Electronic ticket

An electronic ticket (commonly abbreviated as e-ticket) is the digital ticket equivalent of a paper ticket. The term is most commonly associated with airline issued tickets. Electronic ticketing for urban or rail public transport is usually referred to as travel card or transit pass. It is also used in ticketing in the entertainment industry.

An electronic ticket system is a more efficient method of ticket entry, processing and marketing for companies in the airline, railways and other transport and entertainment industries.

Airline ticket
E-tickets in the airline industry were devised in about 1994, and have now largely replaced the older multi-layered paper ticketing systems. Since 1 June 2008, it has been mandatory for IATA members to use e-ticketing. Where paper tickets are still available, some airlines charge a fee for issuing paper tickets.

When a reservation is confirmed, the airline keeps a record of the booking in its computer reservations system. Customers can print out or may be provided with a copy of a e-ticket itinerary receipt which contains the record locator or reservation number and the e-ticket number. It is possible to print multiple copies of an e-ticket itinerary receipt.

Besides providing itinerary details, an e-ticket itinerary receipt also contains:

An official ticket number (including the airline’s 3-digit ticketing code, a 4-digit form number, a 6-digit serial number, and sometimes a check digit).
Carriage terms and conditions, (or at least a reference to them)
Fare and tax details, including fare calculation details and some additional data such as tour codes. The exact cost might not be stated, but a “fare basis” code will always identify the fare used.
A short summary of fare restrictions, usually specifying only whether change or refund are permitted but not the penalties to which they are subject.
Form of payment.
Issuing office.
Baggage allowance.

Checking in with an e-ticket
Passengers with e-tickets are required to check-in at the airport for a flight in the usual manner, except that they may be required to present an e-ticket itinerary receipt or personal identification, such as a passport, or credit card. Producing a print-out of an e-ticket itinerary receipt may be required to enter the terminal of some airports or to satisfy immigration regulations in some countries.

The introduction of e-tickets has allowed for various enhancements to checking-in processes.

Self-service and remote check-in
online/telephone/self-service kiosk check-in (if the airline makes this option available)
early check-in
printing boarding passes at airport kiosks and at locations other than an airport
delivery of boarding pass bar-codes via SMS or email to a mobile device
Several websites assist people holding e-tickets to check in online in advance of the twenty-four-hour airline restriction. These sites store a passenger’s flight information and then when the airline opens up for online check-in the data is transferred to the airline and the boarding pass is emailed back to the customer. With this e-ticket technology, if a passenger receives his boarding pass remotely and is travelling without check-in luggage, he may bypass traditional counter check-in.

E-ticket limitations
The ticketing systems of most airlines are only able to produce e-tickets for itineraries of no more than 16 segments, including surface segments. This is the same limit that applied to paper tickets.

Another critical limitation is that at the time e-tickets were initially designed, most airlines still practiced product bundling. By the time the industry began 100% e-ticket implementation, more and more airlines began to unbundle previously included services (like checked baggage) and add them back in as optional fees (ancillary revenue). However, the e-ticket standard did not anticipate and did not include a standardized mechanism for such optional fees.

IATA later implemented the Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) standard for such information. This way, airlines could consistently expose and capture such fees at time of booking through travel reservation systems, rather than having to surprise passengers with them at check-in.

IATA mandated transition
As part of the IATA Simplifying the Business initiative, the association instituted a program to switch the industry to 100% electronic ticketing. The program concluded on June 1, 2008, with the association saying that the resulting industry savings were approximately US$3 billion.

In 2004, IATA Board of Governors set the end of 2007 as the deadline for airlines to make the transition to 100% electronic ticketing for tickets processed through the IATA billing and settlement plan; in June 2007, the deadline was extended to May 31, 2008.

As of June 1, 2008 paper tickets can no longer be issued on neutral stock by agencies reporting to their local BSP. Agents reporting to the ARC using company-provided stock or issuing tickets on behalf of an airline (GSAs and ticketing offices) are not subject to that restriction.

The industry was unable to comply with the IATA mandate and paper tickets remain in circulation as of February 2009.

Train tickets
Amtrak started offering electronic tickets on all train routes on 30 July 2012. These tickets can be ordered over the internet and printed (as a PDF file), printed at a Quik-Trak kiosk, or at the ticket counter at the station. Electronic tickets can also be held in a smart phone and shown to the conductor using an app. Mobile tickets are common with operators of US commuter train networks (e.g. MTA LIRR and Metro North) but they are usually only offered on the US version of the App Store and only accept US-issued credit cards as the app’s payment page asks the user for the credit card’s ZIP code to complete the purchase.

Several European train operators also offer self-printable or downloadable tickets. Often tickets can also be delivered by SMS or MMS. Railway operators in other countries also issue electronic tickets. The national operators of Denmark and Netherlands have a nationwide system where RFID smartcards are used as train tickets. In the UK, the issuance of printable or mobile tickets is at the discretion of train operators and is often available for advanced tickets only (i.e. valid only on a specific train). This is very common in Europe for local urban rail, such as rapid transit/metros.

In India, an SMS sent by the Indian Railways, along with a valid proof of identity is considered equivalent to a ticket.

Sport, concert, and cinema tickets
Many sport, concert venues, and cinemas use electronic ticketing for their events. Electronic tickets, or “eTickets” as they are sometimes referred, are often delivered as PDFs or another downloadable format that can be received via email or through a mobile app. Electronic tickets allow spectators to download their tickets, as opposed to waiting for physical tickets to arrive in the mail. A printed copy of these tickets or a digital copy on a mobile phone should be presented on coming to the venue. These tickets now normally also have a barcode, which may be scanned on entry into the venue to streamline crowd processing. Electronic tickets have become increasingly prevalent in the entertainment industry over the last decade.

In some cases, spectators who want to see a match may not need a printable electronic ticket. If someone with a membership to a football team books a ticket online, the member can just verify his/her reservation with a membership card at the entrance. This is common with teams in the English Premiership League.

In January 2017 it was reported that Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt wants to create an electronic ticket to connect public bus and train services as well as parking spaces and potentially car-sharing services across all cities.

Cash Cards
This solution is being tested in Germany: Users have a smart card with a screen, a battery and an antenna. When entering a bus, the trip is automatically recorded using the radio antenna system. It is no longer necessary to buy tickets for each trip: at the end of the month, the passenger receives an account of all his travels.

Use of telephony
Phones with NFC transponder: This solution has been tested in London since the 2012 Olympics, as part of a partnership between TFL (Transport for London) and Samsung. The NFC transponder that equips the phone makes it possible to simulate an NFC object (card or tag).
Phones with NFC-compatible SIM card: This solution is currently being studied in Paris, with a RATP project – Bouygues Telecom, and in Caen with a project Orange-Ville de Caen. The goal is to store the data usually contained in the contactless cards directly in the mobile phone of the user, if it is equipped with a compatible SIM card. This mode of operation is very developed in Japan (with the company DoCoMo).
Using mobile-integrated communications features: Most mobile phones and PDAs on the market today are equipped with Bluetooth 4 and Wi-Fi. The idea is to buy the tickets (on the WAP, on the Internet, via a telephone server or specific terminals…), to store them directly on the mobile phone, and to validate / check them electronically using Bluetooth or Wireless.
USB keys with NFC-compatible chip
This solution is based on an NFC-compatible chip introduced in a USB key, such as the NFC-compatible SIM card in the mobile phone. The advantages and disadvantages are therefore the same by adding the advantage of the low cost of a USB key compared to a mobile phone (useful in the case of users who do not have a mobile phone) but also the disadvantage of the easy loss of it.

Send 2D barcodes by MMS
This is a solution explored by SNCF in particular with its Mobitick and Tikefone projects. This consists of sending the customer a 2D barcode (more reliable than the 1D bar codes currently in our supermarkets) in the form of MMS.


Compatible with most phones on the market (which are able to display images)
very flexible (bar code valid for a journey, or for a subscription, or…)

requires to equip controllers with optical drives
cost of sending the MMS: at the expense of the customer or the service provider?
unusable if the laptop is out of battery
composting time (about 40 s *)

Registering with an electronic ticket
To register with an electronic ticket, the passenger usually comes to the counter and shows the receipt of the itinerary of the electronic ticket, which contains a confirmation or reservation code. In some airports and airlines it is not even necessary to present this document or give the confirmation code or ticket number, since the reservation is confirmed only based on the identity of the passenger, which can be verified by a passport or a credit card. credit. After confirming the reservation, the passenger presents their luggage and they give him a boarding pass, which usually says an electronic ticket.

Registration by self-service or remote
The option to register online is available on some airlines. A passenger enters their confirmation number to the airline’s website, and the passenger prints the boarding pass on their printer at home. Registering online is typically allowed up to 24 hours before the departure of the flight, although that may vary depending on the airline. On airlines without assigned seats such as Southwest, this typically guarantees the passenger to board early and get a better seat. Apart from the identification, the boarding pass that has been printed is all that needs to be presented when arriving at the airport. On airlines where you can not register online, documentation or billing can be given at a self-service kiosk at the airport or at the counter. A boarding pass is required to board the plane; In some countries, such as the United States, it is also necessary to go through airport security. Electronic tickets are very popular because they allow additional services such as: • Register online, by phone or through a self-service kiosk. • Register early. • Print boarding passes at the airport kiosks and in locations besides the airport. • Automatic refunds and changes online, by phone and at kiosks. Several websites exist to help people who have electronic tickets to register online before the 24 hours required by the airline.

Electronic tickets are sometimes not available for some flights from an airline that normally offers them. This may be due to numerous reasons, the most common being the incompatibility with computer programs. If an airline issues tickets for a code-share flight with another company, and there is no electronic ticket agreement, the operating airline could not see the ticket of the airline that issued it. So the airline that registers the flight needs to provide copies of paper versions of the tickets so that it can be processed. Likewise, if the destination airport does not have access to the airline that registered the flight, a paper ticket must be issued. Discount tickets for industry are also usually issued on paper if they are valid on more than one airline, and if the airlines in which they are valid, do not have an agreement. Since electronic tickets between airlines are still the exception and not the rule, valid tickets for more than one airline are usually issued on paper. Until now, the ticketing systems of most airlines can only produce electronic tickets for itineraries of no more than 16 segments, including surface segments.

Other uses
The e-ticket is becoming increasingly popular and, with the rise of smartphones, many companies are encouraging its development.

In the field of shows (cinemas, shows, concerts), a French law of 2006 5 authorizes the introduction of dematerialized tickets allowing organizers to set up direct sales over the Internet. For example, for Gaumont cinemas, it is possible to pay for one’s place on the internet, to receive his e-ticket on his phone (by mail in a classic way, without bluetooth…) and then to show the screen of his phone to the entry, the staff then scans the barcode.
Electronic tickets are also used for reservations in amusement parks.

In addition, the electronic ticket can also be used as a loyalty card, or as a discount coupon. Associated with a geolocation of the carrier, it can even be used to obtain instant reductions.

Source from Wikipedia