UPDATED 13:30 EDT / JULY 22 2014

AirBaltic becomes the first airline to accept Bitcoin

small__9248998739It’s a fact that you can now travel the world using Bitcoin. Expedia allows you to book hotel rooms; affordable plane tickets can be purchased using Bitcoin on Cheap.Air.com; and BTCTrip allows you to plan your whole vacation using the cryptocurrency. And now, for the first time, an airline has started accepting Bitcoin payments.

A Reddit user noticed that airBaltic, dubbed “Latvia’s National Airline,” has a Bitcoin for payment option which led to another user to contact the airline on Twitter to inquire if this is true. airBaltic confirmed it with a photo of the payment option on Twitter.

This might be a way for airBaltic to entice the Bitcoin community to travel with them, as its enthusiasts tend to fall over themselves to worship any large company that adopts the digital funny money.

However, SiliconANGLE notes that Bitcoin lovers might not be able to save much money on credit card fees. airBaltic charges a standard €5.99 fee when tickets are purchased using a money order or a standard credit card, and for some reason the same fee applies when you use Bitcoins to purchase your ticket. The only way for consumers to get a discount on their fare is by applying for and using an airBaltic credit card. But then again, if you do happen to be in Latvia for whatever reason, you won’t need to bother changing dollars into Latvian Lat to buy your ticket.

In any case, airBaltic’s move will hopefully encourage more airlines to start accepting it as payment, which will provide travellers with more options to pay for their tickets.

Hail, Bitcoin!


In another travel-related Bitcoin byte, Jay Bergman, the CEO of taxi app Hailo, has announced that Bitcoin can greatly benefit taxi drivers and passengers as it can provide an easier way of settling fares. Unlike others that use a service that converts Bitcoin payment to fiat currency, Bergman wants Bitcoin to be transferred directly from the passengers to pay for their cab fares.  It will either be paid directly to the driver, who will receive it in his Bitcoin wallet, or to the Bitcoin wallet of the taxi service in question.

Bergman said that his company’s been looking for ways to provide benefits to its drivers and using Bitcoin is seen as one of the most viable options. He explained that most of their drivers send money home and spend significant amounts on remittance fees. Therefore, by paying drivers Bitcoin, they can then send their remittances directly to their family anywhere in the world, without paying absurdly high fees.

No news yet as to when Hailo will start accepting Bitcoin payments, as the company is still looking at the best way to implement it.

photo credit: markyharky via photopin cc

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