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An e-ticket is an electronic airline ticket, or electronic reservation. A traveler is not issued a traditional paper ticket, but instead, he prints out his reservation information, and often his boarding pass, from e-mail before heading to the airport. In some cases, the ticket can be displayed on a smartphone, using the airline's ticketing application. The reservation is kept in the airline's computer system.
Using this type of ticket saves airlines money because they do not have to spend money and postage issuing paper versions. The e-ticket is also more reliable, since the traveler need not depend on the mail to receive his ticket, or on a ticketing clerk at the airport, who may not know the document was to be held for the traveler at the counter.
An e-ticket can also be cheaper than a paper ticket. U.S. airlines often charge extra fees to issue paper tickets to helps offset printing and postage charges. Older travelers would often rather have a paper ticket, and will pay the extra fee, but most travelers prefer to avoid it.
Using an e-ticket generally involves having the reservation information printed and ready for inspection. If online check-in is available, a traveler is always advised to take advantage of this procedure. If this is not feasible, travelers may be able check in at the electronic kiosk for their airline at the airport, or they can always check in at the ticket counter itself. When checking in at the ticket counter, the traveler will show the reservation information to the agent and have the boarding passes printed out there. An increasing number of airlines are also creating smartphone apps that allow passengers to pull up their e-tickets through the application to show security officials and boarding agents.
Although all major U.S. airlines and most major world airlines use the e-ticket, not all do. It is always advisable for a traveler to check and see if an electronic ticket will be accepted at the ticket counter. This is especially true for travelers flying on a major airline's codeshare partner. The main airline will probably honor the ticket, but the codeshare partner may or may not.
An e-ticket can be purchased directly from an airline's website, from a travel site or from a travel agent. Using one can help prevent the ticket from being lost or stolen, since the reservation remains in the airline's computer system. It's always a good idea to print out reservation information, however, since computers can crash and the traveler may need to show the information to a security agent.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is an airline e-ticket?
An airline e-ticket, or electronic ticket, is the digital version of a traditional paper ticket. It contains all the travel information required for a passenger's journey, such as flight number, date, departure and arrival times, and seat assignment. E-tickets have become the standard in the airline industry due to their convenience and environmental benefits. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry-wide adoption of e-ticketing saved airlines $3 billion annually.
How do I use an e-ticket at the airport?
To use an e-ticket at the airport, you simply need to present a valid form of identification, such as a passport or driver's license, at the check-in counter or when boarding. The airline staff will then look up your booking information in their system. Additionally, many airlines offer the option to check in online and use a mobile boarding pass, which can be scanned at security checkpoints and the boarding gate directly from your smartphone.
Can I print my e-ticket for my records?
Yes, you can print your e-ticket for your records. While it's not necessary for travel, as the airline has your booking stored electronically, having a printed copy can be useful for personal reference or in situations where you might not have access to your electronic devices. It typically includes a summary of your flight details and a confirmation code, also known as a PNR (Passenger Name Record).
Is it possible to lose an e-ticket?
It is virtually impossible to lose an e-ticket since it is stored electronically with the airline's reservation system. However, you might lose the email confirmation or forget the booking reference number. In such cases, you can retrieve your e-ticket by contacting the airline or checking your email history. Ensure you have your personal identification and any relevant details about your flight when you reach out for assistance.
What should I do if there's a mistake on my e-ticket?
If you notice a mistake on your e-ticket, it's important to contact the airline as soon as possible to correct the error. This might include misspelled names, incorrect dates, or other discrepancies. Airlines have different policies and time frames for making changes without fees, so addressing the issue promptly can help avoid additional costs or complications with your travel plans.