Norwegian Air To Accept Bitcoin As Payment

by Miles Jackson

Norwegian Air, one of the largest low-cost carriers in Europe, will be allowing passengers to buy tickets using Bitcoin. Not only will Norwegian begin accepting Bitcoin payments, it will also set up its own cryptocurrency exchange, a bank of sorts for digital currency.

This is probably both a PR move and one to support Norwegian’s planned expansion into neighboring countries and bolster its struggling financials.

Norwegian Bitcoin Implementation Plan

At first, Norwegian will only make it possible for customers living in Norway to purchase flights in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. Its part of the Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX), available to Norway’s residents as early as August. Then, the airline plans to open exchanges in neighboring countries over the next few months.

Why Norwegian and Bitcoin? 

While Norwegian was founded by Bjørn Kjos in 1993, Kjos, recently stepped down as CEO.

It is believed that his son, Lars, who has taken over as CEO, is most likely behind the move to incorporate cryptocurrency into the airline’s payment system. Furthermore, Lars also has significant investments in cryptocurrency, which may explain his eagerness to bring Bitcoin payments onboard.

Norwegian will be just one of the few airlines willing to process cryptocurrency payments. Norwegian’s fleet consists of 195 aircraft with more than 500 routes throughout the world. It is primarily a low-cost carrier which has brought low fares recently across the Atlantic to the United States.

Who Else Accepts Bitcoin For Travel?

Norwegian Air Bitcoin Who Accepts Bitcoin

Abitsky.com

Abitsky.com, which offers flights across continental Europe, also now accepts payment via Bitcoin.

airBaltic

Latvian airline airBaltic was one of the first airlines to accept Bitcoin as payment from its customers, and offers over 60 destinations located across Europe, Middle East, and Russia. air Baltic is also one of the first airlines to fly the A220 (previously Bombardier CSeries) aircraft.

Related: Delta’s Full List Of Airbus A220 Routes

CheapAir.com

CheapAir.com was one of the first online travel agencies to accept Bitcoin for payments. In addition, they have announced they will also be accepting Litecoin, BCH, and Dash as payment options. This allows consumers to usie these cryptocurrencies to process payments during the booking process for flights and hotels.

Destinia.com

A Spanish travel agency, Destinia.com, is a newcomer accepting Bitcoin payment for travel bookings. Destinia.com utilizes BitPay to process the new payment option. BitPay is one of the well-known cryptocurrency-related payment processors.

LOT Polish Airlines

LOT Polish Airlines also accepts Bitcoin for payment and it can be used to pay for flights to and from over 60 destinations.

Peach Aviation

Peach Aviation is a Japanese budget airline. In late 2017, Peach began accepting Bitcoin for all its discount flights across northern Asia.

Virgin Galactic

We knew billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson had to be in this Bitcoin trend as well. Logically, Virgin Galactic announced that its commercial space flight venture, Virgin Galactic, will also be accepting Bitcoin.

Interested In Bitcoin? 

If you are at all interested in buying or trading Bitcoin, consider looking into CryptoHopper. (My affiliate link is here.)

If you prefer to stick to credit cards or miles for your payment, here are some of the best credit card welcome offers. Then, after you have all those points and miles, feel free to reach out to our affiliate Juicy Miles to help you book your award travel (or read our many guides here at Point Me).

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The Upshot

The acceptance of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general by Norwegian is a neat development.

Will this latest move by a major player in the airline industry mark an important milestone to embrace cryptocurrency in its payment systems? Probably not, but we’ll see if any other airlines catch on.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

6 comments
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6 comments

lenin1991 July 29, 2019 - 12:52 pm

News of a company “accepting” bitcoin is empty PR until any actually start *pricing* in btc. AFAIK, every example is just integrating an exchange frontend, actually selling you travel in NOK/EUR/USD/etc.

Reply
Miles Jackson July 29, 2019 - 1:00 pm

lenin1991,
Agreed to some point. However Norwegian will go as far as to develop their own cryptocurrency exchange which makes their commitment rise to a higher level than most. That’s partly explained by the investments Lars Kjos has in these currencies. Also, recent financial strains on Norwegian has them looking at other revenue streams would be my guess. Since Norwegian Air is a major player in air travel, we should keep an eye on how Norwegian implements these payments into its system. Thank you for sharing your observations.

Reply
AsherO July 29, 2019 - 1:27 pm

1. In response to commenter LENIN1991, Norwegian cannot price air travel in BTC because it isn’t a stablecoin currency. They cannot possibly set airfare prices on a currency that is so volatile.

2. Smart move by Norwegian, which is bad for consumers. Their financial struggles cause their credit card processor to hold their card revenue for a longer period in case they go bankrupt and the card processor is flooded with chargebacks from customers who expect refunds for unfulfilled tickets. Instead, by accepting BTC, Norwegian gets to pocket the revenue immediately. Additionally, the consumer paying with BTC loses out because the payment cannot be charged back in case of default/bankruptcy.

Reply
Miles Jackson July 29, 2019 - 1:40 pm

AsherO –
Great points, although I believe prices will be established and a dynamic pricing (sort of like real-time currency exchange) for the comparable value in BitCoin will be established at the time of sale. However, I agree that if Norwegian Air runs into financial troubles their liabilities would be greatly insulated by the use of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. And yes, consumers would likely lose out. WOW! (pun intended)

Reply
AsherO July 30, 2019 - 5:23 am

Miles, it isn’t really significant if the pricing is dynamic. They’re essentially pricing the travel in USD or NOK, and just displaying the current cost in BTC. Kinda like how airlines with fixed-value mileage redemption (e.g. Southwest) display the cost of a ticket in miles, but it really is just a fixed multiple of the cash price.

Reply
Miles Jackson July 30, 2019 - 5:32 am

Ashero-
I agree and understand the process. The analogy of miles redemption also came to mind. Thanks for your illustration

Reply

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