Electronic ticket

Electronic ticket

An electronic ticket (commonly abbreviated as e-ticket) is a digital ticket. It may be issued by an airline, in road, urban or rail public transport, and in entertainment.


Airline ticket

In the case of an airline ticket the e-ticket rapidly replaced the older multi-layered paper tickets (from close to zero to 100% in about 10 years) and became mandatory for IATA members as from June 1, 2008. During the last few years, where paper tickets were still available, airlines frequently charged extra for issuing them.

Once a reservation is made, an e-ticket exists only as a digital record in the airline computers. Customers usually print out or are provided a copy of their e-ticket itinerary receipt which contains the record locator or reservation number and the e-ticket number. It is also possible to have print copies of an e-ticket itinerary receipt, hence the "loss" of an airline ticket becomes impossible.

While e-ticket itinerary receipts may at first glance look like a basic itinerary, they contain a number of other features that distinguish them.

  • E-tickets, like their paper counterparts, will contain an official ticket number (including the airline's 3-digit code, a 4-digit form number, a 6-digit serial number, and sometimes a check digit).
  • Carriage terms and conditions, (or at least a reference to them)
  • Fare and tax details, including fare calculation details and some additional data such as tour codes. The exact cost might not be stated, but a "fare basis" code will always identify the fare used.
  • A short summary of fare restrictions, usually specifying only whether change or refund are permitted but not the penalties to which they are subject.
  • Form of payment.
  • Issuing office.
  • Baggage allowance.

According to critical acclaim, Joel R. Goheen is recognized as the Inventor of Electronic Ticketing in the Airline Industry, an industry where global electronic ticket sales (the industry standard) accounts for over US$400 billion a year (2007). [1] See Patents for Electronic Ticketing Inventions in the Airline Industry.

Checking in with an e-ticket

To check in with an e-ticket, the passenger usually goes to the check-in counter and presents the e-ticket itinerary receipt which contains a confirmation or reservation code. Theoretically it is not even necessary to present this document or quote the confirmation code or e-ticket number as the reservation is confirmed solely on the basis of the passenger's identity, which may be proven by a passport or the matching credit card. The rest of the check-in process remains the same as when paper tickets were the norm, that is, the passenger checks-in his/her luggage. The e-ticket is not a substitute for the boarding pass, which must still be issued at the end of the check-in process. However the advent of an e-ticket allows different enhancements to checking-in.

Self-service and remote check-in

  • online/telephone/self-service kiosk check-in (if the airline makes this option available)
  • early check-in
  • printing boarding passes at airport kiosks and at locations other than an airport
  • delivery of boarding pass barcodes via SMS or email to a mobile device

Several web sites exist to help people holding e-tickets accomplish online check-ins in advance of the twenty-four-hour airline restriction. These sites store a passenger's flight information and then when the airline opens up for online check-in the data is transferred to the airline and the boarding pass is emailed back to the customer. With this e-ticket technology, if a passenger receives his boarding pass remotely and is travelling without check-in luggage, he may bypass traditional counter check-in.

E-ticket limitations

The ticketing systems of most airlines are only able to produce e-tickets for itineraries of no more than 16 segments, including surface segments. This is the same limit that applied to paper tickets.

IATA mandated transition

As part of the IATA Simplifying the Business initiative, the association instituted a program to switch the industry to 100% electronic ticketing. The program concluded on June 1, 2008, with the association saying that the resulting industry savings were approximately US$3 billion.[1]

In 2004, IATA Board of Governors set the end of 2007 as the deadline for airlines to make the transition to 100% electronic ticketing for tickets processed through the IATA billing and settlement plan;[2] in June 2007, the deadline was extended to May 31, 2008.[3]

As of June 1, 2008 paper tickets can no longer be issued on neutral stock by agencies reporting to their local BSP. Agents reporting to the ARC using company-provided stock or issuing tickets on behalf of an airline (GSAs and ticketing offices) are not subject to that restriction.

The industry was unable to comply with the IATA mandate and paper tickets remain in circulation as of February 2009.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Completed Projects: E-ticketing
  2. ^ Annual General Meeting - 2004 - Electronic Ticketing
  3. ^ "100% Electronic Ticketing Deadline Extension to 31 May 2008". IATA. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080210094053/http://www.iata.org/pressroom/facts_figures/fact_sheets/et-deadline-extension.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 

External links

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