Credit Card Onboard American Airlines Flights
The "cashless only" policy was first introduced by a number of airlines as far back as 2007. Today such major carriers as Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Virgin America and Midwest Airlines serve their in-flight foods and drinks to be paid only by a major Visa or MasterCard card.
If you fly with American Airlines you may soon need to have your credit card at the ready each time you're onboard. The last airline to join the company of "card only" carriers was Southwest Airlines which announced its determination to employ the "cashless cabin" in autumn 2008.
Starting summer 2009, American Airlines discontinue onboard cash purchases and equip its flight attendants with portable credit card readers. For you as frequent flyer, it means you have to swipe your card each time you want a beverage or a snack.
You may use any affiliated American Airline credit cards onboard. Besides, the carrier says they will accept all major Visa and MasterCard bank cards (apply online here if needed) even if it's not part of their loyalty program. Credit cards will be a must for coach class and premium class passengers. Those who cannot afford to buy food on credit may go without it at all or have their own snacks with them.
The cashless cabin system will work on flights within the USA and to and from Canada. According to American Airline's vice president, the cashless cabin principle will help streamline the process of in-flight sales for everyone - frequent flyers and flight attendants.
Some think that the requirement to pay with plastic is just a way to sell more expensive food to ravenous passengers. Maybe, there is some advantage in it for the customer, but nothing more than a better qualify of all those salads, sandwiches, wraps and snacks.
Others support the introduction of the "plastic only" principle, referring to the enhanced opportunity to earn rewards, such as frequent flyer miles, points and cash back. Partnering with some major US card issuers such as American Express and Citibank, American Airlines offer AAdvantage miles rewards program which is extremely popular among frequent travelers with high credit ratings.
So, those ready to purchase in-flight food with a credit card will benefit from better snacks, better service and greater rewards yield.
Northwest Airlines are one of the very few carriers that still hold to cash-only principle on domestic flights. It doesn't seem to make any difference for other carriers' customers as long as they do not get charged more for their snacks in flight.
If the airlines do begin raising prices significantly in comparison to the prices on Northwest Airlines, they may lose loyal customers choosing in favor of this cash-only carrier.
On the whole, the introduction of the "plastic only" system may cause decrease in the numbers of frequent flying customers because not many can afford paying ever rising interest rates on such trifles as a sandwich or a drink.