Wednesday Buzz: Book Flights on the Installment Plan

A new startup makes it possible for travelers to pay for their flights on an installment plan. Also: A wireless company wants to keep you on the same network, from airport to airport.

Business travelers are somewhat shielded from the frustration of booking a flight—especially if the flight is covered by their company.

But what about everyone else? For many people, a flight can be a challenge to save for, especially if you have iffy credit or work a low-wage job. Fortunately, a new startup is working on that. Airfordable, a firm that was among the summer batch of entrants for the incubator Y Combinator, makes it possible to purchase tickets on a three-month installment plan.

The approach comes with a markup of 10 to 20 percent, which isn’t cheap, but the company helps customers lock in a ticket price early with a deposit and then pay back the cost of that ticket in a way that allows them to keep the cost manageable.

Founder and CEO Ama Marfo, a native of Ghana, told the Chicago Tribune that she was inspired to start the business because of her own trouble getting tickets home when she was a student at Philadelphia’s Drexel University.

“I wanted to see my family in Ghana during school breaks, but couldn’t afford the $2,000 ticket,” she explained.

The service, which launched last year, has had about 10,000 customers so far, with what TechCrunch pegs as a 95 percent repayment rate. The markup may be high, but for those who don’t have enough credit, it could get them on an important flight.

Two Airports, One Plane, One WiFi Signal

One of the many frustrations with using wireless while traveling is that you have to keep switching networks—not the best experience.

But the wireless provider iPass wants to sell you on the idea of WiFi that works from one airport to another, even while you’re in the air. On Tuesday, the company announced a deal to bring its wireless offering to United Airlines’ entire fleet of aircraft. The result gives iPass customers a “frictionless” experience.

“In an increasingly connected world, ubiquitous, reliable and secure connectivity has become a requirement for mobile professionals,” iPass CEO Gary Griffiths said in a statement. “Inflight is a critical venue for keeping United Airlines and iPass customers connected, and United Airlines is an essential addition to our inflight offering. We are delighted to enter into this partnership with United Airlines.”

Other Links of Note

Should you focus more on social media than on your organization’s own website? Know Your Own Bone blogger Colleen Dilenschneider, the chief market engagement officer for IMPACTS, thinks so. Here’s why.

When it comes to two-factor authentication, are you struggling to even get to the point where you can see its benefits, let alone its imperfections? This Lifehacker piece breaks down the various approaches of two-factor authentication, in case you’d like to try it out.

Speaking of security technology, Samsung’s newest Galaxy Note device contains a technology that might just blow your mind: It offers iris recognition as a form of security. We’re about 80 percent of the way to Minority Report.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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