Like airline tickets, paper compensation vouchers given to passengers by airlines for overbooked flights and other inconveniences could shift to digital form, reported December 27, 2017.

Ryanair recently began offering digital vouchers to companies to hand out as rewards to employees. The vouchers come in denominations ranging from €10 to €500.

“The physical gift card represents a cost on our industry, and there is not space for that,” said Matthias Wenk, Ryanair’s marketing operations director. “The digital gift voucher can be produced and allocated without any cost incurred.”

The International Air Transport Association estimated that switching from physical to electronic tickets saved the airline industry about $3 billion annually.

Digital vouchers also allow Ryanair to work directly with companies rather than with companies that provide gift cards, which charge customers between five and ten per cent for their services, Wenk said. “Our hope is to establish relationships with a lot of corporates with massive demand for air travel gift vouchers as part of their reward schemes,” he said.

This Christmas, Virgin Atlantic was also promoting gift cards, but with a twist. Available both as physical gift cards, exclusively at Libertys in London, it also launched a pop up website  where flyers could choose a destination and then solicit money towards flights in a crowdfunding model.