SNAFU - Delta credit only meals

Remember when airlines cut out meals on flights on short-hauls, followed by long-haul domestic flights?

Imagine what would happen if you weren't able to eat on a flight, even if you had low blood sugar, for the singular reason that you forgot your credit card.

Delta's decided to do away with cash on all domestic and select international routes (including Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas). So if you don't have a credit card, or if your credit card is declined, you won't eat.

The idea sounds good, but the practicality is somewhat different. Let me use an example from my own recent experience.

I fly Delta. I fly Delta frequently.

I fly Delta frequently enough that I'm what they consider a Platinum Medallion, which means that I'm in a position to often get upgraded to First Class on most coast-to-coat domestic flights.

Yet, in this particular instance, I would have been subjected to the inability to eat from LAX to ATL, at least a four-hour flight.

I ended up in LA without my credit cards, but didn't notice it until I landed on my flight from Atlanta, mainly because I was bumped to First Class and didn't have to reach for my non-existent wallet to buy a meal.

After being on the ground for three days, two of those over a weekend, I was unable to get a replacement credit card before my return flight. I also needed to subsist on what I had in my pocket, until Monday morning, when I could visit a bank branch and verify my identity (with my passport, of all things).

The return flight from LA to Atlanta was full enough that I didn't end up in First Class, so I had to use the last $8 in my pocket to buy food on the plane (I'd withdrawn what the bank would let me, but had to pay for a hotel, etc.)

If that event had taken place anytime after December 1, 2009, I would not be able to even buy a meal.

That would not have been acceptable for reasons of both well-being and health.

Think, Delta, think! Do you want to lose frequent fliers just because you choose to disengage from cold hard cash?