What is an Airline E-Ticket?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
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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.


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Post 6

It is absurd to think a paper ticket is better than an e-ticket. When your flight ends you will throw away the colorful cardboard ticket anyway (unless you are a collector), and this gets reflected in the flight cost.

You might still need to print the boarding pass, but can do so on regular paper or thermal paper, lowering costs more.

Going forward to mobile barcode boarding passes will save even more money and increase convenience.

Post 5

I see ONLY disadvantages on e-tickets. I pay a lot of money and taxes and want to receive value paper on my hands. By buying an e-ticket you are only receiving a simple piece of paper. Look, paper tickets was coloured, while itinerary receipts not even coloured!

User Animegal: Come on! It's not progress; it's a regress if instead of coloured value paper I receive just a piece of usual paper! Come on! If I could, I would use just a paper tickets, but unfortunately I don't have an alternative.

Post 3

E-tickets are always evolving with new smart phone ones being issued. This side steps you having to print anything at all, as all of the data is stored on your phone.

With the most modern airlines, they actually have a barcode that can be displayed on your phone's screen. All the agent at the airport does is scan that and you're ready to go.

I think as technology continues to progress that we will see more and more ways to make travel faster and the check in process shorter. It isn't just good for passengers but it's good business for airlines as they don't have to spend as much staffing counters.

Post 2

I travel quite a bit and I love the convenience of having an e-ticket. With the e-ticket you get your confirmation for a flight instantly and often they are much cheaper.

I have found that shopping online for airline tickets is significantly cheaper than going to a travel agent. Plus, you can really shop around to find the best deal.

With the e-ticket you can also take advantage of their online check in, which makes your visit to the airport quicker and easier.

Have you seen people jumping the long line at check in by coasting to the short web only line? That is what having an e-ticket and checking in online does.

Post 1

the thing i like most about an e-ticket is that you can never lose your plane ticket as long as you have access to a computer. i also copied down my confirmation code or number in my notebook. this information will allow me to check in at the airline counter even without my e-ticket.

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