Can't afford an expensive flight? This startup will let you put it on layaway
Airfordable lets consumers purchase airline flights and hotel rooms through affordable payment plans.
Airfordable spreads the cost of flights across biweekly payments consumers make leading up to their departure date. The startup launched last December and already has generated more than $500,000 in ticket revenue.
In the U.S., there are 72 million consumers who don't buy airline flights because they lack the necessary savings or credit, Airfordable says, citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Based on its average profit per ticket, the company estimates this is a market that's potentially worth $4.7 billion.
"These are people begging for a way to travel without tying up a significant portion of their hard-earned money up front," says Ama Marfo, CEO and co-founder of Airfordable. Marfo pitched her company to hundreds of investors on Monday at Y Combinator Demo Day in Mountain View, California.
Airfordable will bring its business model to hotel bookings as well next month, Marfo says. The company hopes to revolutionize the way consumers pay for their travels.
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"We're making travel as a whole affordable, practical, and possible," she says.
The inspiration for the company came to Marfo and her two co-founders as a result of their own frustrations with air travel. Marfo stayed on campus in Philadelphia every break during college because she could not afford the thousands of dollars for airline tickets to visit her family back in Ghana. Marfo worked in finance after college and became familiar with consumer lending and layaway business models.
The model has worked so far forAirfordable, which became profitable in July. Airfordable takes a one-time fee that ranges from 10 to 20 percent of each ticket sale.
Airfordable works with an insurance partner that assumes all the risk for consumers who fail to make their payments. The startup charges a 38 percent nonrefundable deposit to motivate customers to keep up with their payments. As a result, only 4.2 percent of Airfordable's customers break their plans, the company says.