AirBaltic Becomes the First Airline to Accept Bitcoin for Flight Booking

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by Polina Chernykh · 2 min read
AirBaltic Becomes the First Airline to Accept Bitcoin for Flight Booking
Latvia's national airline AirBaltic will become the first airline in the world to accept bitcoins as payment for services. Photo: Bombardier Aerospace/Flickr

AirBaltic announced that it started accepting bitcoin payments for tickets.

Latvia-based airline airBaltic announced via Twitter that it will accept bitcoin payments for tickets. The firm will become the first airline company in the world that integrated digital currencies.

The company’s website has been providing the service since July 17th. airBaltic confirmed the news when answering to one of the Twitter user under Club Alpaca nickname.

Martin Gauss, airBaltic CEO, said: “airBaltic has been ranked among TOP 10 most innovative airlines globally. Introducing the Bitcoin payment option is a part of our innovative approach to service with a central focus on our customer.”

The company also partnered with Bitpay processing firm that converts bitcoin into fiat currencies.

The representative of the airline in Riga, Latvia, said the option will be available for the cheapest basic class fares only. airBaltic will accept bitcoin for tickets to 60 destinations in CIS, Russia, Middle East and Europe.

Although other travel services firms have started using digital currency this year, airBaltic is likely to become the first airline.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson announced last year that his space flight venture Virgin Galactic will start using bitcoin and two months later seven people paid for tickets in the cryptocurrency and were confirmed for the flight. The entrepreneur is a founder of Virgin Group, which includes over 400 companies.

Those people who use digital currency to pay for travel services, will have to spend EUR 5.99 on transaction fee. Still, air carrier noted that the fee was included for separate handling charges, not for bitcoin processing.

In June, travel services firm Expedia announced that it will accept bitcoin for hotel bookings. According to the company, the response was much better than it predicted. Still, Expedia did not provided specific numbers.

In November last year, CheapAir, an American online travel agency, started accepting bitcoin payments for flight bookings. Since then, the firm enlarged its services by increasing railway offerings and the number of partner hotels to 200,000. The firm has recently revealed that its overall bitcoin sales amounted to USD 1.5 million.

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Polina Chernykh

Polina is an undergraduate student at Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU) where she is studying at the faculty of International Business Communication for a degree specializing in Intercultural Communication. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, music and travelling.

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