Chicago-based Airfordable is a one-year-old company that allows users to pay for airline tickets in installments, or in African-American parlance, to put their flights on “layaway.”
It’s an option for those low on cash or credit, as well as those wanting to lock in a low fare.
“A lot of people, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck, don’t have the money to pay for plane tickets upfront,” says Ama Marfo, CEO and co-founder of Airfordable. “But that shouldn’t stop them from traveling or resorting to credit cards to pay for plane tickets.”
Airfordable works in three steps: travelers present the details of their itinerary by uploading it to the site, and Airfordable presents them with a payment plan. After making an initial deposit of one-third of the ticket price, regular payments can be made on the balance through the date of departure, either in monthly or bi-weekly payments. After the ticket is paid off, travelers are sent an e-ticket.
Marfo said she came up with the idea while attending college in Philadelphia and could not afford the $2,000 ticket to see her family in Ghana during school breaks, according to Conde Nast Traveler.
“I stayed in the dorm alone or with other international students who couldn’t go home. Because of this personal frustration, I set out to determine how to make travel more accessible.”
Marfo linked up with Craig Henry (who serves as COO) and Emmanuel Buah (CTO), and the tech start-up was born in December 2015. The company makes its profit by attaching a 20 percent service fee, which is spread evenly across payments.
If users default on payments or change their travel plans, everything they’ve paid (minus the initial deposit) will be credited to their Airfordable account, with one calendar year to use the money on a different flight.
The company says it has future plans to expand into layaway payments for vacation packages and hotels.
SOURCE: Conde Nast Traveler | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty