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United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

Hampshire
Level Contributor
4 posts
17 reviews
United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

Recently I travelled on business with UA to San Francisco. UA is well known for its limited service in economy and as my company has an economy only travel policy I had to accept what was given. I can put up with that. But what really gets me is the fact that you are forced to pay by card for beverages in flight and then each transaction attracts a £1.25 charge (which they dont tell you about). On the return flight I asked the stewardess what this was for and she told me it was because I was using a non-US card. I mean is this actually legal? Firstly restricting method of payment is bad enough but understandable as handling money is so out of date (sic) but hidden charges and charges to non-US card holders? Maybe its normal? What are other posters experience?

Baltimore
Level Contributor
178 posts
60 reviews
1. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

Are you sure that United is the one charging the fee? Many credit card companies charge a foreign transaction fee which is associated with a purchase from a business originating outside your home country and isn't a charge from the business at all. As the cardholder you've already agreed to the terms and would be responsible for knowing them. Check into it. If this turns out to be the case there are cards out there that do not charge foreign transaction fees and may suit your needs better when traveling abroad.

As for the cashless system I think you said it yourself. Most big businesses don't use cash. The company I work for stopped accepting it a decade ago because it too easily disappeared and invited would be thieves who knew we would have had large sums during certain timesof the month.

UK
Level Contributor
968 posts
13 reviews
2. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

Mick, it will be a charge from your credit card company and not United. Look at a site like moneysavingexpert and they normally can give advice on the best card to use.

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
Level Contributor
13,755 posts
291 reviews
3. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

Most major carriers have gone away from the labor intensive methodology of accepting cash on board. There's no way UA is charging you an additional fee. Talk to your credit card issuing bank. This is a normal and routine way to do business and it has improved the service capability of the airlines.

norfolk
Level Contributor
7,529 posts
33 reviews
4. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

i don't read it like that.

i read it, that the o.p. queried this charge with u.a. flight attendants. how would he even know about the charge - if his bank were making it?

i suspect that this charge is in addition to any charges his bank will make. and i have experienced this, and it stinks. no choice about payment type, then a surcharge imposed for paying. this is a low-cost carrier trick and is unworthy of u.a.

fight back mick!

pam

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10,638 posts
97 reviews
5. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

He knew about it by his return flight, I suppose because he looked up his transactions online? UA doesn't add this surcharge; it's his credit card company.

rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
Level Contributor
17,558 posts
65 reviews
6. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

Pam, perhaps the stewardess is intelligent and has come across this situation before?

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
22,613 posts
6 reviews
7. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

I'm also pretty sure this surcharge is imposed by the CC company and not United. BUT, it's a pretty nasty side effect of having to pay by plastic. UA charges for alcoholic beverages in economy, at I think $7 a drink. If for every $7 transaction you're slapped with a CC charge of £1.25 (about $2) that's not good. As I understand it, they won't run a tab for multiple drinks, which if paid in one transaction may only get one £1.25 charge.

OP - which card were you using? Was it a credit card or a debit card?

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
70,665 posts
11 reviews
8. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

Surely the remedy is simple: don't buy any food or drink on board. That is my response to airlines that charge for refreshments.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
22,613 posts
6 reviews
9. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

>> Surely the remedy is simple: don't buy any food or drink on board. That is my response to airlines that charge for refreshments.<<

Being a 1K has its perks. Those drinks chits come in mighty handy when I'm part of the pond scum in economy. :)

And frankly I wish UA would come into line with AA and DL and at least provide free beer and wine on TATLs. They do so on TPACs.

Madrid
Level Contributor
2,992 posts
7 reviews
10. Re: United Airlines - paying for beverages during flight

The easier way is to get a US $ prepaid card that many of the credit card companies offer,then load it with a few hundred dollars and have all the drinks you want.

I have the Avios card,it works well.