A student hackathon has unveiled an innovative app to enable air passengers to fill space in their suitcases with items for those in need.

The Sabre Destination Hack event saw a team of students from Queen Mary University of London win a £10,000 prize for coming up with Travita, a system that allows frequent flyers to use excess luggage capacity on planes to transport products that charities need in the place they are going to.

Travellers first register their details with Travita and then use travel technology company Sabre’s TripCase API to see a list of products needed by charities in the city they are flying to.

Passengers can then buy the donations and either fill gaps in their luggage or even take extra suitcases with them in (people travelling in business class can usually take more than one).

When they arrive at the airport, they take the goods to a drop-off point and the charity is automatically informed using the Twilio API that they can make a collection.

One of the winning students, 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.”

Another student, 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.”

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.”

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