There was a time when I traveled quite a bit. Nowadays, it is infrequent. As such when I do travel, I am always treated to something new, to a different way of doing things.
On my last flight, instead of the usual admonition of providing correct change for our various in-flight purchases, the new rule was no cash — credit cards only. The flight attendants were equipped with some nifty hand-held credit card terminals, complete with a self-contained mini printer. While this didn’t seem to quicken the speed of the transaction (if anything, it slowed it down), there are several benefits to a cashless process.
Most importantly, it is more sanitary. No longer must the flight attendants alternate between touching germ-laden cash and preparing our food.
Next, it is more convenient for passengers. I suspect that nary a passenger would be flying sans credit card, whereas some might be cash strapped. (I’ve been there a time or two). Having the correct amount is no longer an issue, plus for those on an expense account, a credit card makes it easier to track of purchases.
It is also more convenient for flight attendants. They no longer need to handle money and are no longer challenged in finding change for those who only have larger bills (I’ve been there as well).
Lastly, I suspect that people spend more when they use plastic. A case in point was my seatmate, who flashed her card four times during our three hour flight: twice for adult beverages, once for earphones, and a final time to eat (she actually bought two meals.)
Traveling still isn’t fun — but at least it’s interesting.