More airlines are letting flyers buy perks with plastic, hoping it will speed up service and save money. American Airlines is the latest to sell meals by credit or debit, but others are way ahead: JetBlue, Alaska Air and Virgin America are already cashless. Nixing cash sales will ease the burden on already overworked attendants, one analysts says: "That has to save bazillions of dollars."
Big airlines are looking for ways to curb the downturn sparked by low-cost competition, and hope that plastic will help. They may even earn extra bucks by charging for items that are now free, but one expert says they better be careful: "There is a point of diminishing returns when passengers feel they are being nickel-and-dimed."