04 May 2008

Who said paper tickets are dead? IATA that's who!

So the final countdown has begun. IATA has decreed May 30th will be the last day for using paper tickets. I remain a little skeptical about the whole process. The BTC group are agitating strongly against the deadline and I think with some merit.

There are a number of major problems with ET (Electronic Ticketing). It is not as simplistic as IATA and others would have us believe. Further there is still this nagging feeling that ET is – well too complex. Perhaps we need to consider pure ticketless as a better way forward.

Frankly I don’t believe the IATA statistics that 98%+ of all the BSPs are already issuing all ET. I have this vision of some very unhappy accountants at Travel Agencies (and airlines revenue management departments) in some countries who are desperately figuring out how to get those last people to use ET. And then there will be all those users out there.

Frankly I think it is all a sinister plot. If you are a conspiracy theorist – this is just another form of ancillary revenue. The number of tickets returned under ET is significantly less than was the case under paper tickets. I saw a statistic from 2000 where the number (in the USA) was 2% of all paper tickets were never used but 5% of all electronic tickets were not used and not returned for some value. 3% gross revenue boost is a better number than most airlines make in yields. All for doing nothing!

Still ET is better than paper.


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