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Freebird’s lofty quest to make flight cancellations slightly less awful

Freebird’s lofty quest to make flight cancellations slightly less awful
[Photo: JESHOOTS/Unsplash]

Flight cancellations are one of the biggest bummers (outside of racism, misogyny, homophobia, ageism, and news of the Clueless reboot, of course). They put a damper on your vacation, and make your return home even more frustrating. The only thing that can help is seamless rebooking, which is where Freebird comes in. Freebird is an app-based service that alerts travelers when their flight is disrupted and offers them alternative flights in 30 seconds or less. Even more importantly, it pays for new tickets, making the process as painless as a flight cancellation can be. Now, TechCrunch reports that the service has raised an $8 million Series A to expand its business.

Currently, Freebird, which isn’t travel insurance but acts a bit like it, costs $19 for a one-way trip or $34 for round-trip, and is only available for domestic travel. If your flight goes smoothly, which it normally does, Freebird keeps your money. If there is a flight disruption, it rebooks you ASAP. The Series A round was led by American Express Ventures with support from Citi Ventures, which makes sense, because Freebird is reportedly in discussions with both of them to include its services in their corporate card travel benefits. Since its founding in 2015, TechCrunch reports, Freebird has raised a total of $16.5 million in funding.

Freebird is not the only app in the flight-cancellation space. AirHelp lets passengers check eligibility for compensation for delayed or canceled flights in real time, without even leaving the airport, boarding gate, or even the plane itself. Service automatically detects flight disruptions and looks for compensation, and also tries to save you money at hotels by rebooking when lower fares become available. They have a partnership with Kayak to streamline the delay or cancellation compensation process.

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