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How to Book a Flight Without a Credit Card

Want to learn how to book a flight without a credit card? Then you are in the right place. Continue reading to discover some unique ways to book flights without credit cards that you might not even know existed.

Although most people use credit cards to book their flights, today, we offer you some options. We’ll show you exactly how to book a flight without a credit card. Yes, that’s right! Credit cards are popular in the booking and purchase of air tickets, and it’s not without a valid reason.

From getting your money back in case something wrong happens to earning airline miles, or getting travel insurance coverage while using it, a credit card comes with multiple advantages.

However, it’s not the only way one can use to book a flight. There are several other ways that will still allow you to enjoy some of these benefits.

In that light, let’s get a glimpse of exactly how to book a flight without a credit card, and why you should try it out.

Ways to Book Flights Without Credit Cards

travel around the globe

Different payment methods have different benefits. Whether you are paying in cash or through a debit card, each method offers a myriad of benefits, as well as some setbacks.

You should note, however, that, although there are many ways to book a flight without that credit card, most airlines only allow electronic payments for the purchase of air tickets.

They don’t expect you to provide cash to pay for the ticket. If you wish to book, or make a flight reservation without a credit card, here is the best way to do it.

  1. Use Online Travel Agencies

Couple Talking to a Travel Agent

Online travel agencies have become quite popular in the air travel industry over the past years. Unlike in the past, when there were just a few large corporations in the industry, currently, there are even home-based travel agencies.

And this influx of travel agents has brought numerous advantages for customers. Most of these agencies will accept various payment methods for flight bookings and air tickets purchase.

You can pay for your tickets through online platforms like PayPal, use your debit card, or even a check. This means that you have more options now, and you don’t have to always use your credit card.

Since there are too many travel agencies in the market, they have to compete wisely, and this is one way they are using to attract and retain customers – offering options.

If you are planning a tour soon, you can check out our guide on the best sites for booking tours for more details.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Amsterdam, Netherlands

  1. Online Payment Methods by Carriers

Holding a Card and Using a Laptop

Quite often, many airlines through their online portals and websites also allow several online payment options. For instance, American Airlines allow the use of electronic checks in purchasing airline tickets.

However, you must provide details of an active, US-based bank account, and the routing number. Also, the personal data that you provide must have an address based in the US.

In other cases, some websites also offer other online payment options, including PayPal. All you have to do is to fill in the correct account information, and you are ready to make the purchase.

Don’t be constrained to the use of credit cards only – there are more, even easier options.

  1. In-Person Flight Booking

Buying Flight Tickets

Can you buy a plane ticket with cash? Yes, it’s possible. Although not widely used, cash booking for a flight is also a great option.

If you are not into online options, you can decide to book a flight with cash from the airline ticket selling centers. Some airlines, such as American Airlines, accept cash payments whether you visit their ticket offices at the airport or their travel centers.

You can also make your payment via Western Union, although this will depend on your airline. You must, therefore, confirm first if your favorite airline accepts such payments.

Other regional carriers such as JetBlue allow several other payment methods, including traveler’s checks, US money orders (Post Office, MoneyGram, or bank-issued), as well as personal checks.  All these payments must, however, be accompanied by personal identification.

  1. Using a Debit Card

book a flight via a debit card

A debit card can be used to purchase airfare, just like a credit card. But, for any debit card to qualify for the purchase, it must be affiliated with a major credit card.

This means that it must be either a Mastercard, Visa, or Discover card. A great option is something like the Sable Bank Account and Debit Card where you’ll still earn 1% cash back on your airfare purchase.

But how does a debit card work? When you want to book a flight with a debit card, here’s what you need to know:

  • Funds

Firstly, you must have sufficient funds in your bank’s checking account. This allows the merchant to deduct the air ticket amount directly from your account.

If your checking account has insufficient funds, then your purchase will most likely be denied. But if you qualify for an overdraft, your bank might pay the cost and charge it as an overdraft on your account.

  • Process

When paying via a debit card, you’ll be prompted to fill in your credit card details. However, since you’re not using a credit card, fill in the debit card details. The necessary details are your full name, active account number, debit card’s security code, and expiration date.

Since your debit card has a credit card affiliation, your secret PIN won’t be necessary. The purchase will be treated as credit, although the money will be deducted from your bank account.

  • Protection

Although a debit card is a great alternative to credit cards during air ticket purchases, you should note that it has its drawbacks. Unlike credit cards, most debit cards don’t offer protection for your money in case anything goes wrong. This is despite the card being affiliated with a credit card.

For instance, while a credit card protects your money and offers cashback if your flight gets canceled, or the company closes business, debit cards don’t. If you book with a debit card and such an event occurs, you’re likely to lose your money, unless the airline decides to reimburse you.

For such reasons, you should do your research and know whether the benefits of using that debit card, outweigh its risks. Remember, you might also not qualify for airline miles when you book your flight via a debit card.

See Related: Do Hotels Take Cash?

  • Fees

If you are worried about exorbitant charges while using a debit card, you shouldn’t. Airlines usually don’t charge any extra fee, just because you are using a debit card.

This means that whichever card you’re using, debit or credit, the air ticket amount remains the same.

See Related: Ways to Get Free Flights

  1. A Credit Account with the Airline

Sounds cool, right? Well, that’s because it is. Some airlines have credit programs that offer such as book now, pay later flights.

This is one way that you can make a flight reservation without payment and pay the amount later. But how does it work? First, you need to know if your favorite airline offers such programs.

Airlines like American Airlines, have a “Fly Now Pay Later” program, while that of JetBlue Airlines is called “the Bill Me Later” program. These are credit programs that enable eligible travelers to enjoy credit services, direct from their airlines.

During the online or physical air ticket purchase, a customer can enroll for a direct line of credit from the airline. However, one must qualify for the program, as per the airline’s requirements.  

The book flight pay later option, comes in handy, especially when you currently don’t have enough money on you, but needs to travel.

  • How to Reserve Flight Tickets Without Pay

In addition to direct credit with the airline, there are also some companies that give you a chance to fly and pay for the flight later. This approach is referred to as an alternative booking method.

The technique is designed to bear the burden of ticket cost for you, while you enjoy your trip and make the payment at a future date.

With companies such as Alternative Airlines and OneTravel, you don’t have to worry about paying for the air ticket immediately.

They give you a chance to travel and pay the amount in favorable installments.  With these companies, you can book your flight with almost any airline and enjoy your travel without pay.

See Related: Travel Hacking 101: Travel the World For Next to Nothing

  1. Use a Prepaid Card

prepaid card for flight booking

A prepaid card is also an excellent payment option for your air ticket. If you don’t want to use a credit card, and you can’t use a debit card, this will be a great alternative.

However, just like with a debit card, the prepaid card has to be affiliated with a major credit card network, such as Visa, American Express, or MasterCard.

Most banks will offer these prepaid cards, and you can buy them at various retail stores or online. Once you buy the card, you can easily use it to pay for that air ticket and take your vacation or business trip.

In addition, some airlines do sell gift cards that are redeemable for flights. Most of these cards are preloaded with specific amounts, and you can pay for them via cash, check, or debit card. Also, you can select the amount you want on the card before the purchase, depending on your travel needs.

So, can you book a flight with a prepaid card? The answer is definite, yes! You can buy a prepaid card and use it to reserve that flight. One thing you should be careful about, however, is the fees that come with these cards. You should ensure that you get value for your money.

Also, that card should contain the amount it purports to hold. You don’t want to get disappointed when buying a ticket, and the amount on the card is less.

See Related: Key Things to When Flying With Cash

  1. Online Banking

Online Bank

Online banking involves making online payments directly from your bank to pay for the air ticket. This is possible only for banks offering online banking services.

With the help of some companies like Chime, Aspiration Bank, or Klarna, you can easily book that flight without any delays. I personally like Aspiration due to its environmental practices which help offset my carbon footprint.

This is similar to direct deposit except that these companies make the whole process much more efficient. This means that you don’t have to forego the efficiency that comes with using a credit card.

With these companies acting as a medium, you can reserve your flight, whether with an airline or a travel agency. Such companies guarantee the amount of the ticket, ensuring that you get your ticket in time, without having to wait until your money gets to the merchant’s account.

As for the transaction fees, you will pay a nominal fee or even none, as most of these transactions are processed as debit transactions.

See Related: Best Credit Cards for Travel Perks


Despite the ease that comes with using a credit card when booking a flight, it’s not the only option you’ve got. Most airlines and travel agents have embraced multiple other payment methods to ensure convenience for their customers.

Therefore, if by any chance you can’t use your credit card but need to travel, you need not panic as there are alternatives that might even be better.

With this guide, you have more than enough options on how to book a flight without a credit card, and you should probably try one.

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