ATLANTA - Next month, Delta Air Lines will tell its passengers that their cash is no longer welcome -- at least when buying food and drinks on domestic flights.

Atlanta-based Delta said it will accept only credit cards for onboard food and alcoholic drink purchases starting Dec. 1 on North American flights operated by Delta and its Twin Cities-based merger partner, Northwest Airlines.

There are some exceptions: The policy change does not affect Delta Connection and Northwest Airlink flights operated by regional carriers such as Mesaba Airlines, and Delta will take cash or credit cards on international flights.

With the move, Delta joins many other airlines that have gone to "cashless cabins" -- including AirTran, American and United.

For in-flight food and beverage purchases, Delta flight attendants will use hand-held credit card readers. The airline recently added the devices to aircraft it acquired with Northwest.

The change to cashless comes as many consumers are trying to cut back on their use of credit cards. But Delta said in a message to customers that the move will help to "expedite our onboard payment process."

Accepting only credit cards also allows airlines to cut the need for flight attendants to handle and account for cash collected from passengers.

But what about passengers without credit cards? Delta spokesman Paul Skrbec said children flying with Delta's unaccompanied minors program can get complimentary snacks.