If you’re looking for a last–last-minute gift for the holidays, what better to give than travel? The problem is that gifting travel — air travel, in particular — can be a headache. Not every airline sells gift cards and, even if your preferred airline does, there’s no guarantee they fly to and from the destinations your recipient might be interested in. Skyhour is looking to change all that with a whole new travel “currency.”
Skyhour works a bit like Venmo for air travel. Users select the number of Skyhours they’d like to purchase at a flat-rate of USD $60 per hour. Each unit is equivalent to one hour of flying time in coach class on more than 350 airlines. Aside from a 30-minute minimum, there are no purchase restrictions. Once you’ve registered for a free account, the entire process of signing in, then selecting and purchasing the number of hours can be completed in under a minute.
With Skyhours in your account, you’re welcome to do with them whatever you like. However, they’re designed to be gifted. Unlike airline miles, they’re easily transferable between Skyhour accounts. Users can opt to send them by SMS text, email, with the dedicated app, or in person by using a scannable QR code. Surprisingly, travelers even earn frequent flyer miles with their Skyhour trips.
Booking a trip with Skyhour is equally straightforward. Travelers login to their account, then proceed through a standard booking process. This includes selecting the origin and departure destinations, the number of travelers, and the preferred dates. Their booking engine uses the same industry standard system as every other travel metasearch (like Kayak or Google Flights), so there are almost always options on several different airlines. The company notes that, in rare cases of extremely high demand, they may not be able to offer a traveler’s chosen flights.
While Skyhour is new to many travelers, they’ve been quietly brokering their travel currency since late 2017. The company was heavily funded with support from JetBlue Technology Ventures, the budget airline’s dedicated branch for innovative new projects that combine travel and technology. So, while new travel apps and websites tend to come and go, Skyhour seems destined to be around for the foreseeable future.
Searching for flights is open to anyone, but actually booking them requires a Skyhour account. Credits are available through their mobile-friendly website, as well as via their free app on iOS and Android.