Blockchain-based Irish Platform Wants to Ensure that Airline Passengers Get Compensated

A start-up in Ireland is hoping to transform the relationship between airlines and their passengers through their blockchain-based app.


Traveling by plane is all fun and games until your flight gets canceled or delayed. Depending on the airline, affected passengers may also struggle to get their refund or even notification that their flight won’t be on time. An Irish start-up hopes to solve both of these issues through blockchain technology and virtual currencies.

Blockchain and Tokens to Make a Difference

According to the Irish Times, the Travacoin app will not only allow passengers to be notified as soon as there is a change in the flight plan but will also assist in expediting compensation, in the form of tokens, if they require it. These tokens, in turn, can be used as a form of payment at stores or even hotels in and around the airport.

The founder of the platform, Brian Whelan, may not have any disruptive industry experience but he does have plenty of aviation industry knowledge. He discussed what impact his app could have on customer satisfaction:

Airlines could contact passengers and inform them that they have both good and bad news. The bad news is the flight is delayed for a few hours but the good news is that we’re going to give you a couple of hundred euros in tokens right now. The result for passengers is that don’t have to fight with airlines to get compensation. Furthermore, they could also be offered discounts by other partners to encourage them to spend those tokens in or around the airport.

Whelan has previously worked at companies that assisted affected passengers in obtaining any refunds, taxes or other types of compensation that were due to them because of previously canceled or delayed flights.

While no company wants to voluntarily part with their cash, Whelan believes that due to consumer awareness, airlines will soon be forced to give their customers what’s due to them. He explained:

Awareness of passengers’ rights has grown from less than 1 percent in 2008 to about 10 percent, according to the European Consumer Centre. This has resulted in real payouts, which hurt airlines’ balance sheets.

Blockchain

Canvassing for Contributions

Even so, Whelan’s initiative received recognition at the 2016 Passenger Innovation Awards at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Passenger Symposium. The founder then went on to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) but has bigger plans. Whelan is currently courting companies to invest in his platform in order to develop a comprehensive version of the app that can, hopefully, be used by the aviation industry. However, innovation and growth don’t come cheap. Whelan is hoping to raise about $1.7 million to realize his dream.

He touched on how his completed app could impact the industry:

Our selling point for would-be investors is that this business plan works not just for flight disruption but far beyond this. If we can make it work for compensating passengers though we can then look at rolling it across the aviation ecosystem.

Blockchain is no stranger to the aviation industry. Live Bitcoin News has previously reported that many airports and airlines are looking at the technology has a solution to streamlining certain processes.

Do you think that Travacoin has a good idea? Will airlines come on board with this initiative? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pixabay and Shutterstock.

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Air France-KLM Partners with Winding Tree to Bring Blockchain Benefits to Travelers

Air France-KLM have announced that it will be exploring the potential benefits that blockchain technology can bring to its business model. The air travel giant will be working with Winding Tree to bring increased efficiency and savings to both customers and businesses alike.Can Blockchain Bring Savings to Airline Users?According to a press release from Winding Tree, the startup, which founded in 2017, will be working with Air France-KLM to bring the blockchain technology to the travel industry giant’s business practices.The French airline will be using the firm’s business-to-business platform. It is believed that the increased efficiency and transparency afforded by blockchain technology will translate into savings for both users and the companies the carrier works with.The release goes on to state that Air France will be responsible for testing the platform, which Winding Tree has been working on in its short history. Sonia Barrière of Air France-KLM commented on the partnership, as well as the company’s expectations from it:“We are proud to be one of the first airline groups to join Winding Tree to develop blockchain technology… With a long-standing commitment to innovation with startups and partners, Air France-KLM is constantly creating the future of travel and devising solutions to make the travel experience easier and more personalised.”The partnership, announced today, further highlights the French airline’s commitment to exploring innovative technologies. Along with the blockchain, the firm is developing improvements using machine learning and artificial intelligence. These include chatbots and baggage tracking services.Pedro Anderson, the founder of Winding Tree, also commented on the partnership. He outlined his company’s commitment to improving the traveler’s experience by using blockchain technology, and expressed excitement to be working with one of the industry’s biggest names.Winding Tree describes itself as a “blockchain-based, decentralised, open-source travel distribution platform.” Its goal is to create savings for both the users of established travel services and the companies providing them. Those behind the company also believe that the technology can allow smaller firms to compete with industry giants. This leveling of the playing field should promote greater competition and result in increased benefits for both users and companies.Air France-KLM is not the first airline carrier to look into the benefits of blockchain technology to increase efficiency.In July 2017, Russia’s S7 introduced a blockchain ticketing system making it easier for the firm to allocate tickets through various agents.  Fellow Russian airline, Aeroflot, also made several proposals for blockchain systems in their own business model last summer. It is unclear how these have developed since their time of announcement, however.Featured image from Shutterstock.

Cathay Pacific Airlines to use Blockchain for rewards program

Hong Kong based airlines Cathay Pacific is set to use blockchain for their rewards program Asia Miles, in collaboration with Accenture. Air Miles will be issued on a distributed ledger to let airline partners and customers manage it efficiently in real-time.

The new product will first be used in their mobile app, ‘Unlock more miles’. Cathay Pacific customers will be able to spend their Air Miles within a day of receiving them with multiple dining options in Hong Kong.

According to an official statement from Cathay Pacific, they said “The beauty of this initiative is that it helps improve business efficiency minimizing back-office administration. By harnessing blockchain technology, the Cathay Pacific Group and Asia Miles are providing Asia Miles partners a single data source when managing account activity. This allows Asia Miles, partners and members a near real-time ability to manage rewards.”

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This is not the first time an airline has used Blockchain. Early this year, Singapore Airlines announced a partnership with Microsoft to launch a Blockchain loyalty wallet app for frequent flyers.

Lawrence Fong, the General Manager IT Solutions for Cathay Pacific said “Cathay Pacific is committed to benefiting customers through innovation and technology. We are pleased to partner with Accenture and we will continue to leverage its technology to develop more applications that our customers value. As a start, we are very excited by the first offering resulting from our co-operation – the marketing campaign launched by Asia Miles which we expect to be well received.”

Air Asia also announced their Blockchain ambitions last month with a new Cryptocurrency and an ICO for it. German airline Lufthansa also announced a partnership with Swiss Startup, Winding Tree by participating in their ICO.

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An early Blockchain/Crypto enthusiast who has been a part of the scene for a long time.