Expedia, CheapAir.com and BTCtrip already make it easy to travel the world using Bitcoin, but purchasing directly from an airliner has remained the domain of those willing to shell out fiat currencies, until now. AirBaltic, which is listed as “Latvia's National Airline” has quietly begun to accept Bitcoin payments.
Just a few hours ago, a Reddit user noticed that AirBaltic had a bitcoin option for payment. Another user contacted AirBaltic on Twitter, asking them to confirm. AirBaltic responded by posting a screen shot of their payment options, Bitcoin included.
This marks the first time that an Airline itself, rather than a third party entity, has accepted Bitcoin payments. Perhaps more significant, since AirBaltic is owned by the government of Latvia, this means the government is accepting Bitcoin in a roundabout way, albeit through an independently operated company.
Unfortunately, the Bitcoin payment options still includes the airline's standard EUR €5.99 fee is added to Bitcoin purchases. The same fee is added when using a money order or standard credit card, the only way to bypass it is to apply for and use AirBaltic's own credit card. So, while using Bitcoin won't cost you any more than standard payment methods, it won't save you anything either, which seems like a missed opportunity for AirBaltic considering Bitcoin's nearly free transaction fee.
AirBaltic was founded in 1995 and currently flies to 60 destinations around Europe and Russia.
UPDATE: Today, July 22, we have contacted AirBaltic, asking them about what company exactly processes their Bitcoin operations. The reply was: '"We apologize, but this information is unavailable. Have a nice day."
You can view the official announcement from AirBaltic here.
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