Argentinian ‘ultra low-cost’ carrier, Flybondi, recently announced that it would open a passenger marketplace by enabling a feature allowing resale of tickets between consumers on its website. The launch will be in the domestic market, with international ticket resales to follow.
The resales will be made available through the Ticket 3.0 platform, developed by the Buenos Aires-based Flybondi with the collaboration of the technology company TravelX, an NFT (non-fungible token) ticketing company. (A non-fungible token is a unique cryptographic token that exists on a blockchain and cannot be replicated.)
In March, in partnership with TravelX, Flybondi began issuing tickets as NFTs. The Ticket 3.0 platform has enabled customers to rename, gift or transfer tickets since that time, with no human intervention.
Ticket 3.0 is already in use by the airline, allowing users to change a name, transfer or give away their tickets. It will now add the resale option. The airline has said this will make it the first airline in the world to give its customers this level of flexibility.
Flybondi pointed out that this allowed users to purchase tickets in advance without having to define their travel plans or who the traveller for each ticket would be.
“Today we take a step forward and reaffirm our place as pioneers in offering the best ticket in the world to our customers. We have already done so with the possibility of giving away, renaming and transferring and we will add in the coming weeks, the functionality of resale,” said Mauricio Sana, CEO of Flybondi.
Speaking in a webinar, Sana noted how common the practice of reselling tickets was in other industries, such as concerts. He described a typical situation he foresees, of a traveller buying a ticket at a low price, which subsequently goes way up in value. The traveller thus has a commodity that can be resold for a profit. The airline charges a fee, the airline increases its revenue and the customer makes money too.
"In the end it is a seat, a seat that was already sold cheaply, and now I've improved the sale," Sana said.
Some observers have voiced fears that the resale system could lead to a situation in which ticket touts might bulk-buy all the cheap tickets and then re-sell them when prices on the website have risen substantially as the flight time approaches. This would leave genuine passengers at a disadvantage.
The airline has not revealed how it would deal with ‘scalping’ bots and other sophisticated automated purchasing tools. The airline will make a profit on every sale regardless of whether the ticket was bought by a scalping bot or a genuine would-be traveller.
French company Fairlyne has also been working on passenger resales for airlines, see here.