar to movie theatres where you buy your tickets over the web and purchase your concession package, this will also become common for airlines. On
55 nws2002 : There are a few options as a FA: 1) Take the cash, swipe your own credit card, pocket the cash 2) Take the cash, comp the drink (or meal, or whatever
56 aajfksjubklyn : AA has always served food to Haiti regardless of credit/debit cards for payment or not. Its double catered from it's desitination, hence why a smalle
57 davescj : Ryanair doesn't want to pay the fees to the credit card companies. You pay a fee to even book with them using a CC. So much better to inconvenience t
58 Tango-Bravo : In my "airline retiree life" I work part-time as a cashier at a major retailer and will offer my unequivocal opinion on cash vs. credit/debit card sal
59 nws2002 : Each charge is separate, so you end up with several small charges on your card, I'm not sure how it looks to management to see those several small ch
60 brilondon : The Canadian banking system is also far superior to what goes on in the U.S. The Canadian system is basically run by the Bank Of Canada who charters
61 EXCOASA1982 : At my airline they also dropped it off at the outstations if they crew was going to RON there. The greeting agent had to then drop it in the station.
62 penguinflies : Speaking of United; one thing I find disturbing is that the consumer has to know whether they are on mainline or regional partner. Some--if not all--E
63 Post contains images UnitedFA07 : You should be able to use a gift card that has the Visa, Mastercard, Amex logo on it. I don't think starbucks will work. Why is it hard to know, can'
64 GALLEYSTEW : I love being cashless. I always hated working "Y" class because you were always going to get a passenger who wanted to pay with a $100 bill on a short
65 KaiGywer : If you pay your bill it won't...
66 777ER : Now thats an idea! Did you take into account the currency conversion for a foreign credit card?
67 757ops :
68 burnsie28 : Yeah, and those fees are minimal, credit cards actually allow the merchant to make more money overall. With Mastercard and Visa they have cash in thi
69 jdevora : Here in Spain is almost the same,when you open a back account they, by default, will issue you a debit card (from Visa, Mastercard or Euro6000) and y
70 dz09 : I was told that the reason the airlines went cashless is because of complaints from F/As about the hassle of turning the money in at the end of the da
71 star_world : Would you like to explain how that would account for such a significant difference? Hint: it doesn't.
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