As of May 1 passengers will need a credit card for any on-board purchases on Air Canada including food, alcoholic drinks and duty-free items. The airline is moving to a cashless cabin environment and debit cards won’t be among the options.
Passengers will also have the ability to purchase vouchers before boarding a flight, but voucher purchases will only be able to be made online and will also require a credit card for purchase. Air Canada is following the lead of several other carriers, seeking to eliminate the hassles of flight attendants trying to make change. WestJet says it is considering a similar move but has not yet made a decision.
Retired Air Canada flight attendant Alexandra Ludgate told TakeOffeh.com that handling cash was one of the most time consuming and dirty parts of the job. “Running back and forth for change and waiting for passengers to rummage through their wallets was really impractical.”
The new rules don’t apply to Jazz Air, where passengers will still be able to pay for onboard amenities with cash.
While the move will likely make in-flight service more efficient, it is bound to result in criticism from those who believe consumers should not be compelled to hold a credit card.