Changeyourflight wants to give you peace of mind when booking a flight
Imagine that you have bought a non-refundable plane ticket and then some last minute change of plans prevents you from flying.
Now, imagine you are the airline operating the flight you were supposed to take, and demand is strong, plane's full and prices are up, but they sold you the ticket well early on at a discounted rate...everyone loses in this situation!
The guys at Changeyourflight, however, want to make of this a win-win situation, for everyone...the Barcelona-based startup, has already attracted considerable attention in the industry because of the innovative solution they propose to deal with the problem of tickets that, for whatever the reason, go unused.
In a nutshell, Changeryourflight makes it possible (and easy!) for travelers that can not use their plane tickets get a partial refund from the airline. The airline, in turn, can free that seat and sell it again. Everyone's happy!
Here is a video that explains exactly how it works:
And, as I was recently in Barcelona, I had the chance to meet the founders at their office to learn a bit more about their project and how all of us, frequent fliers of this world, ought to benefit from it.
The inspiration for Changeyourflight actually came from a personal experience, when one of the founders once found himself in the possession of an airline ticket to Paris that he could not use or change. There had to be a way around the problem...
They knew of second-hand marketplaces for tickets of all sorts, like Reticket, however, given the strict security procedures in air travel, re-selling an airline ticket is not a viable proposition most of the time. The founders saw that in order to work, Changeyourflight would need to have the airlines on their side too.
And this actually, provided the other side of their business model: airlines can optimize their revenue by selling capacity twice (well, I mean...they can do it without the risk of overbooking! :-) )
I asked whether this does not conflict with the idea that airlines can make money by charging for ticket changes. In their opinion this should not be an issue, since the airline can recover revenue in other ways by partnering with them.
First, it can sell seats twice.
Second, most ticket change systems assume you have already picked up another date for your flight, but in many cases this is not the case, with Changeyourflight you get a voucher that you can then use at your convenience, and, here is when it gets interesting for the airline, actually "locks up" that client for a future date. That client is likely to go back to the airline in the future, since he would like to use the voucher, in fact, it might well end up spending more than the value of the voucher.
All of that while keeping the client happy because the airline has been able the problem on on-used tickets.
Ah, and forgot to say, Changeyourflight is free! In fact, Changeyourflight business model is based on sharing the additional revenues that accrue from using the system.
Changeyourflight has already a partnership with AirOne of Italy and, as they told me the results are proving their business case, they are now looking to sign up more airlines.
As of today they are purely a post-sale service, which means that travelers need to know them first, not small marketing challenge, but I don't see why their service could not end up integrated as an option in the booking process, as are for example, carbon off-sets, hotel or car rentals.