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Dear Urban Diplomat: Can Porter Airlines really demand that I pay for food with my credit card instead of cash?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was flying to Montreal on Porter Airlines recently, and when I went to the ­terminal snack bar to grab a chicken wrap for my pregnant wife, the cashier rejected my $10 bill. “Oh, sorry,” she said. “We don’t take cash.” I half-expected Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind the almonds dispenser. Cash, the transactional medium that predates Jesus Christ by 700 years, not welcome? I threw a mini-fit, during which I might have taken J. C.’s name in vain, which in retrospect wasn’t so dignified. But seriously, can they do that?

—Flying off the Handle, Upper Beach

There’s no law that governs how a merchant can ask to be paid. Porter could, if they wanted, demand payment in bottle caps, Pogs or petition signatures supporting C-Series jets. Your recourse would be to switch to another airline, where, no doubt, you’ll be equally outraged by the price of a thimble-size glass of chardonnay or some other egregious gouge. A better way to handle the situation? Silently, and with a grudging acceptance of our digital future.

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