Students win hackathon by giving air passengers’ spare baggage capacity to charities

A team of students from QMUL has won the £10,000 grand prize at the Sabre Destination Hack event by developing a prototype system that allows frequent flyers to fill their spare luggage capacity on planes with products that charities need.

6 July 2015

Their idea would see travellers register their details with the system, which they called Travita, using the TripCase API and are given a list of products needed by charities in their destination city. Travellers can then buy the products and a fill the gaps in their luggage. When they arrive at the airport they take the products to a drop-off point and the charity is automatically informed using the Twilio API that they can come and collect.

Greg Webb, one of five judges and President at Sabre Travel Network, said, “We chose Travita as our overall winner because it displayed the most unique use of technology that can provide a new way for frequent travellers to give back to the community. It’s something we’ve never seen before and something we believe will go a long way.”

Sameen Islam, Kristina Semenyuk, and Jaykumar Pradeep Rawal are all 19-year-old first year Computer Science students at QMUL who regularly take part in hackathons, where developers come together in teams to find technical solutions to problems in intensive sessions. They met the fourth member of the team, Kate Rushton, at one such event and agreed to work together again at Destination Hack.

Kristina Semenyuk, said, “So often people, particularly business travellers, don’t need all the space that airlines allocate them. We thought it would be great if we could reduce charities’ costs by using that space to get the things they need to the countries that need them.”

Sabre the travel technology company who organised the hackathon has an interest in helping the team to develop Travita further. As well as the grand prize the team also won the £1,500 prize for the best use of the TripCase API

Jaykumar Pradeep Rawal, said, “I really hope we can keep developing Travita over the summer and maybe next year people can be taking mosquito nets, school books and who knows what else to the people that need them all around the world.”

Sameen Islam, said, “We still can’t believe we won the main prize. We haven’t decided what we’ll do with the money yet. We’ll probably buy things to support our degrees and buy some hardware that we can hack. I think we’ll probably take a bit of a holiday too!”

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