As of August 5th, Alaska Airlines no longer accepts cash on its flights. In their words, welcome to “the convenience of a cashless cabin. Passengers will no longer need to hunt for cash to pay for on board purchases.” Finally! All that cash flitting around the cabin hurting people is a thing of the past. [Personal Finance Weblog]


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  1. TechnoDestructo says:

    They can do whatever they want, because they have practically the entire state by the balls 9 months of the year.

  2. Lewis says:

    No cash on Virgin America either.

  3. tom2133 says:

    Frontier doesn’t take cash in their cabin either. I’m split on it though. On the one hand, it makes the cabin a little safer, as you don’t have a bunch of flight attendants with cash on hand and some nutjob wanting to steal it from the FAs. Or it helps keep the FAs from stealing cash here and there.

    But it presents an inconvenience for those that don’t want to use credit/debit cards. Plus the chances of a FA skimming the card are there too.

  4. Triborough says:

    So it is safer for people to have their credit/debit cards exposed?

  5. goodywitch says:

    So…it’s more convenient to remove a method of payment?

  6. hills says:

    I like it – fight attendants don’t have to be cashiers and go around asking people if they can break a $20. Plus, I rarely have cash….

  7. timmus says:

    If you sneak a beer from the service cart, drink it, and then profusely notify the flight attendant that you thought you heard “take it”, you’re in debt for the beer. And cash is legal tender, i.e. it is payment that, by law, cannot be refused in settlement of a debt. There you go. </internet lawyer>

  8. goodkitty says:

    The scary part about this is envisioning a future where most businesses no longer take cash, and you still can’t get a credit card without agreeing to predatory rules and credit checks. Maybe in the future we’ll look back on the ‘cash standard’ the way we look back now on the ‘gold standard’, with people being raised in a world where paper money is worthless, and everything is digital. Does that kind of thought make me old, or just sentimental?

  9. michaelangelo1969 says:

    @tom2133: Has a FA ever been robbed? Seriously that isn’t much of a concern.

  10. laserjobs says:

    Isn’t it illegal not to accept cash?

  11. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    This is not for anyone’s convenience but the airlines’, and I can’t believe they think we’re so wet behind the ears that we’d buy their transparent rationale.

    The FA’s know most of their customers are from out of town or even out of the country, on expense accounts, or won’t notice the discrepancy on their account until it’s too late to do anything. There’s still a real perception of people who fly as being wealthy, and plenty of selfish, nasty looters who think they’re underpaid and overworked and revenge themselves by helping themselves. I work in a multinational company and my team members are all from other countries, and their stories about being ripped off by waiters in restaurants would curl your hair. I wouldn’t give my debit card to a glorified waiter on a long-haul trip any sooner than I would give it to a street punk selling bongs.

    I wonder how much “shrinkage” there is on an airline (i.e. does the cash taken in match the inventory going out).

  12. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @laserjobs: The U.S. government says: “…all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.” []

  13. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    There’s apparently no federal statute that says “money” is a singular noun, either. :P

  14. @speedwell:


  15. mgy says:

    @timmus: I think it could be argued that the airline didn’t willingly enter into the transaction – so you would be arrested.

  16. I got a question.

    What is the foil beanie and anti-CC crowds going to do with no cash acceptance on the airplane? I smell trouble brewing.

  17. homerjay says:

    @Corporate-Shill: I guess they’ll go thirsty and without audio for the movie.

  18. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Corporate-Shill: Do it ourselves or do without, like a responsible grownup. Bring a bottle to fill after you get through security–I have one that incorporates an effective water filter so I’m not worried about poor quality water. Bring packets of drink mix (I enjoy those Gatorade Power Packs). Do without booze on the flight (if you can’t, your first stop when you get home should be your doctor).

  19. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @homerjay: Headphones brought from home still work, too.

  20. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    “the convenience of a cashless cabin. Passengers will no longer need to hunt for cash to pay for on board purchases.” Well, if you want to be a nitpicking prick, passengers never *needed* to hunt for cash, it was optional (assuming CC was taken at the time).

  21. Robobot says:

    I guess I’m a little old fashioned, but I just can’t get into the trend of paying credit for everything.

    @speedwell: Your generalizations of entire customer service sectors are charming, but hardly accurate. I have known plenty of flight attendants and waiters. There are just as many people in either industry who honestly care about their customer’s well being as there are people who are, as you say, ” selfish nasty looters”. I’d actually bet that there are more of the former than the later. On a larger scale, as someone who has worked in several aspects of the customer service industry I am appalled at the idea of credit card skimming and of all the people I have worked with I can think of only one or two who wouldn’t strongly share my sentiments. (And I got the police involved with one of them personally! :D) It’s good to be on your guard whenever there is money changing hands, but distrust and hostility aren’t necessary, I promise.

    TL;DR: We’re not all bad people, most of us even care about your well being and satisfaction.

  22. krom says:

    Clearly, unaccompanied minors should get an early start on building their deb– I mean, credit, and get credit cards.

  23. Difdi says:

    I wonder, given how much airlines love their extra fees…will they be adding a convenience fee to the credit card transaction, for the convenience of using the only possible payment method?

  24. cmdrsass says:

    People spend more when they use plastic. That is all this is about.

  25. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Quietly: I didn’t generalize. In no way, shape, or form did I say anything resembling “all FAs are on the take” or “all waiters are thieves.”

    Nobody else thought I did, either. Why did you take it personally? I’ll be charitable and assume it’s simply because you don’t understand the difference between “some X are Y” and “all X are Y.”

  26. Whtthfgg says:

    I love this site, but people will complain about anything. Get over it, swipe your card. Makes sales go quicker and gets the Fa’s quickly down the aisle and don’t have to lug all the change around with them.

    Complain about the things that really need complaining about.

  27. mxjohnson says:

    Of course cash handling is a pain. As airlines squeeze more seats on to each plane, and reduce the number of flight attendants, every minute they spend making change is wasted — they should be bringing in profit, not changing denominations.

    Now that the industry is moving to an a la carte model, they have to figure out how to deal with all that money. Cash registers? Vending machines? Credit cards are easier, I guess. Plus, the airlines are very quickly going to implement an easy swipe-as-you-go model — checking a bag, renting a blanket, and so on.

    Plus, let’s not forget, Alaska Air is pushing their Visa. Every flight, you sit through a five to ten minute sales pitch where the FAs hand out applications and try to sell you on the benefits. Soon, they’ll be a credit card company that has its own airline, not the other way around.

    Congress needs to step back in and reregulate the airline industry. If anybody wanted proof that market forces don’t fulfill the needs of a society, this race to the bottom should suffice.

  28. Sudonum says:

    I guess the cash was interfering with the planes electronics

  29. scoosdad says:


    I wonder how much “shrinkage” there is on an airline (i.e. does the cash taken in match the inventory going out).


  30. SexCpotatoes says:

    Ah, this is just the latest salvo fired in the “War On Change.” Coins are heavy, and by discouraging people from carrying rolls of quarters and nickels onto the flight it’ll save Alaska Airlines a lot of unburnt fuel. Also, you won’t have any instances of hitting bad turbulence when someone is paying for their drinks, and BAM, the coins go flying everywhere taking out eyeballs, leaping down throats and choking people, and in extreme cases breaking through peoples’ skulls and causing brain death.

    Like that guy who bought a truck all in change, what a menace. Change kills, people.