Innovative UK tech company iCoupon is partnering with airlines and airports across Europe to provide passengers facing delays with digital vouchers for free food and drink from airport restaurants and shops.

If you are unlucky enough to face a delay to your flight of more than two hours out of a European airport, under EU law, you are entitled to free drinks and snacks while you wait. Up until now, this has meant queuing at a desk where you will be issued with a paper voucher for refreshments.

However, iCoupon has created a more convenient alternative, by sending vouchers direct to travellers’ smartphones.

The airline does this by instantly allocating a specific monetary value to your mobile boarding pass QR code, which can then be scanned at check-out tills when you go to pay at participating outlets.iCoupon coffeeAccording to a recent statement, iCoupon is live in almost 100 airports across Europe and has an “aggressive expansion plan” for 2017 across Europe, Asia and the US. Adoption has been described as “rapid”, with partner airlines and ground handlers including Ryanair, Jet2, Finnair and Swissport.

Joanne Brady, ground operations control manager for Ryanair, says: “In the rare event of delays or disruption, we can now provide our customers with refreshment vouchers at the touch of a button by using iCoupon, which provides direct integration between ourselves and airport retailers for the first time, further improving the customer experience.

“iCoupon eliminates the need for traditional paper vouchers, allowing a faster, cost effective and greener service, and providing assistance to customers in a matter of seconds.”

Mark Angela, chief commercial officer at SSP Group PLC, which runs bars, restaurants and cafes in about 140 airports globally, says: “iCoupon enables us to scan the boarding pass from participating airlines to redeem the value of their digital vouchers against the passengers open invoice at point of sale, quickly and easily. iCoupon captures the transaction details for both us and the airline so we can quickly and easily invoice the airline for the redeemed totals.

“Traditionally, we would have had to process tens of thousands of vouchers manually, but iCoupon has enabled us to automate this where the airline is within the iCoupon framework, and it has had a tremendously positive impact on both our operational efficiency and our customers experience for delay compensation.”

Richard Bye, founder of iCoupon, says: “Flying can be a stressful experience and any interruption to travel just adds to that stress. We have created a technology able to automate one of passengers’ biggest bugbears when things go wrong – the queueing. We have automated the process, enabling passengers to remain relaxed and comfortable.”

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