Thursday, August 30, 2007

The end of an era, IATA to cancel paper tickets

It’s the end of an era, and the beginning of another chapter of the digital age. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that it has placed its last order for paper tickets.

What that means is that once this order is received and fully distributed, you won’t see another paper ticket again. Imagine that!

An amount of 16.5 million paper tickets were ordered from 7 specialized printers to supply the 60,000 accredited IATA travel agents in 162 markets around the world until 31 May 2008.

From 1 June 2008 onwards, 100 percent of tickets issued through the IATA Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) will be electronic.

Why? Well, because the digital e-ticket has now fully taken over.

The way it works is simple. You make a reservation with your travel agent, the agent gets confirmation digitally, then instead of asking you whether or not you want to print the ticket for you to pick it up, the agent simply confirms it online, gets e-ticket info, forwards it to your email which you.

The e-ticket number is all you need to announce at the airport. You need not even print out the email including that number, you can just read it from your handheld device if you wish, and produce identity proof that you are the person who’s name is on it!

This step follows a concentrated effort by IATA for 38 months promote the use of e-tickets. E-ticketing went from 16 percent in June 2004 to 84 percent today. And in less than a year, the paper ticket will become a collector’s item.

How much paper will be saved? Well, look at the number of tickets issues annually. IATA’s settlement systems issue over 400 million tickets every year.

With the volume of paper tickets now at only 16 percent of that total it’s still a massive print run.
Is this bad news for the printers? Probably.

They join a growing casualty list including photo print shops, fax machine producers, document shipping specialists and many other businesses who’s operation are now looking obsolete.

Surely, the digital age will create a whole new set of opportunities they can tap into to.They just need to move fast, as Kodak has done successfully moving onto digital photography and accessories.

Why is IATA doing this? The answer is obvious in terms of paper savings ($9 for every ticket) but there’s more to it.

The e-ticket system actually provdes better and faster service to travellers through email, agents can serve customers remotely, airlines deal with less paper and the impact on the environment is reduced.

No need anymore to axe 50,000 mature trees each year. Al Gore and Greenpeace will be pleased!

Start collecting and keeping those paper tickets. They’ll fetch a fortune soon on eBay and make sure your email is always live when planning a trip. Your ticket confirmation will be showing up on your PC, mobile or handheld device screen from now on!

zanasser@gmail.com

2 Comments:

At 10:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad RJ and QAIA have been using e-tix for at least several months. Makes travelling such a breeze ...if only RJ would get rid of that annoying 72hr confirmation policy.

 
At 10:34 AM , Anonymous salam said...

It's funny to see how people do not easily accept e-tickets as a replacement of paper ones, my husband has a travel agency, and for the last year people have been insisting on getting real tickets..I guess they won't be having a choice now!

 

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