Paper tickets set to fly off into the sunset 

Paper airline tickets, considered by many to already have gone the way of the dinosaur, may be officially stamped out by the end of this year.

Still, no one seems to be too broken up about it.

The International Air Transport Association, a global trade association representing approximately 250 airlines, said that its airlines plan on doing away with any paper tickets by the end of this year, a move that could save millions annually.

The IATA estimates that 96 percent of tickets issued by U.S. airlines and 77 percent of tickets issued worldwide are electronic.

Most travelers these days are used to electronic ticketing anyway, which allows travelers to retrieve individual ticket stubs and boarding passes using the credit card with which the purchase was made or a government-issued ID.


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United Airlines, which issues 95 to 98 percent of its tickets electronically, still offers paper tickets if requested. United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said that while it is cheaper to offer only e-tickets, more airlines will have to get on board with them to sync the systems properly.

While some may enjoy the tangibility of a paper ticket, travelers who prefer this method may incur some additional fees. Northwest Airlines, for example, tacks on a $50 fee for paper tickets, which only account for approximately 2 percent of tickets at that airline. American Airlines similarly adds a fee for paper tickets.

Seattle resident Scott Landus said he flies to the Bay Area often on business and doesn’t think it’s necessary to have a paper ticket, mostly because it saves him time in check-in lines. He said he has never had a problem with electronic ticketing, which he has done ever since he started booking flights online several years ago.

"I have enough paperwork to carry around, I don’t really need something else to keep track of," Landus said.

However, electronic bookings can come with risks, as San Francisco resident Janice Bartoli found. She bought a ticket to Florida online and opted, like most people, for an e-ticket. But she was held up and had to wait in line for assistance anyway because the ticket machine didn’t recognize the credit card she used to make the purchase.

"I still use electronic tickets, but I remember what a hassle that was," Bartoli said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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