AlnessW
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Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:42 am

It seems as though most, if not all US airlines have gone completely "cash-free." During the inflight service, for as long as I can remember the announcement for purchases was "Exact change is appreciated." But over these last few years, all I've heard is "Cash is no longer accepted, we only take credit and debit cards for purchases."

So, here are some advantages of not handling cash, that I can think of:

More convenient for the flight crew - No fast math or bumbling with change.
More secure - No need to have cash stored and secured onboard after the service.
No keeping track of purchases - Those handheld computers/credit card machines create a record of all onboard purchases.

What else? Also, are there any US airlines that still accept cash?
Thanks for any info!  

[Edited 2012-04-09 20:11:08]
 
apodino
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:31 am

If you fly USAirways and are on one of the CRJ-200 flights operated by Air Wisconsin, it is still a cash based service. The main reason for this is because the palm device that reads the credit cards is actually considered a piece of equipment on the airplane, meaning it is subject to the maintenance requirements of the maintenance manual. In other words, if it breaks, it is actually an MELable item and has to be written up. Rather than deal with with the headache at the regional level, it is just easier to stay a cash only cabin.
 
KingFriday013
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:34 pm

Most regional airlines in the US only take cash (Air Wisconsin as mentioned, Pinnacle, Comair, etc.), whereas mainline only takes credit cards. Another reason regionals don't take cards is because many of their flights are so short that they wouldn't have time to serve a BOB product and process payment for all of the passengers.

-J.
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ajd1992
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:31 pm

What if you have a foreign cash card?

I have a UK Visa Electron, would that be accepted on board?
 
AlnessW
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:44 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 1):
If you fly USAirways and are on one of the CRJ-200 flights operated by Air Wisconsin, it is still a cash based service.
Quoting KingFriday013 (Reply 2):
Most regional airlines in the US only take cash (Air Wisconsin as mentioned, Pinnacle, Comair, etc.)


Ah, I see. Interesting to know.

Quoting apodino (Reply 1):
The main reason for this is because the palm device that reads the credit cards is actually considered a piece of equipment on the airplane, meaning it is subject to the maintenance requirements of the maintenance manual. In other words, if it breaks, it is actually an MELable item and has to be written up.


Never heard of that. Thanks for clarifying!

Quoting apodino (Reply 1):
Rather than deal with with the headache at the regional level, it is just easier to stay a cash only cabin.
Quoting KingFriday013 (Reply 2):
Another reason regionals don't take cards is because many of their flights are so short that they wouldn't have time to serve a BOB product and process payment for all of the passengers.


That would make sense.

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 3):
What if you have a foreign cash card?

I have a UK Visa Electron, would that be accepted on board?


I am not sure. I would assume that your card would need to have a magstripe just like all other cards in the US, but I don't know if FAs can enter the number manually to charge your card.
 
KingAir200
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:18 pm

At DL, all mainline flights are card only. For Connection, flights on RJs with F are card only, while 50 seat RJs are cash only.
 
ajd1992
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:37 pm

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 4):
I am not sure. I would assume that your card would need to have a magstripe just like all other cards in the US, but I don't know if FAs can enter the number manually to charge your card.

It has a magstripe on it, it's a chip and pin card like all cards in the UK now (and actually, most of the Western World) but I just wondered about it being a foreign card.
 
ha763
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:59 am

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 3):
I have a UK Visa Electron, would that be accepted on board?

It might be a problem since the Visa Electron doesn't allow overdrafts and requires a check to the account to make sure the funds are available in the account. The card readers used on the aircraft are offline readers and store the transaction information until it can be downloaded after the flight.
 
AlnessW
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:07 am

Quoting KingAir200 (Reply 5):
At DL, all mainline flights are card only. For Connection, flights on RJs with F are card only, while 50 seat RJs are cash only.

Makes sense.

Quoting ha763 (Reply 7):
It might be a problem since the Visa Electron doesn't allow overdrafts and requires a check to the account to make sure the funds are available in the account. The card readers used on the aircraft are offline readers and store the transaction information until it can be downloaded after the flight.

That's understandable. No real way to verify cards in the air, unless they were to use the in-flight WiFi...
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:30 pm

Quoting KingFriday013 (Reply 2):
Pinnacle, Comair

Both handle credit cards.
What gets measured gets done.
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:35 pm

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 4):
I am not sure. I would assume that your card would need to have a magstripe just like all other cards in the US, but I don't know if FAs can enter the number manually to charge your card.

All cards have magnetic strips, but many US merchants don't recognise cards not issued by US banks. I've never had a problem presenting a UK card personally in the USA, but I've hard UK cards rejected online several times.

Quoting ha763 (Reply 7):
It might be a problem since the Visa Electron doesn't allow overdrafts and requires a check to the account to make sure the funds are available in the account. The card readers used on the aircraft are offline readers and store the transaction information until it can be downloaded after the flight.

Presumably that rules out all debit cards, including US ones.

The problem with credit card transactions is the time taken to process them compared to cash. The card issuers apply a fee too, so there's a cost to the airline for convenience. Most people will be buying food and drink, surely it would be more convenient all round to revert to free snacks and soft drinks. Not full meals of course, just the cheap snacks they offer instead.
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ha763
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:27 am

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 10):
I've never had a problem presenting a UK card personally in the USA, but I've hard UK cards rejected online several times.

Sometimes if a company does not do business in your country, they will not accept a card with a foreign address for an online transaction. This is usually due to their agreement with their credit card processor. If you are presenting the card in person, the merchant has the ability to verify your ID.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 10):
Presumably that rules out all debit cards, including US ones.

Actually, most U.S. debit cards do allow overdrafts for transactions. For the courtesy overdraft coverage, you have to opt-in to cover your everyday transactions. The banks charge you an arm and a leg for the penalty, but they also offer other options such as a credit line (for a fee) or linking to your savings account to cover an overdraft. Almost all debit cards are also issued for use on the Visa or Master Card network so you also have the option of processing the transaction as a credit card (swipe and sign) instead of a debit card (swipe and pin).
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:46 am

I think the former Lynx planes with F9 (now owned by Republic) are still cash only. Not sure if that has changed or not as I never fly the Q400 at Frontier/Republic.

However, all the E190's are card only.
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AlnessW
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:29 am

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 10):
All cards have magnetic strips, but many US merchants don't recognise cards not issued by US banks. I've never had a problem presenting a UK card personally in the USA, but I've hard UK cards rejected online several times.

Got it. Thanks.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 10):
Presumably that rules out all debit cards, including US ones.

Hmm...   

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 10):
The problem with credit card transactions is the time taken to process them compared to cash. The card issuers apply a fee too, so there's a cost to the airline for convenience.

So then why would airlines go "cash free"?

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 10):
Most people will be buying food and drink, surely it would be more convenient all round to revert to free snacks and soft drinks. Not full meals of course, just the cheap snacks they offer instead.

   I know that most (if not all?) US carriers still offer free soft drinks, juices, coffee, etc with the obvious exception of NK. However, many seem to have cut free snacks. When I flew DL last (late 2010) they still offered free snacks. LCCs like WN and B6 do too.

Quoting ha763 (Reply 11):
Almost all debit cards are also issued for use on the Visa or Master Card network so you also have the option of processing the transaction as a credit card (swipe and sign) instead of a debit card (swipe and pin).

   Airlines for example, only use the "swipe and sign" method you mention. I have heard them announce before "We also accept debit cards with a Visa or MasterCard logo on them." When I banked with Chase they actually recommended that you always use the "swipe and sign" method to avoid entering your PIN in public.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:02 am

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 13):
I know that most (if not all?) US carriers still offer free soft drinks, juices, coffee, etc with the obvious exception of NK. However, many seem to have cut free snacks. When I flew DL last (late 2010) they still offered free snacks. LCCs like WN and B6 do too.

A bit OT but It's nice living in Asia now. Four flights in economy on SQ recently. Free alcoholic drinks. A real meal on a 3½ hour leg. Great AVOD. Comfortable seats. A pillow and a blanket. Attentive, courteous, smiling flight attendants. (Actually at SQ they are proudly titled "Flight Stewardess".)

IMHO Western full service airlines could gain a lot from upping their service level and stop nickel and diming their customers.

Ok getting off my soapbox.
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nickh
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:05 am

I would like to submit a thought for consideration. This is with regard to two issues that have been brought up, in past posts, in this message thread.

1:: Foreign Credit/Debit cards that are not accepted on certain airlines.
2:: General Credit/Debit card account security while travelling.

Most credit card companies and banks will allow you to purchase a "limited use" or a "one time only use" pre-paid card, which if you do not want it pre-paid, you can tie it into your existing credit card's line of credit, or your bank account, and just set an expiration date.

The card will have a unique number, and if you have to cancel it, then no worries - your original account numbers are never revealed. Well, there are always ways, but you understand where I am going with this.

So, this is an option to consider when travelling internationally, or even domestically.

I hope that this helps, and if you have further comments, then please post them.

N.
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AlnessW
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:22 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
Four flights in economy on SQ recently.

Well, wasn't SQ voted the nicest airline in the world?

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
Free alcoholic drinks. A real meal on a 3½ hour leg. Great AVOD. Comfortable seats. A pillow and a blanket. Attentive, courteous, smiling flight attendants. (Actually at SQ they are proudly titled "Flight Stewardess".)

   Same as my first experience on BA in 2010. The BOS-LHR leg (on a 747) had pillows, blankets, eyemasks, even socks and a toothbrush all in the amenity kits.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
IMHO Western full service airlines could gain a lot from upping their service level and stop nickel and diming their customers.

Couldn't agree more. Any European or Asian airline could certainly teach US airlines a thing or two about customer service.

Quoting nickh (Reply 15):

Thanks for sharing!
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:05 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
A bit OT but It's nice living in Asia now. Four flights in economy on SQ recently. Free alcoholic drinks. A real meal on a 3½ hour leg. Great AVOD. Comfortable seats. A pillow and a blanket. Attentive, courteous, smiling flight attendants.

Most airlines have similar meal service levels in economy on long international flights. It's only some (most? all?) US airlines that charge for alcoholic drinks, meals are invariably free. Good AVOD is less common, but becoming the norm. As for the SQ FAs, they certainly smile politely but that doesn't always equate to good service. They can't be that attentive with a full economy cabin and a short flight to service.
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AlnessW
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:05 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 17):
Most airlines have similar meal service levels in economy on long international flights.

I believe you are correct there. Last summer I was flying AA DFW-SJO on a 757 and was pleased to hear that they were serving dinner on this 4 hour flight! The return flight also served breakfast.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 17):
It's only some (most? all?) US airlines that charge for alcoholic drinks

I'm trying to think of a US airline that DOESN'T charge for alcoholic drinks...
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:27 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 17):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
A bit OT but It's nice living in Asia now. Four flights in economy on SQ recently. Free alcoholic drinks. A real meal on a 3½ hour leg. Great AVOD. Comfortable seats. A pillow and a blanket. Attentive, courteous, smiling flight attendants.

Most airlines have similar meal service levels in economy on long international flights. It's only some (most? all?) US airlines that charge for alcoholic drinks, meals are invariably free. Good AVOD is less common, but becoming the norm. As for the SQ FAs, they certainly smile politely but that doesn't always equate to good service. They can't be that attentive with a full economy cabin and a short flight to service.

As AlnessW says, I don't think any US airline has free alcoholic drinks.

Sure, US airlines have free meals on international flights, but given that a US domestic flight can be up to 6 hours, it's a bit of a skewed comparison.

I've flown upwards of a hundred US domestic flights with majors in the past decade, and the service has never approached what you get on most east asian airlines, in particular SQ. Smiles don't equal good service, but with US carriers you typically get neither smile nor service. Good service tends to depend on a particular F/A being nice and hardworking (and no doubt many are). On SQ or CX the average level is much much higher. You're surprised if there isn't good service.

As for AVOD, sure it is coming in the US now, but SQ introduced Krisworld back in 1996 if memory serves.

Anyway sorry for taking the thread further OT.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:12 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 19):
As AlnessW says, I don't think any US airline has free alcoholic drinks.

Sure, US airlines have free meals on international flights, but given that a US domestic flight can be up to 6 hours, it's a bit of a skewed comparison.

True, but then SQ is skewed a comparison too, since they only have international flights. You were comparing SQ international to US domestic.
The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:45 am

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 20):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 19):
As AlnessW says, I don't think any US airline has free alcoholic drinks.

Sure, US airlines have free meals on international flights, but given that a US domestic flight can be up to 6 hours, it's a bit of a skewed comparison.

True, but then SQ is skewed a comparison too, since they only have international flights. You were comparing SQ international to US domestic.

Fair point. However I think distance/time is a more important factor than domestic vs international. On a one hour sector, I don't care about a meal. On a four hour flight, I would like one. SQ has plenty of flights under 4 hours and they serve meals. US carriers have plenty of domestic flights over 4 hours and they don't.

After all, my stomach doesn't care if I fly over a border. Service is service.

Again, I am convinced that many Western carriers would attract customers by upping their service instead of nickel and diming. For that matter, customers who care about such service would mostly be the more lucrative business travelers. I'm not saying all carriers should do that, just that there might be a market opportunity.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:40 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 21):
Again, I am convinced that many Western carriers would attract customers by upping their service instead of nickel and diming. For that matter, customers who care about such service would mostly be the more lucrative business travelers. I'm not saying all carriers should do that, just that there might be a market opportunity.

Many western carriers already do offer excellent full service on medium to long haul routes. US carriers are the exception, not the rule.

Unfortunately European "full service" carriers are following the US example for international short haul flights, offering less to passengers, though it's still free. On BA Eurotraveller you still get a free drink and snack, but the snack is just a biscuit (cookie) or a packet of corn chips. In business it's similar but the snack is much better quality. In contrast, on low cost carriers you get nothing free but you can choose to buy quite good quality snacks and drinks. I'd rather get a cheaper flight and choose to pay for better service on board if I want it.

Which brings us back to the subject.  
The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:34 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 22):
Many western carriers already do offer excellent full service on medium to long haul routes. US carriers are the exception, not the rule.

I'll concede that point, somewhat. I still think East Asian carriers go the extra mile in a way that European ones don't. It may simply (or not so simply) be a cultural thing. In China, for example, there is still much prestige in being the "big man" and being attended, and there is prestige in attending. In the West, a much more modest mindset is nominally prized.

I'm probably overanalyzing though. 
Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 22):
I'd rather get a cheaper flight and choose to pay for better service on board if I want it.

And that choice should be available to you. However if you fly 100 flights a year (I have) the little perks make a huge difference. There's a difference between the habitual business traveler and the casual traveler.

While flying SQ recently I watched the documentary entitled "Farewell 747" on Krisworld. The last interview is with a very frequent business traveler. He points out "little things" like the staff had his tea ready when he came on board or set out back copies of the Straits Times for him. He didn't say so but it was obvious he was willing to pay a premium to choose an airline where the staff did the little extra things.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
AlnessW
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RE: Any US Airlines That Still Accept Cash Onboard?

Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:34 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 21):
Fair point. However I think distance/time is a more important factor than domestic vs international. On a one hour sector, I don't care about a meal. On a four hour flight, I would like one. SQ has plenty of flights under 4 hours and they serve meals. US carriers have plenty of domestic flights over 4 hours and they don't.

After all, my stomach doesn't care if I fly over a border. Service is service.

  

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 21):
Again, I am convinced that many Western carriers would attract customers by upping their service instead of nickel and diming.

I agree; I think that would really help.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 21):
I'm not saying all carriers should do that, just that there might be a market opportunity.

Yes, I just hope that LCCs don't get that idea. I wish they wouldn't continue to dominate the industry. I still don't understand what's so great about WN.   

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 22):
On BA Eurotraveller you still get a free drink and snack, but the snack is just a biscuit (cookie) or a packet of corn chips.

But on international flights they serve a meal. A few years ago I flew BA BOS-LHR-ATH and the LHR-ATH flight was on an A320. Euro Traveler was served meals, and the flight was around 4 hours.

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