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Planes, Trains and Bitcoin: UATP Partnership Means Amtrak and 260 Airlines Can Now Accept Bitcoin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:42 PM
Gerrard Hartley
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:42 PM

planesThrough a critical partnership between UATP and Bitnet, 260 airlines along with Amtrak railways can incorporate bitcoin payments on their platforms.

In a press release, UATP president and CEO Ralph Kaiser expressed excitement for the ground-breaking travel partnership, showing immense support for Bitnet.

“We are very happy to be partnering with Bitnet to add bitcoin to our payment platform. We are always looking for skilled partners to bring additional forms of payment to the UATP processing platform and Bitnet fits the bill well.”

UATP, also known as Universal Air Travel Plan, decided that bitcoin integration was an important venture, so they teamed up with Bitnet and announced the implications today. UATP is a payment processor that’s privately-owned by airlines themselves.

Their method of payment is utilized by a plethora of airlines. Here are of a few of the highlights from their massive list:

  • British Airways
  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • US Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Finnair
  • Frontier Airlines
  • United Airlines

Now these airlines and more can accept bitcoin as payment through the Bitnet and UATP partnership. Along with air travel, hotels, car rentals and Amtrak all hold the possibility for bitcoin integration. Frankly, traveling with bitcoin may be the true killer industry that the community has been searching for.

“Bitnet and UATP share the same mission of lowering transaction costs and fraud risk for their clients,” said Akif Khan, Vice President of Solutions Strategy, at Bitnet.

“Partnering with UATP was an obvious choice for Bitnet. Our partnership will make it easier for UATP’s member airlines to accept payments in bitcoin via a lightweight integration that avoids impact to downstream systems and leverages existing UATP reporting and refund interfaces.”

The team backing Bitnet previously worked at CyberSource and VISA Inc., giving them major trusted credentials in the industry. They claim to have gained experience with fraud management as well as payment implementation for airlines in the past, so the partnership with UATP seems like a good fit.

Bitcoin and the Travel Industry Make a Good Fit Beyond UATP

The travel industry seems to have snuck up on bitcoin recently, being one of the most off-the-wall industries to embrace the technology. CheapAir was one of the first travel agencies to accept bitcoin in November 2013, and soon expanded from flights to hotels as well.

Upon announcement, CheapAir’s CEO Jeff Klee explained how he mulled over the idea for a bit before making the decision to accept.

“The question reached me, I discussed it with our team, and we all got very excited about being the first in the industry to embrace this cool new way to pay.”

Similarly, Expedia followed in CheapAir’s footsteps and started accepting bitcoin as well. While the experiences with bitcoin payments through their platform have come back mixed, it looks like the travel industry is interested in getting involved with cryptocurrency.

If the recent UATP partnership alludes to anything, it’s that traveling the world on bits is something that seems far more likely now more than ever.

Images from Shutterstock.