Colibra app pays travellers in crypto for delayed flights

Waiting for your flight at the airport just got a lot more exciting, as travellers can now be compensated with cryptocurrency payouts

Image of a white commercial airplane
The pandemic has made it incredibly challenging for airlines to operate

A startup based in Bulgaria is working on making travelers look at delayed flights as an opportunity to earn cryptocurrency.

The Colibra app has been offering travelers compensation, in fiat currency, for any flight delays experienced. While the app has been up since June 2019, it only recently added cryptocurrency as a payout option.

Since Bitcoin (BTC) is an extremely volatile asset, users have the option to either lock in on the price of BTC on the day that they register for their flight or on the day that they travel.

The app claims it is capable of guaranteeing a Bitcoin payout for any traveler using their services that has been delayed by one hour or more, regardless of the reasons behind the delay as provided by the airline.

According to the Colibra website, their mission is to ensure that the system surrounding flight delay compensations are more considerate of the air traveler.

“85% of all rightful claims are never paid. Furthermore, millions of passengers each year have their flights delayed less than 3 hours because airlines have no financial downside if your delay is up to 2 hours and 59 minutes,” the website reads.

This is made possible because using the Colibra app effectively shares your right to receive compensation. In exchange for 20% of what you are entitled to on delayed flights, the company takes a risk and sends travelers the compensation that is owed to them.

The company has also labeled itself as “a private collection of flight delay rights”.

“You invest your potential right to the fund and when a certain condition is met (say you have a one-hour delay) you get paid from the collective in 24 hours. The collective itself collects compensations from airlines which distribute to a lot more air travelers thus making the regulation fairer, easier and accessible,” Colibra explains.

The travel industry has been dealt a heavy blow due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly for airlines. Increased social distancing and monitoring measures have made it difficult for travelers to sustain their plans of taking international trips.

According to a new report from Moody’s Analytics, the best-case scenario for the commercial aviation industry is that it may continue to be devastated by the impact of COVID-19 until 2023 — assuming passenger demand is able to return to 2019 levels by the end of the projected year.