Planning and budgeting for an important long-distance trip is a tough yet attainable goal for many people. They may decide to cut back on impulse purchases and pick up a side hustle for extra cash. But, what happens when life happens? A broken washing machine, car repairs, or a trip to the ER can be enough to derail plans to visit out-of-state family for the holidays or a attend a close friend’s summer destination wedding. Missing a milestone moment or even a self-care trip like a romantic getaway or fun girls’ weekend in Miami is a conundrum bound to end in disappointment.
If you have been in a similar situation before, you are not alone. According to a 2013 survey by Bankrate.com, 50% of Americans have less than a three-month savings cushion to cover them if unexpected expenses occur. So, this means a lot of people will miss out on pivotal life events because they can’t afford an upfront cost like airline tickets. When it comes to traveling, it’s much easier to find and book a hotel that allows travelers to pay at checkout or a cost effective lodging service than it is to purchase flight tickets on the spot. Now, buying tickets is easier with Airfordable – a Chicago-based layaway platform for airline tickets.
Airfordable is the brainchild of Ama Marfo – a brilliant Black woman who started developing the idea as a student at Philadelphia’s Drexel University. The Ghana native was often unable to make holiday trips home because she couldn’t afford the tickets and didn’t qualify for a high-limit credit card to fund international travel. Ama also watched countless friends miss out on life-changing trips simply because of airline costs. She recognized an opportunity to provide a solution to this common problem and began to form her business model. Marfo combined her lifelong love for tech, experience as a financial technology consultant, and belief that enriching travel experiences should be accessible to everyone to launch Airfordable in December 2015. Now, just months into its launch, the 28-year-old CEO has watched her startup book well over a million miles of flights.
Here’s how Airfordable works: The purchaser searches for their flight on a website like Expedia or directly with an airline and takes a screenshot of the itinerary/price. Then, after registering for free on Airfordable, the screenshot is uploaded during the booking process. Airfordable calculates a bi-weekly payment plan based on the ticket cost, travel dates, and personal payment preference. The website requires a non-refundable upfront deposit (1/3 of the ticket cost) at submission and e-tickets are sent out after the final payment is complete. The only potential caveat is a built-in 20% service fee and a $2000 ticket maximum; however, there is NO credit check – a plus for a person whose credit is not in great shape. And, if an Airfordable user cannot complete all of their payments, the money paid in will be credited to their account to be used toward a future flight. The website does an excellent job of breaking down all the FAQs as well as providing a chat service for users.
Airfordable has gotten high praise from people who have used the service to travel all around the world, but Ama Marfo has also had to deal with a fair share of criticism. Sadly, there are people who think others shouldn’t travel and enjoy life if they have to put tickets on layaway. They assume that people who take a break from the stressors of daily life to have a bit of happiness do not have their priorities in order. Of course, Ama has a different perspective. She has addressed the negativity and she thinks Airfordable will help people learn how to properly budget so they can achieve their travel goals.
Airfordable certainly sounds like a viable travel option for me. As a freelance writer, I often attend geek conventions in several states. I get into the conventions for free with a few press perks, but airfare is not one of them! So, it would be great to lock in a good rate and make a few payments on the flight tickets while I allocate my funds toward other needed expenses.
What are your thoughts on Airfordable? Let us know in the comments below.