Instant messaging flies into travel - WeChat adds flight booking serviceNews / Technology | OnlineBy Karthick Prabu | April 17, 2014Share This article was originally published on WeChat, the mobile-based messaging service, has added the ability to make flight reservations to its mobile app.The Tencent-owned brand has been constantly adding m-commerce features that makes travel booking process easy and comfortable for Chinese travellers.Currently, the flight bookings are powered by LY.com (earlier known as 17u.cn/Tongcheng), an online travel agency in China. The recent investment by Tencent (and Oriza, Boyu Capital and others) for about $82.5 million in LY.com can be seen as a signal for this flight booking integration with WeChat app.Chinese users can goto the "My Bank Cards" section in WeChat app to access the flight booking feature. WeChat app also has a payment facility available, so it makes it convenient for users to transact.Tencent has been taking all efforts possible to promote its WeChat payment feature. One such step was its recent decision to enable Didi Dache taxi hailing service via the WeChat app.In January 2013, Tencent (along with Citic) invested about $100 million in China-based taxi hailing service Didi Dache.With 355 million active users, WeChat is slowly and steadily emerging as a travel-transaction platform.We've reached out to LY.com and Tencent to understand their plans to include other travel segment (attraction tickets, hotel bookings, etc) in WeChat app.Recently, Chinese low cost carrier Spring Airlines launched a WeChat Booking service that enabled users to book flights, check flight status, and access customer support services. It also announced its plan to launch a WeChat Check-in service, and the ability to choose seats from the WeChat app.Know more about why WeChat is not just a WhatsApp competitor, and the list of advanced features it has got for the Chinese market - here.NB:China mobile users image via Shutterstock.