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You are watching: Do airports take cash for baggage

Although that still shocks me as soon as I uncover myself in a cash-only establishment, it does make some sense, particularly if it’s a tiny shop where the owner doesn’t desire the hassle of handling credit map machines, fees or various other related headaches.

But what surprises me much more are companies that, on the other side of the coin (monetary pun completely intended), don’t accept cash. As legal tender, cash has actually long been stalwart for many purchases, yet airlines have actually largely shied far from it, even for in-person expenditures like upgrades, checked bags and inflight food and also drinks.

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Cash is uncommon

(Photo by Tetra Images/Getty Images)

It goes without saying that I, a TPG employee, use plastic because that just around everything ns buy. Because I haven’t ever used cash because that an waiting travel-related purchase, it didn’t occur to me until newly that credit transaction cards room now often the only method to carry out flight-related business.

On the critical day the a recent cruise, I confirm my email and found a article from JetBlue, the airline that was paris me residence from St. Maarten ~ disembarkation.

“As of may 24, number of JetBlue global cities will no longer accept cash as a type of payment,” that said. “Please come ready with a significant credit or debit card together we move to a cashless lobby.”

What ns didn’t establish is that JetBlue began its cashless system throughout the U.S. Years ago — in 2015, according to Frommer’s — long before the coronavirus pandemic resulted in both businesses and also consumers come rethink the handling of physical currency. And many other airlines have done the same thing.

(Photo by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Most airlines quit accepting cash since a an excellent portion that the cash never ever made it turn off the airplane (at least not in the envelope the should have been in), former flight attendant Joshua Zweighaft explained during a discussion around cashless flights in the TPG Lounge top top Facebook. “Theft was a significant issue. When cobrand credit cards started providing to waive their fees because that inflight purchases, that’s when airlines really jumped ~ above the trend.”

This likely isn’t news to numerous of you, but for part — consisting of a grasp of TPG employee until freshly — that is a noteworthy development.

Here, we’ll tell friend which airlines no much longer let girlfriend pay with cash.

Cashless airlines

(Photo courtesy of Allegiant Air)

Allegiant Air

Allegiant does not permit travelers come pay with cash, check or money orders for fares, because that inflight purchase or at any airport location. The airline does no accept Apple salary or PayPal, but it go take credit cards, points, vouchers and Uplift (for choose flights).

For much more information, find “forms that payment” on the airline’s FAQ page.

American Airlines

Credit cards, gift cards, PayPal and also travel credit are simply some that the methods passengers have the right to make payment to American Airlines. That does say travelers have the right to pay with cash or a examine at details airports, yet none that the ones we checked allow it.

(Photo through Philip Pilosian/

Delta air Lines

Delta has designated much more than 80 airports as cashless, definition that the airline won’t accept file money as a kind of payment if you’re paris from those locations.

For payment, Delta accepts credit and also debit cards (including prepaid debit cards via airport lobby kiosks), Delta eCredits for online purchases or purchases made in ~ ticketing locations, PayPal because that flights from the U.S. Booked online, Alipay because that flights departing the U.S. Or China, and also instant financial institution transfers for flights to choose European countries.

More information have the right to be uncovered on Delta’s “Booking a trip Online” page, under “Paying for her Ticket.”

Frontier Airlines

For payment, Frontier accepts major credit cards, and also Uplift and vouchers, yet it doesn’t take Apple pay or PayPal. Effective in 2015, the airline also does no accept cash, checks or money orders because that fares or inflight purchases.

(Photo by wundervisuals/Getty Images)

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue does not permit cash come be used at any kind of of the U.S. Airports indigenous which the flies, and it has actually made a significant effort to transform several that the non-U.S. Gateways it serves to cashless operations, as well. At airport ticket offices that do accept cash, payments must be made in local currency.

More widely embraced forms of payment include credit and debit cards (including prepaid debit cards native ReadyStation kiosks); digital wallet services such together PayPal, apologize Pay and also MasterPass (not because that purchases over the phone or in the app); take trip credits; gift cards; and Western Union (for domestic flights purchased end the phone call only).

Southwest Airlines

As that 2020, Southwest no longer accepts cash at its ticketing locations, previously the only location where that did allow physical currency.

Now, acceptable develops of payment encompass credit cards, ticketless travel funds and also gift cards in ~ ticketing locations; LUV vouchers; PayPal and also Apple Pay for purchases online and via the airline’s mobile app and inflight entertain system; and Uplift salary Monthly for trip expenditures originated online v Uplift.

(Photo through EQRoy/

Spirit Airlines

Spirit states on its website that it will not expropriate cash, traveler’s checks, certified/cashier’s check or money order at most of the airports, and also it won’t accept any type of of those forms of payment at any type of gate area.

What the airline will accept room credit and also debit cards, gift cards, vouchers, credits and also PayPal (for particular purchases). Heart does not take apple Pay. At more than 50 airports that serves, soul will only accept credit and also debit cards (including prepaid people that convert cash into cards).

Read this if you’re thinking about buying a heart Airlines ticket at the airport to conserve money.

United Airlines

On the website, United says it will certainly not accept cash together a form of payment at plenty of of the airports the serves. The does, however, take it cash in ~ ticket offices external of airports and also other pick ticket counters.

What you can pay v for online and also in-app purchases space credit cards, apple Pay, PayPal, Uplift and services prefer Alipay and UnionPay for details non-U.S. Transactions.

Fine for some, a problem for others

(Photo by Zach Griff/The clues Guy)

No-cash policies could be annoying for part travelers, but, unsurprisingly, TPG readers don’t it seems to be ~ fazed. In the TPG Lounge group, most human being who comment on a discussion about the worry said they’ve aided out various other passengers who only had actually cash yet hadn’t personally tried come pay using actual document money.

“While the hasn’t ever before been an issue for me, I have actually used my map to pay for a neighbor’s food or drink and also taken their cash since they didn’t have a card,” said Lem Wheeles. “I get the miles, (and) they obtain their goodies. We both win!”

Dillon Guyer shared a comparable story. “Several times I’ve bring away cash indigenous strangers and ran my map for them as they to be in a scare needing a drink, snack, whatever,” he said. “I go away through a cost-free drink or snack from them usually.”

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

However, this doesn’t median the mechanism is there is no of drawbacks. For example, part cards won’t occupational on international flights, and also several readers mentioned that children traveling alone wouldn’t have the ability to purchase snacks onboard uneven they had a credit card (or to be entrusted with one of their parents’ cards).

“Chaperoning a high school cheer team did make it hard for girls,” stated Karen Hammersmith. “Basically I finished up buying whatever for the girls, then collecting from poor students.”

Plus, there’s the fact that credit transaction card membership is frequently out of reach for details socioeconomic groups, meaning systems that room cashless properly exclude many world within those teams from paris or make it difficult for castle to execute so.

(Photo through Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

While part airlines, such together JetBlue, sell ReadyStation kiosks in airport lobbies, enabling passengers to transform cash come prepaid debit cards because that purchases, there’s a $5 fees to usage the service, additional penalizing already marginalized groups.

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And it’s not simply passengers who uncover a card-only mechanism problematic.

“The no-cash thing was sometimes an issue,” Zweighaft admitted. “Usually i would just tell the passenger to reap the drink or article on me and also remind lock to carry a card next time. … when I had actually a male start a tab and also drink about $40 worth of scotch. He couldn’t pay, and also I finished up having corporate security meet the flight to number it out.”