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E-Sharing: Interline E-Ticketing Takes Off

(Updated November 17, 2003)

Using E-Tickets

When you book e-tickets, there are some things you need to keep in mind. Here are some tips to make the process easier:

When you make reservations, make sure the name on the e-ticket and the traveler's primary piece of identification are identical. The issuing of an e-ticket, and boarding later on, can be denied if the identification does not match what's on the ticket. In particular, watch out for misspelled names, which can lead to a lot of confusion.
Print out your itinerary, including the confirmation number, and bring it with you to the airport. Your itinerary can serve as evidence that you booked the flight, made a seat selection, and requested a special meal.
Most airlines offer separate check-in lines for e-ticketed passengers. But, to be issued your boarding pass, you'll need a photo ID, such as a driver's license or passport, and the credit card you used to charge the ticket.
Check in early to ensure that you get your seat assignment and that there are no problems with your ticket. Moreover, reconfirm each leg of your flight to make sure there are no changes.
The use of e-tickets is rapidly evolving, especially when it comes to interline e-tickets (airline to airline ticketing). Before, if you were traveling outbound on one airline and returning on another, you had to use a paper ticket. However, airline alliances have started changing that policy, so you can use e-tickets when your flights involve travel on more than one airline.


The following chart shows the airlines with interline e-ticketing arrangements:

Airline Interline e-tickets with:
Air Canada United
Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air American, Northwest, Continental, Hawaiian Airlines
Aloha American, Continental
American Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, Aloha, America West, American Trans Air (ATA), Continental, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian, Midwest Airlines, Northwest, United, US Airways, Finnair, LanChile, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Copa Airlines
American Trans Air (ATA) American
America West American, Continental
Cathay Pacific American
Continental Aloha, Alaska Air/Horizon, American, America West, Delta, Northwest, United, US Airways, Copa Airlines
Copa Airlines American
Delta American, Continental, Northwest, United
Hawaiian Airlines American, Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Northwest
LanChile American
Midwest Airlines American
Northwest Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, American, Continental, Delta, United, US Airways, KLM
Qantas American
United Air Canada, American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, US Airways
US Airways American, Continental, United, Northwest

Customers will be able to use a single e-ticket when their itineraries include travel on these paired carriers. In the future, most airlines will offer this service, which will make last-minute changes between carriers easier.

What Does AnitaVacation Recommend?

Several readers have written to me asking what do I prefer, paper or e-tickets?" I use both. I have used many e-tickets for domestic trips without problems, and I will continue to use them. However, I will not use e-tickets for international travel, on airlines with labor problems, or for travel through particularly busy airline hubs at certain times of the year (for example, Chicago O'Hare in the winter).

"90 percent of our customers worldwide take advantage of electronic ticketing."
- Delta Air Lines

Why? Because even though advances in e-ticketing makes sense in terms of cost-cutting and convenience, holding an e-ticket when things go wrong can be a major inconvenience, especially since most airlines can't accept each other's e-tickets yet. Although some airlines do accept each other's e-tickets (as mentioned above), for the majority of airlines, paper tickets are still the standard negotiable document between airlines. That means those holding e-tickets must convert their ticket to a paper ticket before transferring between carriers.

Eventually e-ticketing will be a seamless process among carriers. There's no doubt about it, e-tickets will be the way all of us travel in the future. And, I'm sure there will be a day when we look back and wonder how we ever got along without them.

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