Can You Buy a Plane Ticket With Cash?

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Most people these days buy airplane tickets through online portals. Consequently, the mode of payment is also digital. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot buy a plane ticket with cash. 

It could be that during travel in a foreign land, you are stuck in a situation with only cash in your hand and need to book flight tickets. The reason could be anything ranging from the discharge of the phone to the unavailability of the internet. 

So, if you are worried about being stuck in a situation like this, it’s essential to explore your options. Hence it is worth knowing that you can buy plane tickets through cash at the airport or via a travel agency.

However, the reason to know the possibility of paying by cash shouldn’t be limited to emergencies. There can be situations or offers where paying by cash instead of the digital portal can be more beneficial. If any of this intrigues you, read this article to know more!

Where can you buy plane tickets with cash?

The two main places where you can use cash to buy plane tickets are:

  • Airport ticket counters
  • Through travel agents or travel agencies

You can book tickets for domestic as well as international travel. However, be sure to carry identification documents with you, especially in the case of international flights. Apart from identity verification, you need to carry your Passport and Visa. 

This mode of payment is beneficial to some members of society. Usually, aged people who have trust issues with the online transactions of money prefer paying with cash. Moreover, some people prefer paying in cash in case they are trying to avoid online records of money transactions.

Requirements for buying plane tickets with cash

There are certain things you should keep in mind before you proceed to buy a plane ticket:

  • Carry a valid government-authorized photo ID card.
  • Find the correct terminal to reach the ticket counter of your choice of airline.
  • Then ask the staff for all the available options, or you can also do the research online before going to the airport.
  • To be able to book a ticket, the cashier will ask you for your ID proof.
  • After choosing a flight and buying the ticket, do not forget to carry the receipt with you.
  • You can either ask for a hard copy of the ticket or request them to send it to you electronically.

The rest of the formalities come on the day of the trip. This, again, includes getting a printout of the boarding pass 24 hours before the scheduled flight. Or, you could even get it on one of the kiosks on the day of your flight.

What will be the best place to buy a plane ticket with cash?

Now that you know two places where you can buy a plane ticket through cash, it’s time to explore other options. So now the primary question is whether the airport or a travel agency is the better for buying the ticket.

Technically speaking, an airport is the better option because you will receive authentic real-time information about your query. Moreover, you will be surrounded by more reliable airline staff to assist you with your needs.

However, booking through a travel agent is better if you are sick or do not want to go to the airport. You can ask them to visit your home while you tell them your flight preferences and give them the money. Later on, they can make the booking for you and give you the ticket.

Some important things to know about booking through the airport

Let’s say you have decided to buy a ticket at an airport through cash. But are you worried that you might lose your preferred seat? In that case, the good news is that airlines will allow you to reserve your seat via call. 

They will hold your seat only for 24 hours, after which it will be reallocated. Remember that even if you get your preferred seating, the price you are paying for the flight will be comparatively high.

This is because, through online booking, you can keep track of dynamic pricing and get better discounts. But in the case of cash payments, discounts are infrequent, and the fare is usually high.

Another reason is that most airlines allow buying tickets through cash only when the time between the booking and the departure is less. This time window of eligibility for booking through money is called the “lead time.” The range of this varies from 12 hours to 2 weeks. 

Consequently lesser the lead time more will be the price of the fair. Apart from this, you should also know that the stringency of security checks usually increases with the involvement of cash payment. 

However, this is primarily applicable if you buy an expensive flight ticket to a foreign country with strict rules.

Two scenarios when you should buy tickets through cash

Most of the time, you will get better discounts while booking online. But there are unique scenarios where payment in cash will fetch you a better offer. These scenarios are:

Special Discount for cash payment booking

Sometimes airline ticket pricing software acts up and, as a result, quotes low prices within a time frame. In such scenarios, lower award ticket pricing is not available. So instead of using award points, you should use cash to maximize profit.

Frequent Flier benefits through cash payment 

The chances of getting the benefits of frequent flights through a particular airline increase if you book tickets by cash. There might be some exceptions to this possibility, but most Airlines promote loyalty benefits based on cash payment.

Cons of buying Plane tickets using cash

By now, you know all about buying a plane ticket with cash, but before you make your decision, you should also be aware of the drawbacks. 

More stringent security checks

The chances of additional security checks increase when you buy a plane ticket with cash. This is because choosing this mode of payment is usually less preferred. Thus it is considered suspicious. 

The primary reason is that more people prefer paying through debit or credit cards. Therefore you might have to undergo additional screening or questions after booking a ticket through cash.

Limited venues of payment through cash

You may fetch better discounts through cash payment, or this mode of payment might be more convenient for you. But in both cases, payment through cash is limited or cumbersome sometimes.

Unforeseen restrictions

According to some regional rules and regulations, you might encounter random limitations with cash booking of lights. This might vary from place to place or not even be an issue.

The chaos of finding the ticket counter

Finding the correct airport and the right terminal just to get to your ticketing counter can be hectic. Even after that, you’ll have to look for that particular cash counter that deals in non-online modes of payment.

For example, even for booking a flight ticket in person, most cash counters use electronic gadgets to register your booking. This means they prefer debit or credit cards as a mode of payment and not cash.

You can even encounter a situation where you find the right ticketing counter, but it’s closed now. Therefore there is no surety of finding the exact detail of the functionality of these counters online.

If you plan to buy tickets in person, your best bet is to call the airline’s customer service and ask for all the information you need.

Limited options in booking through cash

With technological advancement in the airline industry, the staff appointed for ticketing has been reduced. This is a cost-effective method of handling the aviation business. Therefore most companies prefer investing in hiring staff for other responsibilities.

As a result, you will come across a number of flight options offering you to book tickets through cash. 

The inconvenience of physical presence

In most scenarios, you will have to be physically present while buying tickets offline. Moreover, if you’re buying multiple tickets, then the people those tickets are for must also be present. 

The additional hassle of traveling to the location comes with the need for ID verification. This might not be applicable during every booking, but it is a necessity depending on the country or region you want to travel to.

Can you use cash for payments inside the flight?

The option to pay in cash while traveling on a flight depends on the airline company. For example, some companies have strict policies for cash payments while others like dealing with the turn transactions digitally. 

Similarly, depending on the type of item you are trying to buy will decide the mode of payment. For example, for smaller items such as food or beverages, cash payment is usually available. But in case you want to buy costly items such as speakers or earphones, online payment is preferable.

The acceptable mode of payment also depends on the crew. Some of them are more comfortable dealing with cash, while others find handling online payments more manageable.

What are other payment modes available other than cash?

The only way you can analyze the possibility of cash payment is after considering the suitability of other options. So before you decide to buy a plane ticket with cash, be aware of these alternatives:

  • Travel voucher or credit
  • Through debit cards and credit cards 
  • Visa Gift cards
  • Travel miles and loyalty points
  • Traveler’s cheque
  • Through net banking
  • Digital pocket apps

However, the preference and payment mode options depend on the airline company. You can find the available options on their official website. But one constant requirement for ticketing using any portal is ID verification.

You can buy a travel airline ticket using any of these means. Read on to know how to go about the process using some standard alternative payment modes.

Booking a ticket using a travel voucher or credit

There are a few case scenarios where you are eligible to use your travel voucher or credit:

  • You plan to postpone your travel plans due to a select sellout of tickets for a particular airline
  • You had to cancel prepaid tickets due to a change in plans 
  • Both of the above reasons

However, before relying on a voucher or credit, ensure it’s still valid. Though if your airline company credits you some points as a reward due to their shortcoming, it is usually valid until your next purchase. In some cases, the validity is year-wise. 

For example, your flight was canceled due to technical issues, and you got a call regarding this. In most cases, they would ask you what you want to do. You can either ask them to cancel your booking or be okay with a later travel date.

If you want to cancel your booking, you will get your money back through the same portal you paid. Or, your money will be credited as points or airline website wallet till you have to make another booking.

Booking travel ticket using a debit card

A debit card is one of the most common payment portals besides cash. Debit cards are easy to use and carry everywhere, although you must ensure that your card is valid and from a reliable company. 

Airline authorities deal with cross-country rules and regulations, which increases the level of strictness. That is why they usually accept only major play-recognized debit cards. Moreover, it also depends on the airline company as to which debit cards they accept.

You can go through the checklist below to ensure your credit card is applicable for ticketing.

Credit network alliance

To check the eligibility of your card, you need to ensure it bears the logo of one of these major companies:

  • Bluebird by American Express
  • MasterCard or Visa
  • Discover

It could be that your debit card is affiliated with one of these significant companies but still doesn’t have a logo. This means that the maximum use of your card is for ATMs and not eligible for buying tickets.

Sufficient amount on your card

Before using your debit card to buy a plane ticket, make sure it has sufficient funds. If you fall short of money while getting a reservation, your payment will not be completed. 

This gives rise to a very complicated situation: either your ticket will be canceled, or you’ll have some money stuck in the transaction. Even though you will get your money back in a few business days, the situation is still anxiety-inducing.

In some scenarios, your bank might cover the remaining fees, but there is a chance that later on, you will have to pay a bigger debt.

Credit card versus debit card

Some airline companies might accept debit cards without any significant company logo, such as MasterCard. But this has its drawbacks, as random debit cards don’t cover you for unforeseen situations.

However, if you have made the payment through a debit card with the logo of emacs or MasterCard, your situation is better. For example, if a company shuts down or the flight gets canceled indefinitely, the recovery of the amount is more accessible through a recognized company’s debit card. 

In such scenarios, your visa and all MasterCard debit cards make you eligible for the refund of the unused amount. Similarly, in the case of a credit card, you get 60 days to file for a full refund. You cannot expect this level of protection from a random debit card in the case of an unauthorized amount of debt.

Moreover, for payment with a Debit Card vs. a credit card, you should know that both of them do not include any additional charges.

Procedure of payment

Using a debit card for payment is similar to trying to withdraw money from an ATM. All you have to do is to log in to an online Airline website or call customer service. Then they will ask you for a three-digit code on the back of your debit card. 

Apart from this, you will have to input your 16-digit debit card number. Note that when you use a debit card to make a purchase, you will not be required to use your social security number.

Buying a plane ticket with a gift card

Buying a plane ticket with a visa gift card is similar to using a credit card to book a ticket. As long as you have sufficient funds, this is all you need to do:

  • You need to log in to the Airline website where you want to book a ticket. You can also navigate other vendors or aggregator websites for the same—for example, Travelocity or Priceline.
  • Then fill in the other details such as travel dates, departure and arrival cities, number of passengers, etc.
  • Then, you will be able to see the flight options. Depending on your convenience, you can choose one.
  • Finally, you will be able to see the option of checkout and book tickets. 
  • Here, you will be asked to provide basic details such as name, email ID Proof, phone number, the preferred mode of payment, etc. 
  • Once you have chosen the option of a gift card as your preferred mode of payment, you need to fill in the PIN and the 16-digit card number.

That’s it. By clicking submit, your transaction will be complete.

Final words

Even if technology has taken over the world, many people prefer using old payment methods. This is a matter of personal choice and comfort. This is why almost all the airlines have kept the option of payment through cash open. 

However, it’s always wise to weigh all your pros and cons before choosing a payment method. In most cases, online payment will land you better pricing. But there are moments or situations where cash payment can assist your needs better.

Finally, no matter what option you choose, always try to browse the ongoing status of the airline company. If you are uncomfortable with surfing the net, give the airline customer care a call to clear all your queries!

Read More

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  2. Can You Transfer a Plane Ticket to Someone Else?
  3. How Far Out Can You Book a Flight?
  4. What is an Open Air Ticket? How to book it?
  5. How to Add Plane Tickets to Apple Wallet
Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

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