With all the talk about airlines requiring passengers to pay extra fees, Southwest Airlines Co. is coming out with a different message: We're not raising your fees, but we are putting hand-held credit card devices on board and banning cash transactions.
Dallas-based Southwest (NYSE: LUV) said in a press release Tuesday that beginning Sept. 9, all aircraft will have devices on board to handle credit and debit card transactions. If you want a cocktail, beer or wine, the flight attendant's hand-held device allows you to charge it.
As part of the move, the carrier will no longer accept cash.
Southwest, Nashville's largest commercial carrier, says all major credit cards and debit cards will be accepted, as will drink coupons. Customers who have Rapid Rewards credit cards from Chase will be able to register double reward dollars by using their card on board.
The new hand-held credit card device is from GuestLogix Inc. The airline consulted flight attendants to determine what type of device would be the easiest for them to use to facilitate on board transactions.
Southwest is not the only airline with this service. Fort Worth-based American Airline Inc., the subsidiary of AMR Corp., says on its Web site that it offers passengers the convenience of paying for items on board with credit cards and cash. Alaska Airlines also announced last year that patrons can use their cards on some flights.