Klarna's expansion into US$1tn travel sector takes flight

Hot on the heels of an agreement with Airbnb, fintech giant Klarna has struck up a partnership with Cathay Pacific to offer fair, flexible payments

There can be little doubt that Klarna, the AI-powered payments network and shopping assistant, is staking its claim for a permanent place in the travel sector. 

The firm has struck up a partnership with premium airline Cathay Pacific to offer fairer, flexible payments to travellers in six countries across Europe. 

Cathay Pacific customers based in the UK, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany will be able to select Klarna as a payment option at the point of checkout.

In Germany, Klarna financing allows travellers to spread the cost of a flight over six to 24 months, interest-bearing, while those elsewhere can pay for flights in three, interest-free instalments using the company’s Pay in 3 service.

Raji Behal, Head of Western and Southern Europe at Klarna

“We are super excited to team up with Cathay Pacific, an iconic airline and a byword for luxury,” comments Raji Behal, Head of Western and Southern Europe at Klarna.

“People of all ages are saying no to high-cost credit cards, and want to manage larger payments with simple, no-interest BNPL or longer-term scheduled payments which help them keep on top of their spending. 

“As travel rebounds, Cathay Pacific is leading the airline industry with BNPL adoption alongside other high-service travel brands like Airbnb.”

Klarna helps more consumers access credit

Globally, credit cards are used for 70% of the $1 trillion spent on flights each year, according to McKinsey & Co

Klarna’s credit products are seen as a healthier, fairer way for consumers to access credit, with clear repayment plans and customer-protection features like freezing access to its services when a payment is missed. 

“Cathay Pacific is known for providing passengers with an exceptional service, starting at booking all the way through to arrival at their destination,” adds Paul Johannes, VP Customer Travel and Lifestyle Europe at Cathay Pacific.

“Our partnership with Klarna allows us to provide customers with quick, flexible and convenient online payment options so everyone can enjoy travel to the Asia-Pacific region.”

Klarna’s agreement with Cathay Pacific is the latest in a series of travel tie-ups as it aims to further expand into the sector.

The company recently announced the global rollout of a partnership with Airbnb, with consumers in seven countries now able to spread the cost of their trips worldwide. 

By 2024, the scheme will be extended to guests in additional countries across three continents.

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