United Going Cashless Onboard


The Chicago Tribune reports United will join the growing number of airlines that only accept credit and debit cards onboard when it phases out cash purchases later this spring. Passengers can begin using credit cards on March 23 for all domestic flights and service to Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, but United will continue accepting cash for a few weeks beyond that date.

This move means at least seven airlines have either made the switch to cashless cabins or will do so in the near future: United, American, Southwest, Virgin America, JetBlue, AirTran, and Frontier. If I had to guess, I'd say most of the major holdouts (Delta, US Airways, and Continental) will move to cashless onboard purchases by summer.

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United is offering MileagePlus members 10 miles for every dollar spent on in-flight purchases. (You're only 417 SnackBoxes away from a domestic award ticket!) You must use your MileagePlus Visa to qualify, and the offer begins April 1. No word on whether this bonus is temporary or will be a permanent feature.

All of this makes me wonder: Is it possible to live without a credit card these days? It's certainly more difficult to fly without one, so will people who try to minimize their credit and debit card use be less likely to fly? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about the plastic revolution taking place within the airline industry. Thanks!

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