Last updated: 02:09 PM ET, Thu July 21 2016

Air Canada Launches Crowdfunding for Cash-Strapped Travelers

Airlines & Airports | Monica Poling | July 21, 2016

Air Canada Launches Crowdfunding for Cash-Strapped Travelers

Photo courtesy of Air Canada

If you’ve been thinking about hitting up a crowdfunding site like GoFundMe or Kickstarter to help raise funds for your next trip, take note, there’s a new crowdfunding site in town.

Now travellers can fund their flights through Air Canada, which has launched Embarq, the first-ever airline-hosted crowdfunding site.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the rise of crowdfunding platforms that have made it very commonplace for people to help make one of their dreams into a reality,” said Selma Filali, Air Canada’s director of marketing communications in a conversation with the Globe and Mail. “We know that millennials have more audacious travel plans than ever before. They really want to see the world but they really lack the funds to make that a reality.”

The site, which first launched in March, has already welcomed more than 800 sign ups. According to Ms. Filali, one of the top benefits of using Embarq over other crowdfunding sites is that the site charges no fees for people who post profiles/funding requests. Additionally, users can collect the funds, even if they don’t reach their goals.

Which, of course, all ends up benefitting Air Canada. All funds collected can only be used towards airfare or airline-controlled fees, like checked bag fees. Travellers can’t use the fees at Air Canada Vacations or any other Air Canada partners, like hotels or car rentals.  

Embarq also differs from other crowdfunding sites, in that it does not offer “rewards” or “incentives” to people making contributions at certain levels.

“We’re not funding an enterprise, we’re allowing you to receive a gift from people who care,” said Ms. Filali.

Although Embarq is not yet available in the United States, with Air Canada’s push to become one of the top connections airlines in the world, it stands to reason that the airline will eventually eye expanding the site’s availability internationally. 


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