Due to the demand coming from its clients, CheapAir, an online travel agency, decided to amplify the cryptocurrency payment options by accepting Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash. The travel agency already accepts Bitcoin for flight and hotel reservations.
The announcement was made a few days ago on the official website of CheapAir. According to the published information, the three cryptocurrencies most requested by the clients in the previous six months were added, which makes CheapAir one of the few travel agencies that accept these cryptocurrencies. The announcement says: “Over the last 12-18 months, interest in digital currency has grown substantially, sparking the growth of a number of offshoot currencies. Many of these were developed to avoid or improve upon some of the shortcomings or challenges that have emerged with Bitcoin as the network has become stressed with higher transaction volumes. In different ways, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash all promise improved transacatability than their predecessor, with faster transaction times and/or lower fees.”
Moreover, the company explains it can guarantee lower rates and faster transaction time with the integration of new payment options. This is because the Bitcoin blockchain network sometimes becomes congested, which makes the whole process longer and more expensive. Jeff Klee, the CEO of CheapAir, said the process of adding new cryptocurrency payment options was relatively easy, due to the previous experience with the Bitcoin payments. The travel agency started accepting Bitcoin back in 2013. Klee said: “Our cryptocurrency customers tend to be very vocal about what they want, something we appreciate very much. Over the last six months, we’ve seen a huge uptick in the number of customers requesting alternative currencies, so we’ve worked hard to integrate the three that were most requested. We already had the plumbing in place to make digital currency payments work seamlessly for our customers and suppliers. That made adding Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash a relatively minor endeavor for our development team, but a huge benefit for our crypto customers.”
Nevertheless, the CEO of CheapAir admits that one of the obstacles they encountered during the process of integrating the new cryptocurrencies, is that these cryptocurrencies needed to be exchanged to fiat money in order to make payments to some providers that still do not accept digital payments. Even so, Klee says the cryptocurrencies remain an easy, comfortable and secure way to book flights.
As with all the flight reservations, the payments with cryptocurrencies are protected by the Drop Downback system of CheapAir. If the price of a certain flight goes down before the trip, CheapAir reimburses 100 US dollars to the client.
The company started evaluating the payments with Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash last April, when problems with the Bitcoin payment platform appeared. The problems were caused by the decision of Coinbase to suspend the custody services.
At the time, CheapAir informed the clients through its official blog and explained the custody service was used by the travel agency to process the payments with cryptocurrencies and exchange them for fiduciary currencies in order to pay the providers. As a solution, the CEO of CheapAir consulted the clients about their willingness to use wallets with the BIP70 protocol, with the goal of using the BitPay platform. At the same time, the company started performing tests with Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash.
Later in May this year, the travel agency informed the clients that Coinbase gave the company more time to perform the transition to the new system provided by BitPay. In the meantime, the platform provided by Coinbase was to be used to process the payments with bitcoins, while the company was looking for new options for the clients that did not have BIP70 wallets.
CheapAir is operating from the United States of America and is one of the few travel agencies that accept cryptocurrencies as a method of payment, although this number is constantly growing. Some of the other agencies that accept cryptocurrencies are Destinia, Expedia, Travelforcoins, Abitsky and BTCtrip, but the majority of them only accept Bitcoin as a method of payment. The exception is BTCtrip. This travel agency accepts payments with Litecoin and Dogecoin as well.
The use of cryptocurrencies for the transactions in the tourism sector is growing since 2013, when the agencies, hotels and transportation providers started incorporating cryptocurrencies as an alternative to the traditional payment methods. However, the number of companies operating in the tourism sector that still use the traditional payment methods is still high.