Bitcoin’s soaring rise in price has led to its growing popularity and intrigue among businesses. And there’s one company that sees a major upside with this cryptocurrency relative to private jet flights.
PrivateFly is a rapidly-growing, disruptive business model in the private jet industry, delivering live pricing and availability for over 7,000 accredited private aircraft worldwide. It combines award-winning technology with a 24/7 team of passionate aviation experts.
The company’s first flight accepting bitcoin was in 2014. Since then, fliers are interested in fast turnarounds, from mobile to the tarmac, have taken advantage of this opportunity. Bitcoin is now a fully a part of PrivateFly’s suite of offerings that make private flying seamless.
Following PrivateFly’s announcement in 2014 that it would accept payment in bitcoin for their private jet booking service, Olivier Janssens revealed details of his first bitcoin-powered flight.
The Belgian tech entrepreneur and bitcoin millionaire flew on the evening of January 27, 2014, from Brussels to Nice Cote D’Azur. Janssens booked and paid for the flight earlier the same day, using bitcoin. At the time he commented:
“I became a client of PrivateFly in early 2013 when I was looking to find a more technology-focused approach to private jet charter. PrivateFly’s service, giving price comparison via web and mobile platforms, alongside 24-hour phone support, suited my hectic business lifestyle. When they started to accept bitcoin, I was the first in line, having obtained all my bitcoins by mining in 2010.”
Janssens says that he is a firm supporter of bitcoin and the efficiency it offers compared to other currencies; as a payment method and investment. He notes that the flight was the biggest bitcoin payment transaction he made, but found it very easy and efficient, particularly in light of wanting to fly at very short notice. “It was the perfect way to pay. I’m working on several bitcoin business projects and very excited about its future potential.”
PrivateFly CEO Adam Twidell added, “Here at PrivateFly, we accept bitcoin amongst our other payment methods and Mr. Janssens was one of the world’s first private jet customers to pay this way; certainly the first to go public. While client confidentiality is absolute at PrivateFly, Olivier Janssens was happy to reveal his first bitcoin flight, as a firm supporter of the currency.”
Building A Bitcoin Flight Path
Twiddle says that PrivateFly had been closely following bitcoin for some time and in 2013, started to receive requests from clients to accept it. Given the company’s aim to make choosing and buying private jet charter as fast, efficient and cost-effective as possible, using technology, he concluded that it would be a logical addition to PrivateFly’s payment options.”
He notes that the recent bitcoin upswing has drawn even more customers to PrivateFly. This year, he says, the company sold a $250k jetcard; another industry first. “More and more inquiries are pouring in as bitcoin millionaires search for places to spend their loot. And it would make sense.”
We here at BTCManager had some additional questions for Twiddle. Here is what he had to say.
Adam, a little about You and Your Journey to Launching PrivateFly. What was the Major Catalyst behind your Decision to Accept Bitcoin for Flights?
I started PrivateFly because I wanted to make chartering a private jet easier and more transparent through the use of innovative technology. A few years in, one of our top customers asked if we accepted bitcoin as a form of payment, which really made us start to look into it. After weighing up the risks against the benefits, we felt that bitcoin’s flexibility, speed, and low cost was a perfect option for us; allowing our customers to book their flights even faster than through traditional banking.
What have You Learned about the Intersection of Bitcoin and Private Jet Flights since Olivier Janssens flight in 2014? What are your Bitcoin Millionaire Clients saying?
Bitcoin payments are still a very niche option for our customers, but as awareness about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies increases so does demand for accepting bitcoin payments. Since we were the first private jet broker to accept bitcoin, many customers came to us simply because they couldn’t use bitcoin elsewhere. Even a few of our competitors send us clients simply because they couldn’t help them. But we’re recently seeing other private jet companies and companies in the travel sector finally starting to accept bitcoin as it grows more popular.
What sort of Emerging Crypto Trends are Impacting your Strategic Direction for PrivateFly heading into 2018?
Bitcoin is a fantastic source of payment for us, mainly because we operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And with many private jet customers wanting to book and fly within an hour, if they request a flight with us outside of banking hours, bitcoin helps us still get their request through whenever they want it, rather than needing to delay the process and waiting for the bank.
As the demand grows for accepting cryptocurrencies, I think we’ll begin looking into other cryptos to accept as payment in 2018.
Finally, your Prognostication for Bitcoin and the World of Cryptocurrencies as we head into 2018? Are there any Plans to Accept other Cryptos in the Future?
One of the most fascinating things about bitcoin is how much it’s changing. Currently, one bitcoin can get you a round trip from LA to Vegas on a Citation XL. Back in 2014 when we first started accepting it, the same trip and aircraft would cost you about 25 bitcoin! So it will be interesting to see just how far (literally) one bitcoin can get you in 2018.
We always listen to customer feedback, and as there becomes more demand for accepting cryptocurrencies, we certainly will continue to consider accepting other cryptos in the future.