Airlines are a techno-friendly industry. The scientific & technological innovations are fastly adopted in each field of civil aviation. Airlines ticketing is also such a field. Earlier the ticket was issued only by Airline Company. The ticket agents were sending the demand of customers through the post office. Later, they used to send a request on the telephone or through personal visits. Today everything is computerized. The computer revolutionized the ticketing business. Now a tourist can get a ticket for any airline for any sector from any place. He can know his status also at his home.
The Internet has fastened the process of air ticketing. Now the customer himself can purchase a ticket directly from airlines without the help of travel agent. This process saved the commissions which were given to the travel agents by airlines. The IATA has decided to endpaper ticketing by the year 2007. There will be only electronic ticketing or e-ticketing. The IATA has also determined to end all types of commissions to travel agents by the year 2010.
Does it mean that now there is no use of knowledge of airline ticketing? Or there is no function of the travel agent? This question is a big question mark for the survival of the travel agency business.
But, the scenario is not so bleak. We see that the air transportation business is growing at an exponential growth rate. In India, we see that the number of airline companies is increasing. The airline companies are increasing their strength by merger, acquisition, and inclusion of new aircraft into their fleet. Thus, if the number of airline companies, airplanes, job opportunities, and air passengers is increasing at a rapid rate, then how the scope of air ticketing business may vanish or decline.
The answer is that there will be a change in the mode of ticketing. Now the travel agents will take ‘service charge’ from customers instead of commissions from the airlines. Tourism is a business that needs personalized service. A tourist wants personal service with a feeling of ‘customer is king.’ A tourist has typically minimal knowledge about airlines and destinations, so he takes the advice of travel agents. There are a large no. of airlines who always offer several types of concessions that may not appear on the Internet or newspaper, or perhaps a customer may not be able to search them. In such a condition, a travel agent can give him proper guidance. So, in the future, there will be a drastic change in the functions of travel agents.
The knowledge of ticketing is primary and essential to the customer or travel agent. Whatever may be the use of calculator and computer, one may not deny that to know tables, subtraction, addition, division & multiplication is still not useless or irrelevant. If a man has reached the moon, that does not mean the bullock cart & bicycle have become irrelevant. Similarly, the knowledge of paper ticketing is the base that will help a traveler or travel agent to do e-ticketing better with several alternatives. E-ticketing is a final processed product, but one should know the procedure of air ticketing, knowledge is always beneficial.
Tickets- Definition, coupons, and Future
An air ticket is a legal document. In which an airline agrees with the passenger to carry him from one place to another referenced place in a given class on fixed dates. The customer, instead of this service provides a fixed amount. Thus, an airline ticket is that document which includes the following factors:
- It authorizes a journey from the place of origin to the location of the destination via other destinations mentioned in the ticket.
- It is proof that the customer has paid the calculated amount.
- It includes flight number, class of service, and date of the journey so that it cannot be used otherwise.
Types of Air Tickets
There are 2 types of tickets, based on the kind of airlines-
(i) Domestic air tickets
(ii) International air tickets.
Domestic fares are simple since it does not need any immigration formalities. Domestic tickets are issued by the anyone airline company, and that is valid only in the airplanes of that airline company. All international tickets are published by IATA, and these are followed by all airlines. e.g., in an itinerary of Delhi – Dubai – Rome – Paris – London,
the flights may be of Air India, Gulf Air, A1 Italia, Air France, and British Airways.
The method of fare calculation will also be different in both cases.
In the domestic ticket, the fares are fixed either by the government (a few years ago) or by airline companies themselves according to their pricing policies. There are several types of taxes that may be imposed uniformly on all.
In the case of international tickets, the tariffs are fixed by the IATA. The tax depends on the distance, class of service, types, and level of services, and other policies, e.g., there should be the same fare from place A to B in the second class. But an airline can widen the seats, can fix Plasma TV on the back of each seat; thus, it changes the services, therefore improves the tariff. In other cases, another airline can offer a free holiday in between; hence it can deviate from IATA fare. Thus, to a certain extent, the tariff becomes a subject of competition in the market.
There can be 3 types of tickets based on technology, (i) hand ticket which is written by hands, now it is almost out of fashion, but it is the basis of all other types. (ii) Machine ticket that is written by computer & its format is a little different than a hand ticket. (iii) E-ticket is a recent development. In this, the transaction takes place through the Internet. There are several benefits of it, e.g., quick and instant ticket, bargained price, etc. but there can be chances of bank fraudaltry by e-banking, or in case of cancellation, the airlines take the hefty penalty.
In the first two cases, i.e., hand and machine tickets, the ticket has several coupons known as ticket stock. These are provided by airline companies to recognized travel agents or issued by airline offices themselves.
An airline ticket consists of several parts (pages), called coupons. They are:-
- Cover Page- It shows the name of the airline company, e.g., Air India.
- Other pieces of information- these include conditions of contact, dangerous goods, etc. These are not coupons.
- Auditors Coupon- this is torn off and sent to airline co. for accounting purposes.
- Agent’s Coupon-This is kept with the travel agent for the record.
- Flight Coupons– These are 2 or 4, depending on the segments of the journey. These are checked at each boarding airport and kept by airport staff; they issue ‘Board Pass’ in place of them, which is valid on board of an airplane.
- Passenger Coupons- This is the last cover page. This is proof of a passenger’s journey.
Thus an airline ticket consists of 4 coupons. Each Coupon is for a specific person. The flight coupons are taken by airport staff instead of ‘Boarding Pass.’ On-Board passes the seat no., raw no., preference of food (veg., non-veg.) choice of cabins (smoking/ non-smoking cottage, though most of the airlines and airports have banned on smoking in airplane and airports), gate no. (through which one will go to take his flight) etc. are mentioned.
Reference: DDEKUK, Written by “Prof Ravi Kumar Bhushan” DTHM, KUK