Continental Joins Cashless Cabin Trend
If you are flying Continental Airlines this holiday season you can leave your cash in your wallet. The airline has announced that starting today, the flight crews will only accept credit and debit cards for on-board purchases (except duty-free purchases). The crew will have new hand-held devices meant to be more convenient for customers.
Continental says the change is a result of customer feedback from those tired of fumbling for money and making correct change. The hand-held devices read cards for purchases of alcoholic beverages and headsets but also provide sales information for the airline to help better manage product inventory. The new cashless system is be available on all Continental Airlines mainline flights, except for service to and from China as Continental is still working on a process for accepting that country's predominant credit card, The China Union Pay card. Cash is still being accepted on Continental Express, Continental Connection and Continental Micronesia flights but plans to switch to a cashless cabin on those flights in the first quarter of 2010.
As our sister blog Daily Finance recently reported, Delta has also switched to the cashless cabin. On the Daily Finance article there is a spirited debate going on in the comments about the legality of banning cash and about whether or not it really is more convenient for the business traveler to use a credit card. It seems likely that the cashless cabin is a trend that will only increase as time goes on. I'm just waiting for the airline iPhone app that lets you pay directly from your phone.