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15 dollar Blind Booking is becoming a trend in China

You don't know the destination and departure time before you pay.

“Oh, it’s Mianyang!” On April 22nd, Wu Qingqing, who works in Jingdong, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, won an economy class ticket from Wuxi of Zhejiang Changlong Airlines to Mianyang, Sichuan Province on May 15.

Why is it called “winning” instead of buying it? Because she didn’t buy a plane ticket directly, she spent 98 yuan (about $15) on the blind booking service of the travel platform.

Blind booking means that you don’t know the time and destination of the trip until you pay the price of the ticket. It’s like the gacha, in the game. Everything is full of surprises.

But unlike gacha, blind bookings are actually refundable. If you are not satisfied with the destination and time, you can get a full refund. This means that for consumers, this is a game with nothing to lose.

During Ching Ming Festival’s period this year, more than 20 million users snapped up Blind Booking Tickets, sold by LY.COM, which once caused the company’s servers to crash. Therefore, before the May Day holiday, China’s mainstream air ticket booking platform, Ctrip, Qunar and Feizhu all launched their own Blind Booking services.

Except for some destinations affected by COVID-19 ‘s epidemic, the company’s blind bookings cover almost all domestic cities with routes below 1000 yuan (about 154US dollars), such as Chengdu to Xi’an, Zhengzhou to Qingdao, Guangzhou to Changsha and so on, according to Zhang Chao, head of air ticket products at LY.com.

This means that users will get a 90% discount no matter where they end up getting a ticket to.

“Plane ticket blind box” is now a hot topic on China’s online platforms such as Little Red Book, a lifestyle-sharing online app, and Douyin, the Chinese regional version of TikTok. 

“I believe young people are a big target demographic for this promotion, because they not only enjoy the thrill of the unknown, but also like to show off their lives through these types of commercial activities. Like this one for instance, it doesn’t matter if they finally go or not, booking a ticket and posting about it on social media can still suggest that one has “adventurous” and “life-loving” qualities. That’s why it is on Little Red Book, a lifestyle-sharing community,” said Fan, a marketing expert who has worked with civil aviation clients, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

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