Can You Buy Plane Tickets With Cash?

Can You Buy Plane TIckets with Cash?

Even while an increasing number of airlines are moving away from allowing cash on board as a method of payment for products such as meals, movies, snacks, and beverages, you can still pay for your ticket with cash. 

However, it is more convenient to use other channels such as booking flights online or via a travel agent.

If you want to book a flight with cash, you can either order your tickets through a travel agent or purchase them at the airport that best suits your needs. 

Read on to explore how you can buy plane tickets with cash and a lot more.

Can You Buy Plane Tickets With Cash?

Yes, you can pay for a flight with cash. At the ticket desks of the various airports, all major airlines accept cash payments for domestic and international travel. A majority of travel agencies also accept cash payments if you wish to buy plane tickets with cash. 

However, if you choose cash as a payment method, it is likely that further identification verification steps will be required. 

This is because when you pay online, you already allow some part of the identity verification. However, when paying with cash, this does not happen. 

Therefore, you may be subjected to additional verification steps.

According to a study, a significant fraction of the world’s population would rather pay for their day-to-day purchases with cash than with a credit card. 

Some people opt to do so in order to avoid having their purchases recorded, while others choose to do so in order to track their spending and ensure they remain within their budgetary constraints.

Some individuals have the same approach when it comes to purchasing airline tickets: they would rather purchase a ticket with cash than use a credit card or other form of electronic payment. 

Read More: Can You Buy Plane Tickets At The Airport?

How To Buy Plane Tickets With Cash?

How To Buy Plane Tickets With Cash?

Credit: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash 

To buy plane tickets with cash at the airport, you will be required to present a government-issued photo identity card that was issued no more than six months prior to your travel date.

To buy a plane ticket with cash, you need to find the terminal at which the airline you wish to fly with has a ticket counter. 

Needless to say, there may be airports where the airline you wish to fly with has no ticket counter at all. 

Therefore, choose the airport where you can find a ticket counter for the specific airline before worrying about finding the terminal where the ticket counter shall be located.

Next, make your inquiry about the plane ticket and the pricing. 

Make payment for the plane ticket and ask the ticket handler for a receipt to save for future records. 

As an additional step, you may be required to provide identity proof, as mentioned before, depending on the airline you are purchasing the ticket for.

Once the verification is done, you can choose to collect the physical copy of your ticket or have it sent as a soft copy via email or other online forms.

That’s it. Next, you shall be required to print your boarding pass or download a soft copy as provided by the airline company.

The boarding pass is provided to the passengers usually 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.

Okay, so that’s all set! You bought a plane ticket with cash (or any other means), but what if you couldn’t make it on the day of your departure? In that case, can you transfer your plane ticket to someone else? Read this article to find out!

Should You Buy Plane Tickets With Cash At The Airport Or At An Agency?

When purchasing a flight ticket with cash, the airport will be the best location with the least amount of overall complications. It is also the place of the airlines’ customer service specialists, so you can contact them there if you have any concerns.

Should You Buy Plane Tickets With Cash At The Airport Or At An Agency?

Photo by Jue Huang on Unsplash

If you want your travel agent to aid you in selecting the flight at the most cheap price, you should communicate your needs with them.

What Else Should You Know About Buying Flight Tickets With Cash At The Airport?

You may call and reserve your seat over the phone with the airlines. After that, they will hold it for you for up to twenty-four hours. 

This will allow you can make the purchase in person at the ticket desk.

Using cash, however, will almost always incur an additional fee.

A majority of airlines also will require a minimum time window between the purchase of the flight ticket and the flight’s departure. 

Let’s understand this with an example:

Suppose an airline’s lead time (time window between the purchase of the flight ticket and the flight’s departure) is 12 hours.

This means you must purchase a flight ticket with cash at the airport for only those flights that are scheduled to depart at least 12 hours from the time you are making the purchase.

The required lead time could range from a few hours to two weeks before your departure, depending on the airline with which you are flying.

When you pay with cash, you increase the likelihood of further security checks. This is particularly important when purchasing an expensive ticket.

When Should You Buy Plane Tickets With Cash?

It is advisable to book flights with cash when you find a discounted airfare that can only be availed via cash payment. Another instance when it is ideal to a plane ticket with cash is when you wish to maximize your frequent flyer status.

If You Find A Discounted Airfare

Occasionally, airlines make unintentional pricing errors, creating a chance for customers to purchase tickets at a substantial discount during that time frame. 

In most instances, these erroneous fares do not result in lower award ticket prices. This is also true inside frequent flyer programs that utilize dynamic pricing, which is still another reason why these rates are not discounted. 

If you locate a terrific cash price to a destination that you would like to visit, but there is no comparable award pricing, you should purchase the ticket with cash rather than award miles so that you can take advantage of the fantastic cash price.

Are you wondering if it is cheaper to buy tickets at the airport rather than online? Read this article to find out!

Frequent Flyer Status

If you wish to maximize your chances of obtaining a frequent flyer status with the airline of your choice, you should generally purchase your tickets with cash rather than a credit or debit card.

Although there are notable exceptions to this norm, some airlines do present this offer. 

If you are attempting to accrue the required amount of qualifying dollars, miles, or segments, you will nearly always be required to pay cash for your ticket. 

This is true in the vast majority of instances.

Disadvantages Of Buying Plane Tickets With Cash

There are a number of drawbacks that cannot be overlooked when buying plane tickets with cash. These are:

  • Additional security checking
  • Random restrictions
  • Uncertainty of ticket counters
  • Ticket counters for selective flights
  • You can pay the cash-only at the airport

Let us discuss the same in detail below:

Additional Security Checks

When purchasing plane tickets, credit or debit cards are preferable over cash and other forms of payment. This is the primary point in opposition to buying plane tickets with cash. 

Because cash transactions are regarded as suspicious, it is likely that you will be subjected to a “random” screening if you make purchases with cash.

Random Restrictions

Airport ticket purchases are subject to a variety of restrictions of different severity. Nonetheless, despite the fact that the majority of them are enforced by regional authorities or specific airlines, they remain a thing.

Uncertainty Of Ticket Counters

Some airlines do not have cash counters in some airports because they use a different cashiering system than other airlines. 

Despite the fact that most airlines already have a ticket counter in place, some of them only offer services for credit cards and virtual forms of payment.

Also, there might be a possibility that the ticket counters of the airlines are not functional at some of the airports.

At certain airports, American Airlines or United Airlines passengers, for example, can only make purchases with cash. 

However, the exact details of the airports to which they allow cash payments are unfortunately not made abundantly evident on any of their websites.

At this time, calling the airline customer service is the best option available. 

Confirm with them over call regarding which airport counters they use for cash transactions and which airports they are available at.

Ticket Counters For Selective Flights

Keep in mind that many airlines only have counters equipped to handle issues and ticketing for a limited range of flights. 

The workforce at the airport also has a vast number of responsibilities to fulfill such as screening, checking in baggage, handling customer queries, etc.

Therefore, a number of ticket counters restrict purchasing tickets with cash in an effort to lessen the amount of labor required from the workforce at the airport. 

Assuming none of these restrictions apply to your case, you will only need sufficient funds, a valid form of identification, and unrestricted flying dates.

You Can Only Pay With Cash At The Airport

You cannot find the comfort or convenience of booking flights over the phone or online if you wish to make a cash payment.

Sure you can book your flight via phone or online and the airline shall hold a seat for you for a given time window.

However, to effectively complete the procedure of buying tickets with a cash payment, you will be required to present yourself in person at the airport counter or at one of your travel agent’s locations.

Can You Pay In The Flight With Cash?

There is an increasing trend among airlines to discontinue accepting any form of cash on board for in-flight transactions. These purchases may include food, beverages, movies, and other products. Therefore, depending on the airline, you may or may not be able to pay for the flight with cash.

The trend started with the outbreak of coronavirus. However, now, it is becoming more and more common for flights to make it mandatory to pay through virtual means for in-flight transactions.

How To Book Flight Tickets Without Cash?

You can book flight tickets without cash just as you do with cash. You will be required to pay through your preferred mode of payment (given it is accepted by the airline). The most common forms of payment, when made without cash, are using credit cards, debit cards, miles, etc.

There is also the option to pay using Western Union; however, the approval of this payment method is dependent on the airline’s policies.

Therefore, before the reservation, you must ensure that the airline of your choice accepts the payment method you plan to use.

In addition to taking personal checks and money orders from the United States Postal Service, MoneyGram, and other financial institutions, several smaller airlines, including JetBlue, also accept traveler’s cheques as an acceptable method of payment.

Nonetheless, a valid form of identification must be supplied in conjunction with each of these payments.

What Are The Other Methods Of Flight Payments Besides Cash?

When you book a flight, you have the option of paying with a variety of different payment methods in addition to paying with cash. These options include: 

  • Travel Voucher
  • Debit card
  • Visa Gift card
  • Credit card
  • Alternative payment

Why don’t we look into a few of those possibilities?

Can You Buy A Plane Ticket With A Travel Voucher Or A Travel Credit?

You may be eligible for a travel credit or voucher if you have offered to take a later flight on an oversold airline, canceled a cash-paid ticket, or both. Due to the fact that travel credits and vouchers have an expiration date, you should use them before it’s too long.

Typically, airline-issued gift cards do not have an expiration date.

Once a travel credit has reached its expiration date, it is typically impossible to prolong its validity. 

In contrast, the majority of airline programs or airline-issued gift cards do not have expiration dates for miles. If they do, they often also have the option to extend the validity of your miles.

Can You Buy A Plane Ticket With A Debit Card?

Can You Buy A Plane Ticket With A Debit Card?

Photo by on Unsplash

Yes, a plane ticket can be purchased using a debit card as long as your card bears the logo of a majorly accepted credit company such as Visa, you may use it to book a flight as long as it is valid.

Here is everything you need to know about buying plane tickets with a debit card:

Credit Affiliations

For a debit card to be compatible with a major credit card network, which is essential for airline ticket purchases, you must first be able to use a major credit card network. 

If the logo of a major credit card company such as Visa, MasterCard, or Discover appears on the front of your debit card, you can use it to purchase airline tickets. 

Nonetheless, some debit cards lack this logo. If your debit card is only affiliated with your bank and lacks a credit card logo, it is quite likely that the card’s primary function is to be used at automated teller machines (ATMs). 

These debit cards cannot be used for large expenditures such as buying aircraft tickets.


As with any other transaction involving a debit card, you must have sufficient funds in your payment account to cover the cost of the ticket for the sale to proceed. 

If there are insufficient money in your bank account, the ticket sale will not be processed.

In this case, either the transaction will be declined or your bank will cover the cost of the ticket but charge you an overdraft fee.


Some debit cards may not offer the same level of protection against unauthorized charges as credit cards. The Visa or MasterCard logo that appears on the front of your debit card may offer protection on travel.

However, you cannot expect the same protections if your trip is canceled or the airline goes out of business as you would with a Visa or MasterCard credit account.

For instance, if your flight is canceled because the airline goes out of business, you are entitled to a refund for any unused portion of your ticket. 

If you paid for your ticket with a credit card, you have up to sixty days from the purchase date to submit a chargeback request for the full amount. 

If you purchase your ticket using a debit card, you will be liable for paying the full price of the ticket regardless of whether the airline decides to issue a refund or not.


If you purchase your airline ticket with a debit card rather than a credit card, the airline will not apply any additional fees. Whether you pay for your ticket with a credit card or a debit card, you will be charged the same total amount. There will be no price adjustments.


A plane ticket can be purchased through any vendor that sells tickets, such as the airline’s phone service or a travel website. It is likely that you will also be asked to enter the three-digit security code that is printed on the back of your debit card. 

The full number of your debit card, which typically consists of 16 digits, must be provided. Due to the fact that your debit card can also be used to make credit purchases, you will not need to provide your Social Security number (SSN) when using it to make purchases (PIN). 

Even though the funds will be deducted from your checking account, the transaction will be handled as a credit, not a debit.

Can You Buy A Plane Ticket With A Visa Gift Card?

Due to the fact that a visa gift card can be used similarly to a credit card, it is feasible to use the card to book a flight online. This is as long as there is enough money on the card to cover the total cost of the purchase. 

Here is a detailed overview of how you can buy a plane ticket with a visa gift card:

  • Start by navigating online to the airline’s website, where you intend to make your bookings. You can explore Travelocity, Expedia, or Priceline for the same.
  • Select the city from which you will depart and the city to which you will go, as well as the date of your intended flight and the number of passengers who will be accompanying you.
  • Find the flight that meets all of your requirements the most, and then book it. There is frequently a vast number of alternative flights available, each with a different cost structure, layover duration, and total journey time. 

Despite the fact that this is not often the case, it is possible that flights that take significantly longer and have a greater number of stops will be the most cost-effective alternative.

  • Verify that all required portions of the reservation form are completed, including your name, email address, mailing address, and any other requested information.
  • Confirm that you have provided all essential billing information for the gift card. This contains both the expiration date of the card and the 16-digit number that is written on the front of the card. 

Please ensure that the delivery address for the gift card is put in the billing address field. Simply clicking the “Submit” button will use your gift card for the purchase of airline tickets.

Can You Buy A Plane Ticket With A Prepaid Debit Card?

A prepaid debit card can be used in the same manner as a standard debit card to book a flight. You need to ensure there are enough funds in your prepaid debit card to book the flight and then use it to make your reservation.

Here is a detailed (but general) overview of how you can book a flight with a prepaid debit card:

  1. Verify that your prepaid card has a suitable amount of funds by checking its balance.
  2. Use the search engine to find flights departing from and arriving at any location on any date based on your preferences.
  3. All the flights that are currently available for travel on the dates and to the locations that you have specified would be specified. Select the flight for which you wish to purchase tickets and continue with the purchase.
  4. On the following page, you will be asked to provide the passenger information required to purchase your ticket. Please include the correct details. 
  5. If you wish to pay with a debit or credit card, pick the “Debit and Credit Card” option when you reach the payment phase of the booking process. Select the debit card option supplied by the financial institution that issued your prepaid card initially. For instance, if you are paying using a Visa prepaid card, you should pick “Visa debit card” rather than “credit card” as your payment method.
  6. You should enter the details for your prepaid card the same way you would for a normal debit card. As soon as possible after you have completed the purchase procedure, your e-ticket would be sent to the email address you supplied, usually within seconds.

Using Alternative Booking Approach Via A Travel Company

In addition to giving a direct credit with the airline, there are various organizations that offer the option to travel and pay for the trip afterward. 

This is something you should consider when selecting a travel company to book your flight with. 

This strategy is referred to as an alternative booking approach when making reservations.

The plan is designed to relieve you of the financial pressure associated with the cost of the tickets. This can help you focus on enjoying your vacation and make the payment later.

When working with certain travel firms, you will not be required to pay for your aircraft ticket immediately.

They let you go on vacation while allowing you to spread out the payments for the total expense, making it more manageable. 

If you book your flight ticket via such companies, most often you won’t have to pay anything to book a flight with almost any airline. You can, however, still enjoy your trip to the fullest degree.

Read More: Can You Transfer Your Plane Ticket To Someone Else?

Can You Split Payment For Buying Flight Tickets?

The majority of airlines do not allow split payments for buying flight tickets. Most airlines such as United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, etc, do not allow split payment for buying flight tickets. However, JetBlue and Spirit allow split payments for buying flight tickets.

The practice of “dividing” the cost of a flight into installments that are paid over a period of weeks or months is known as “split payment.”

If you pay for your flight in installments over a period of time, regardless of how regularly you make payments, this is considered a split payment. 

You have the option of returning it weekly or monthly over a longer length of time, as opposed to repaying it in just a few days. This is in addition to the option of making a lump-sum payment.

When it comes to purchasing an airline ticket or multiple airline tickets, the majority of airlines under no circumstances permit split payments. 

Despite this, a few airlines allow passengers to pay for their plane tickets in installments as opposed to paying a lump sum at once. 

JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are the only airlines that allow consumers to pay for their tickets in installments. Cards such as credit cards, debit cards, prepaid debit cards, and gift cards can be authorized for usage. 

To make a reservation using two distinct payment methods, however, you will need to phone the airline, as none of them can handle this request online.

Which Airlines Allow Split Payments For Buying Flight Tickets?

The following airlines allow the option of split payment:


JetBlue Airlines

Photo by Lukas Souza on Unsplash

For JetBlue flight reservations, you have the option to pay in installments. However, if you make your reservation online, you will never be able to make split payments.

If you wish to pay for your JetBlue ticket with several payment methods, you must contact the company’s customer service at (800) 538-2525. 

JetBlue will only take a maximum of two different payment methods per reservation, so make sure you prepare properly. 

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines permits split payments for airline reservations and vacation package purchases; however, split payments cannot be performed online. 

You must call Spirit’s customer service number, (801) 401-2222, and explain that you wish to schedule a new reservation but pay for it in two separate payments. 

To accomplish this, you must have a credit card on hand. When making a reservation with Spirit, you may only use a maximum of two separate payment methods at any given moment.

Which Airlines Don’t Allow Split Payments For Buying Flight Tickets?

The following airlines do not allow making split payments:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Allegiant Air
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • United Airlines


In determining whether it is more advantageous to book with cash or other payment methods, a variety of factors may come into play. Considerations include your desire for flexibility, the relative cost of the tickets, and even your company’s accounting standards.

You will be able to book the most cost-effective flight if you have a basic understanding of how airlines price awards. You should also have a basic understanding of the degree of flexibility offered by cash and award tickets

Ensure to check prices before making your reservation. This will allow you to book your flight in the most advantageous method possible, be it with cash or using other methods.


Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

View all posts by Swati Jaiswal →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *