FinTech: Colibra Compensates You for Flight Delays, Now Also In Bitcoin

August 19, 2020 | Digital Assets, FinTech, News
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Colibra is the Robin Hood of flight compensations, according to Bloomberg.

Colibra is a Bulgarian startup that aims to make compensations for flight delays accessible to any traveler in EU countries. Travelers using the app need to pay nothing upfront. Instead, they can hope to get a fair and guaranteed chance at compensation if the flight is delayed by just an hour, even due to weather. The app has now extended the option for travelers to receive compensation in bitcoin. (Coin Telegraph)

EU flight compensation regulation, EU261

Via its travel application, Colibra offers instant compensations under the EU’s flight compensation regulation, EU261, for flights that get canceled or delayed by one hour or more. Note that the EU regulation pays out compensation after a delay of three hours or more.

Travelers authorize Colibra to file for flight delay compensations on their behalf. The startup therefore can file a large pool of compensation claims on behalf of its users who are eligible for compensation under EU261.

Colibra spreads these claim receipts across a large number of travelers who would otherwise not bother, or be unable to file these claims individually. Instead of a few lucky fliers getting a couple of hundred EUR, Colibra guarantees each of its users a fixed instant compensation, of a much lower amount.

For its services, the company charges a 20% fee from the distributable pool of eligible claims. Note that it pays out to fliers before it collects the claims from the airline. So it’s on the hook for the risk of not being able to collect, for whatever reason.

“At first people seem to be puzzled how they can get compensated for flight delays that are not covered by the EU regulation [that pays out after three hours] and without having to pay anything upfront,” Miroslav Zaporozhanov, Co-Founder of Colibra told Lonely Planet in February. “However, [they then] learn the underlying principle, that all this is possible because we collectively agree to share the downsides so that more of us can enjoy the upsides.”

Boon for fliers, plus (now) crypto benefits

According to Colibra, its service is a boon for fliers for a number of reasons. It lowers compensation eligibility from a three-hour flight delay to one hour. This translates to a 30X increase in the probability to qualify for compensation.

Secondly, it makes any kind of delay (not just airline-related) claimable. That’s another 3X increase in a chance to get compensation.

Lastly, fliers can hope to get their compensation payouts instantly and without having to file a claim.

As an added incentive, Colibra has now introduced the facility of compensation payable in bitcoin (BTC). However, the flyer must choose whether they want to lock the BTC rate for the day they register for the flight, or the rate applicable on the date of travel.

Colibra growth

Since its launch in June 2019, the app has been growing by 100% every week in terms of downloads. It hopes to reach 1 million downloads and service 2 million trips by the end of this year.

In its view, the market for flight compensations is €10 billion ($10.8 billion) annually. This is across more than 30 million air passengers in more than 8 million flights.

Colibra is already operational in the UK, France, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, and recently entered neighboring Romania and Greece.

Related Story:  British Startup Offers Travel Jaunts on the Never-Never

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