What is E-Tickets?

Traveling man at an airport


Today, most airline tickets are no longer printed on paper. Instead, the so-called electronic tickets are used, in short “E-Ticket” or “Etix”. Accordingly, the booked tickets are no longer delivered by post, but by e-mail or download, and are therefore immediately available. We’ll tell you how to handle the e-ticket and much more!

What are e-tickets?

Many still have nothing to do with the term e-ticket and are accordingly uncertain about how to proceed when booking a flight. Strictly speaking, however, the electronic ticket is nothing more than the classic ticket – only that it is no longer delivered in paper form, but digitally. As a rule, this is sent to the passenger by e-mail and is available there for retrieval or printing. However, the further procedure differs from airline to airline. For this reason, the e-mails usually contain all important information for the passenger on how to handle the e-ticket.

Sometimes you still have to print it out, using an office printer like HP (after a proper set up by 123 HP), classically in paper form, other times you can exchange it for a boarding pass at the airport and another time the e-ticket is already your complete boarding pass, so you can go directly to the gate. It, therefore, makes sense that you take a closer look at the topic of the electronic ticket – and how you have to proceed when checking in for your flight.

How is the e-ticket used?

In principle, the electronic ticket contains the same information as the previous paper ticket. After receiving the corresponding e-mail, it can be downloaded to a device such as a laptop or a smartphone. In addition, you can or must print it out depending on the airline. The airline also stores the e-ticket with all relevant information electronically. You can therefore check-in either with the booking code, your identity card, or your passport or partly by credit or frequent flyer card.

Many airlines also accept the presentation of the e-ticket on your smartphone, tablet, or other devices at check-in. Of course, this does not mean that you do not have to identify yourself to confirm your identity. Therefore, do not forget your identity documents for the flight. With the e-ticket, you often also have the option of electronic check-in at a vending machine. These are already available at many German airports and bring a great time saving, as you can bypass the queues at the counters. With some airlines, you can even print out your baggage tag yourself at these machines and then drop it off directly at the baggage acceptance desk. In principle, however, you are free to use such a machine or prefer to go to the classic check-in counter.

What are the advantages?

First and foremost, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) has made e-tickets mandatory in order to save costs for the airlines. Because while the classic paper ticket still cost over eight euros per piece, the e-ticket only costs around 80 cents. Nevertheless, the lower costs are by no means the only advantage and thus the reason why the electronic ticket has become the new standard:

  • The e-ticket is immediately available after ordering. So short-term bookings are possible.
  • Fee-intensive ticket deposits at the airport are no longer necessary.
  • By checking in at a vending machine, passengers save a lot of time and airline staff.
  • Luggage can also be checked in independently using vending machines.
  • The electronic ticket cannot be lost or forgotten.
  • Passengers can select their own seats on the aircraft during electronic check-in.
  • The presentation of the ticket is no longer necessary for many airlines.
  • All booking data is stored electronically by the airline and is available at any time.
  • Rebookings or other changes to the ticket are possible faster and cheaper.

All in all, the switch to the e-ticket has made traveling by plane less complicated, faster, and therefore more comfortable.


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What data is in the e-ticket?

As already mentioned, the e-ticket contains all important information about the passenger and his booked flight. However, these are stored in standardized masks, often with corresponding abbreviations or codes, so that they are not always understandable to the passenger himself. This is not too bad, after all, the ticket is read electronically. Nevertheless, it is interesting to know what information is included in the e-ticket:

  • Ticket number of the e-ticket
  • Reservation number
  • Destination
  • Place of ticket issuance
  • Date of ticket issuance
  • IATA number of the issuing agency
  • First and last name of the passenger
  • Salutation
  • Name suffixes
  • Date of birth
  • Passenger status (Adult, Child, etc.)
  • Coupon status
  • Route
  • Airline
  • Flight number
  • Reservation class
  • Departure
  • Departure time
  • Reservation Status
  • Tariff designation
  • Validity
  • Baggage allowance
  • Fare
  • Steer
  • Restrictions
  • Mode of payment

Although the e-ticket does not seem very meaningful at first glance, it provides all the necessary information for check-in.

An e-ticket for several flights?

A declared goal of the switch to e-tickets was to facilitate data exchange between the different airlines. Nevertheless, this so-called “e-interlining” has so far only been possible to a limited extent. Accordingly, in many cases, an e-ticket is only valid for one flight or one flight route (with possible stopovers) with the same airline. On other flights or return flights, you usually have to check in again. So if you are not sure whether you are flying within an airline alliance and the e-tickets have already been introduced in the respective destination country, take the ticket with you in paper form in an emergency.

Validity of e-tickets abroad

While in Germany the e-ticket is now implemented almost without exception, this is not yet the case in many other countries. So you may have problems on the entry or return journey if you want to travel exclusively by e-ticket. This applies, for example, too many countries in North Africa or to flights to and from Russia. Here, too, the additional ticket in paper form is recommended for security. In some countries, in order to obtain a visa, you must also present confirmation of your return flight upon entry. The e-ticket is not always sufficient. Therefore, be sure to carry the printed “Itinerary Receipt” with you. In such cases, you can reorder the paper ticket from the airline for a fee. The costs are around eight euros.

Print your e-ticket – yes or no?

So there are many good reasons to print out the e-ticket, which will be sent to you by e-mail, in paper form. For some airlines, this is still necessary for check-in. In the e-mail, you will usually find corresponding information. If you are unsure, you can also ask the airline in advance whether you need the e-ticket printed out or even the paper ticket. In most cases, however, this is not necessary for flights within Europe or to North America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other digitized countries. In these cases, it is more environmentally friendly and comfortable to do without printing altogether. This question cannot, therefore, be answered in a general way and should be decided on a case-by-case basis.