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Soon you won’t be able to pay with cash on Jetstar flights


The correct change will no longer be appreciated.

Another sign that physical money is slowly dying: from 1 May, Jetstar will no longer accept cash payments from passengers for in-flight meals and snacks.

Like all low-cost carriers, Jetstar offers food and drink on board, but you have to pay for it. Currently, you can do that in one of three ways: by pre-ordering and paying online, by paying on board with a credit card or by paying on board using cash. The last option has always been guaranteed to produce an unhappy flight attendant if you proffer a $50 note, but soon it won't be possible.

"From 1 May 2018, Jetstar Airways will only accept credit card payments on board," a notice on the Jetstar site points out. "You can still pre-purchase meals, snacks, drinks and comfort packs online."

This isn't surprising, given the rapid rise in the use of tap-and-pay services in Australia and the huge number of credit cards already out there (there are more than 16 million credit cards in Australia). Who wants the hassle of hanging around waiting for change? There's also no extra charge for paying with a card when you buy food onboard, unlike making a booking online, which generally attracts a fee.

So what if you don't have a credit card, either because you refuse to get one or you're too young? The simplest solution would be: don't buy in-flight food, which is overpriced and just not that good. Alternatively, you can order in advance and pay with your ticket, which means no hassle with payment, plus you get served first.

For now, the other major domestic airlines (Qantas and Virgin Australia) are still taking both forms of payment if you decide you want an on-board snack. Qantas and Virgin Australia both offer free basic refreshments, but you have to pay for alcohol most of the time on Qantas, and Virgin has a wider range of meals you can pay for.

Despite these varying approaches to menus, I wouldn't be surprised to see all the airlines rapidly adopting a similar stance. Let's face it, coins in your pocket are a nuisance, especially when you have to go through airport security scanners.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on

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Pictures: Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock, Angus Kidman

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