Delta Goes Cashless

 So I’m a flight the other day.  Hey, I may not travel weekly anymore, but it still happens.  And living in Atlanta, Delta is the easiest flight going.

We all know that airlines are offering various in-flight services to boost revenues… adult drinks, movie headphones, in-air internet, sandwiches, and the like.  But what struck me ironic is Delta’s stance relative to how fliers pay for these services.

“Delta is now a cashless airline…” drones the flight attendant over the speaker, “…all purchases must be made with a credit card.”

Now that’s rich.

A leading player in an industry known for bankruptcies and whose CEOs acknowledge their stocks are bad investments, who themselves recently had a hand up the skirt of their own bankruptcy is a cashless airlines.

Yep, that’s officially rich.

Now, I get the logistics.  Involving cash requires a manual accounting.  Flight attendant pleas for help breaking a twenty have been comical and someone in this unique and un-tethered work crew is ultimately responsible for the bottom line.  Inventory and cash tills don’t self manage, bringing a certain logic to cashless automation.

Yet the net/net does not ring right to my ear.

“…Delta is now a cashless airlines” sounds more an embarrassing admission than corporate strategy.

Now I’m not claiming to have all the answers and today’s article is more rant than revelation, but somewhere between declaring insolvency and proclaiming cashlessness there should reside at least a handful of clever options:

  • Sell “amenity” passes on your website
  • Offer “amenity” upsells as I buy my ticket
  • Station an “amenity” kiosk in the terminal

Credit cards, along with amenity passes, could still be your main mode of exchange but change the branding.  “Cashless” just sounds poor… and poor.

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