My son goes to university up north. Every time we want to bring him home for breaks, I look into a few travel options: flights (convenient but pricey), coach bus (cheaper but less pleasant for him), or driving the eight hours each way (ugh). This week, I decided to look into buying a return flight for him using bitcoins.
Using BTCTrip.com was pretty simple. I’ve bought tickets on Expedia and CheapOair many times in the past so I’m used to buying airline tickets online. The user experience on BTCTrip is similar to these sites so the whole experience felt very familiar. For someone like myself, who is just starting to get into buying things with bitcoins, this familiarity made me feel comfortable with the process.
When I landed on the colourful BTCTrip.com site, there were the familiar info fields: to, from, dates of travel, number of passengers etc. When I compared the price of the plane ticket to the ones being offered on CheapOair, I was pleased to see that the prices were indeed cheaper. Bonus: My teenaged son can sleep in – there was a flight available for the middle of the day! (He’d have had to roll out of bed and trek out to the airport by 7:00am with CheapOair for the same price!)
I also looked into the price of a hotel stay on New Year’s Eve in Montreal so he and his brother could go catch a IIHF World Junior hockey game. Like other online hotel booking services, I could sort by hotel amenities and locations. There were plenty of options and I was able to find a room in our price range. So far, so good!
Once I purchased my flight, there was a brief, disconcerting moment as I got an email saying that they hadn’t been able to process my payment yet. I eventually realized that the delay was due to the confirmation process – of course – but it would have been helpful if that bit of explanation had been included in the alert, especially for those of us who are still learning the ins and out of bitcoin. The good thing was that customer service sent me a prompt and friendly reply.
Shortly thereafter, my e-ticket arrived and I forwarded it to my son. Excellent! It’s easy to see why BTCTrip has so many endorsements on their site.
Later that same evening, Martin Fernandez, founder and CEO of BTCTrip, was the guest speaker at the Decentral Meet-up in Toronto. He was very enthusiastic about the future for the online travel industry. He sees a day when the blockchain and smart contracts will play a major role in booking flights and hotels, where consumers can use online services like BTCTrip to cut out layers of middlemen and make bookings themselves. When these sorts of transactions are possible, he predicts that the costs of travel will decrease significantly for consumers.
Now that I’ve had my first pleasant experience buying airfare with BTCTrip.com, I only hope that these exciting new advancements will happen before my daughter starts university as well, in a couple of years!