E-ticket: what is it?

From June 1, 2008 – all the airlines belonging to IATA (International Air Transport Association) will start using only electronic tickets (e-tickets). The good old-fashioned paper tickets have become a part of history. Here are a few questions that people ask us…

Are there any exceptions to this rule? Yes and no. All the airlines belonging to IATA BSP (Billing and Settlement Plan) allow agents to issue only e-tickets. Only a few minor airlines continue to have paper tickets for now – but eventually they will convert to e-tickets as well.

What does an e-ticket look like? In general – an e-ticket is basically a letter including flight and booking details, namely the passenger name, flight details, airline file locator and the ticket number. It is called an “electronic ticket receipt”. It is good to have it with you at the check-in counter – but the most important thing is to have a passport (for international travel) or valid photo ID for domestic flights.     

What happens if I lose my e-ticket? Nothing bad. Don’t worry – all the info is in the airline database, so the check-in staff can find you by your name and flight number.

If I have a paper ticket for a flight that I purchased before June 1, 2008 – do I have to change it into an e-ticket? No, you can still use it for your flight.

How do cancellations and changes work with e-tickets? You have to contact your travel agent or the airline – and they will take care of the changes according to the rules of your existing ticket. There is no need to return the “e-ticket receipt” as all the information is in the reservation database.

What other changes does e-ticketing bring to travel in general? With e-tickets you don’t have to worry about losing your ticket and paying “lost ticket fees”. Some airlines allow you to the “electronic check in” from your own computer at home. IATA has estimated that the use of e-tickets saves about 50,000 trees a year and reduces ticketing costs to the airlines in the average amount of 3 billion dollars a year.

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