Saritta Hines, Founder of TrustaBit

Saritta Hines, founder of TrustaBit. Image via TrustaBit

TrustaBit is implementing blockchain technology to solve a problem that can become very expensive for airlines. Flight delays and cancelations prompt airlines to compensate stranded passengers due to regulations, the need for brand protection, or both. But the process of distributing vouchers for food, flights and accommodation can be slow, thus ratcheting up the frustration by an order of magnitude. 

TrustaBit, a travel tech startup providing automated flight delay compensation software, today announced a strategic partnership with ATPCO, joining the organization’s Bridge Labs incubator. The collaboration means TrustaBit will have access to next-level airline data management, distribution and analytics capabilities. Having released a proof-of-concept app this past autumn, TrustaBit will now build out its white-labeled flight disruption management solution for integration with airlines’ existing apps and customer management tools.

“We needed a way to provide a low-touch application that would allow passenger self-service and enable airline personnel to focus on escalations, rather than repetitive tasks,” Saritta Hines, founder of TrustaBit, told APEX Media. “Smart contracts are the answer to this, as they code the business rules to be carried out on the blockchain. Because our clients deal with high volumes of passenger data, we elected to use Hyperledger Fabric, an enterprise blockchain solution boasting all of the technological benefits, such as heightened security, not just the hype.”

Keeping Promises at Scale

Hines got the idea for TrustaBit after building an Ethereum mining rig with her seven-year old daughter, which sparked an interest in finding practical applications for blockchain. So how would a seven-year-old explain this technology to a layperson? “She would say that blockchain is like a promise,” said Hines. “If I make a promise on the blockchain, it will be stored forever, everyone can see it, and no one can change it.”

“Blockchain is like a promise.” – Saritta Hines, TrustaBit

“Based on our research and discussions with various airline executives, we know that some major European carriers have dedicated entire departments to handling EC261 flight delay regulations, employing everyone from call center representatives to legal,” Hines said. “We also know that in 2018, one major carrier spent $500 million in EU261 flight delay regulation alone.”

Finding the Right Partners

Partnering with ATPCO gives TrustaBit access to industry expertise as well as highly valuable airline partners; and Hines is an entrepreneur with a plan when it comes to this new relationship: “Our focus as we enter Bridge Labs is on fare-calculator API data. Our airline clients must be able to offer voucher amounts that are dependent upon the original ticket pricing. Access to this data would also allow us to perform dynamic voucher pricing and provide a customer-centric approach, based on each passenger’s preferences – for example, targeted options for each member of a family traveling on the same itinerary.”

“TrustaBit is turning a stressful travel event, like a delay or cancellation, on its head, by providing compensation through vouchers, miles, dollars and more in a fraction of the time it would take an agent at the airport,” said Gianni Cataldo, head of R&D at ATPCO, in a press release. “We have seen the promise of blockchain for some time now and are looking forward to working with TrustaBit as part of our innovation hub, Bridge Labs.”

As for airline launch partners, Hines is playing this close to the vest for the moment, telling us that TrustaBit is in the RFP stages with various major carriers.