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United Moves to Contactless Payments Aboard Flights

Credit and debit cards are no longer welcome on United Airlines flights, as the carrier is moving towards contactless payments through the airline’s app.
If you plan to purchase a meal or beverage aboard your next United Airlines flight, don’t plan on paying with your credit card or debit card.


The Chicago-based carrier is quietly moving away from taking cash and plastic aboard flights, and instead is only accepting in-flight payments using their mobile app.


Physical Payments Get Grounded for App Payment

Under their new plan, United is turning their app into the exclusive payment option for future flights. Before flyers board their next flight, they will need to save a payment method to their profiule While credit cards are preferred, registered PayPal users on select flights will be able to use their account to make purchases.


There are four ways flyers can add a payment method to their app. Members of the United MileagePlus program can save a payment form to their account either by logging into the United website or app and can use it across flights. MileagePlus flyers can also use their reward miles to make in-flight purchases.


Those who don’t want to attach a payment option to their MileagePlus account (or don’t have a frequent flyer account with United) can add a credit or debit card to their flight profile at check-in. United allows flyers to save a card while checking in on the United app or United.com. If flyers don’t decide to add a card at check-in, flyers will still have one final chance to add a payment plan after check-in through their smartphone app.


The card remains on file for a period of time determined by the user. For those who choose to add a card at or after check-in, United will only keep the information in their systems for the duration of the checked flight and will be removed within 12 hours of arrival. Travelers who decide to add their card to their MileagePlus profile will be able to use them across all United flights without the need to re-add information between trips. All receipts will be available on the United website.


United Moves to Make All Services Available on the App

The shift to going all digital is part of a bigger shift by United to put nearly every flyer resource in their smartphones. In 2021, the carrier added live customer support to their app, accessible by scanning a QR code at select airport locations.

nomad420 June 3, 2022

They took cash away years ago and I sort of got that but the not accepting CCs I think is a bit too far.  Just had friends who were not savy with UA fly from DEN to KOA, not a short flight, told that because they didn't set up there CC in the app they couldn't purchase anything.  They were given some water and nothing else (maybe they threw some peanuts at them).  While this may be "old news" for some it is not.  

Prof_Dr_G June 1, 2022

No problem! They don't sell anything that I would consider purchasing. That includes tickets.

hfb606 June 1, 2022

This is how Cortez works 9or doesn't work).  All he does is parrot weeks old stories that he's  heard of.  I don't think that he has written a current story in a few years. And he gets paid for it.  Nice job!

VegasGambler May 29, 2022

this is very old news

macssam May 28, 2022

you still need to enter your PW on these filty pads