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Airline tickets via capsule surprise machine – works in Japan!

This is intended to be a serious blog about the aviation industry, but even on a serious university blog there should be exceptions for what is unusual, fun and maybe even unusually fun news. One such piece of news comes from Japan, where the low-cost regional operator Peach Aviation has managed to come up with a new and innovative way of selling airline tickets (well, at least new to me). Given the intense competition in the industry any way to get an edge on competitors may be a good one and Peach has taken this to a new level (link below).

The new sales method is to sell tickets to random destinations via a “Gapachon machine”, which simply is the kind of machine often used to sell small plastic spheres with even smaller plastic toys inside to children. Most of us can probably remember the excitement of using such a machine as children; inserting coins, turning a knob and then getting to open the surprise sphere (rarely did the content live up to expectations, but the process was a reward in itself). Many will probably also remember sighing parents as parts of the battle to get these surprise toys.

Well, Peach now used this very method in a similar way; pay 5000 Yen (44 USD) and receive 6000 Yen (53 USD) worth of mileage points that can be used toward the destination stated on the voucher in the sphere. The airline supports the random destinations with arranged tours, to places like Sapporo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Naha. In addition, the bold traveller receives a badge as well as a mission for when they reach their destination.

As reported in the article, there was scepticism within Peach in regards to this new sales method. However, it has become a success and 150 capsules per day have been sold in recent months, with a total of about 3000 tickets having been distributed via this new channel. Given the popularity of this type of machines in Japan, as well as the general popularity of games of chance there, perhaps the success should not have been a surprise. However, not only has it been a success, it has also provided free promotion of the airline since the story about the new sales method has received a lot of attention both in Japan and around the world.

For the couple who cannot agree on where to go for a weekend trip maybe this way of getting a ticket could be practical and fun. Maybe people who are generally indecisive but want to travel appreciate this travel option. It will be interesting to see if this innovation in ticket sales will catch on outside of Japan. It does also make you think about what other methods for selling airline tickets may still be possible to come up with. Throwing darts at a rotating globe? Answer trivia questions on countries and your trip goes to the country for which you had the least number of correct answers? Let friends and family vote where you should go? It seems that there may be more room for innovation here.

Link to article:
Japan airlines’ surprise ticket gapachon machine helps boost sales

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