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.
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.