Friday Sep. 21, 2007 @ 12:38 am By

Anymore, unless you are like my electronically challenged (or just plain stubborn) father, there is no reason to need a paper ticket. Period. The fact that it is reported by the IATA that less than 14 percent of the 400 million tickets processed by them each year are still paper, proves that to be true. With such world wide usage and adoption of the Internet, and computers & their peripherals in general, the need to receive a paper ticket has lived long past it’s usefulness. With the ability to search, compare, buy and print an electronic plane ticket right from your computer, it is only the old school users not adopting the new school trends, or just slow to die antiquated methods, that continue to ‘believe’ in and ‘need’ a paper ticket. Anymore, travel agents, airlines and online brokers all provide electronic tickets for your air travel purchases. Heck, in the last 5 or so years of traveling around the world for pleasure and racing, I cannot remember having anything other than my 1 page printed (on recycled paper) confirmation itinerary. And there has never been an issue with that. (And I have been is some countries that are not exactly up to our speed.)

That being said, it still did surprise me that when I rolled up to check-in (assuming I had luggage to check like a bike case and could not go right to the gate or electronic kiosk check-in), I got that bulky little folder full of tickets, receipts, disclaimers, propaganda and blah blah. My method has always been to promptly toss it ALL in the trash, but the tickets & baggage check of course.

So, it is much to my personal happiness that a report on MSNBC talks about the fact that many holdout airlines – and the institutes that handle actual paper ticket processing for them behind the scenes (IATA and ARC) will move to an all electronic ticket setup in 2008.

Technically, this will save money (for us or them?), allow users the ability to better manage their travel details online, cut out the trash and waste and added bulky documents, and plain add convenience – and speed of processing – for customers. Great.. so we save them money AND do all the work for our travel.

They state that “On June 1, the industry association that handles ticketing for most major airlines (IATA) will stop issuing paper tickets. Some small regional or foreign airlines will continue issuing paper tickets, but they’ll be few and far between.”

MSNBC reports that “Paper tickets cost airlines $10 to $17, on average, compared with $1 or less for electronic tickets” to prepare. They state that this is an estimated savings of $3 billion a year to the airline industry.

SO, will we get a piece of that action for essentially doing all of the work – booking, managing, checking in electronically, tagging our baggage? Or maybe a kick back simply due to the associated cost saved? Ha…. I doubt it personally. I suspect this will not come at a cost decrease for the traveler. As a matter of fact, they will likely raise prices and come up with some kooky fee to cover the cost of electronic tickets. That’s how the airlines roll.

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