Less than one month after announcing its decision to accept bitcoin, UK-based private jet charter service PrivateFly.com has revealed its first celebrity bitcoin passenger completed a flight from Brussels to Nice, Cote D'Azur on 27th January.
The more than 700-mile flight was taken by tech entrepreneur, Bitcoin Foundation lifetime member and bitcoin millionaire Olivier Janssens.
While such an extravagant bitcoin purchase may seem surprising, Janssens said that because his investments require him to travel extensively, he was keen to support PrivateFly in its decision to accept bitcoin:
"The flight was the biggest bitcoin payment transaction I have made, but it was very easy and efficient, particularly as I wanted to fly at very short notice."
PrivateFly CEO Adam Twidell noted that the same-day nature of the payment showcased one of the primary benefits of the emerging virtual currency. The former Royal Air Force pilot said:
"Mr. Janssens' flight was booked on the same day as departure, which is not at all unusual for us - and across our industry. With bitcoin payment being fast, flexible and not subject to banking hours, it's a good fit."
His biggest purchase to date
Twidell noted that the purchase puts Janssens in a rare category as "one of the world's first private jet customers" to pay in bitcoin, and the first to go public regarding the purchase.
While neither Janssens nor PrivateFly commented on the size of the transaction, a look at similar flights offered on the website suggests that the total cost could have ranged from €5,980 (9.5 BTC at press time) to €34,260 (54.95 BTC), depending on the size of the plane Janssens chartered.
PrivateFly.com accepts bitcoin through BitPay, but does not list prices in BTC on its website. A more detailed overview of the payments it accepts, including bitcoin, can be found on its Payment & Pricing FAQ page.
Who is Olivier Janssens?
Janssens is an active member of the Bitcoin Foundation, frequently weighing in on issues such as the privacy rights of bitcoin holders on discussion boards. The Monaco resident obtained all his bitcoins through mining in 2010 when the price was still a fraction of its current value.
Janssens later became a PrivateFly customer in 2013, after learning of features such as its price comparison via web and mobile platforms and 24-hour phone support. He added:
"PrivateFly's service suited my hectic business lifestyle. When they started to accept bitcoin, I was the first in line."
Though PrivateFly formally announced its decision to accept bitcoin this January, CEO Twidell said he has been following the bitcoin space for more than a year. He went on to suggest that the move is indicative of the company's tech-friendly approach to the travel industry, adding:
"PrivateFly's aim is to make choosing and buying private jet charter as fast, efficient and cost-effective as possible, using technology. So after considerable research, we came to the conclusion that it was a logical addition to our payment options."
More recently the company began to receive requests from clients to accept bitcoin, suggesting that contrary to claims that many bitcoin millionaires are "hoarding" their coins, some at least are willing to spend big on luxury purchases, provided they meet their needs.
While he didn't say for certain, Janssens also suggested he may need PrivateFly's service again going forward, noting he is busy with several bitcoin projects that are competing for his attentions at the moment.
Image credit: Private jet via Shutterstock