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Dematerialization of airline tickets: do they still need to be printed?

Technological advances have led to the dematerialization of a large number of procedures. The civil aviation sector is no exception, offering remote access to booking , electronic ticketing and online check-in. Against this backdrop, you may be wondering whether you still need to print airline tickets?
Published on September 1st, 2023

What is an e-ticket?

An electronic ticket, also known as an e-ticket, is a dematerialized document containing all the information relating to your flight (passenger details, ticket number, bookingreferences, etc.). Similar to the paper version, the e-ticket is registered online, ensuring traceability in the carrier's or travel agency's database.

Good to know: the dematerialized ticket does not exempt you from the registration procedure.

You can carry out the check-in procedure at the airport, where you present your e-ticket via your smartphone or tablet, with or without using the airline's application. Once your information has been verified, the agent will issue your boarding pass.

You can also check in for your flight online. Your boarding pass will be sent to you electronically.

So you don't receive any paper documents. But the question you're still asking yourself is whether or not it's better for you to print airline tickets and other electronic documents.

The advantages of e-tickets

Accessible directly from your smartphone, e-tickets offer significant advantages. Your cell phone is an object you rarely part with. So there's less risk of losing or misplacing your plane ticket, which is saved on it.

This can be a more economical and environmentally-friendly solution, especially if the airline selected charges a fee for issuing paper tickets.

In addition, by using the application directly, you benefit from real-time information about your flight: delays, cancellations, terminal changes, etc.

If for any reason you need to change your booking booking, the e-ticket saves you the hassle of sending paper documents back by post. However, the fare conditions for modification or cancellation still apply.

Finally, it's better to have a perfectly legible e-ticket than a badly printed document that causes you problems when boarding.

The disadvantages of not printing your plane ticket

Unfortunately, each solution has its advantages and disadvantages. The electronic document saved on your smartphone depends on its functionality.

It's best not to run out of battery or connection. A technical problem of this kind could also cause problems during recording.

Although it's less common to lose or misplace your phone than your plane ticket, it's still a possibility. So is having it stolen.

Finally, you should be aware that requirements may vary from one airline to another. Despite the widespread use of dematerialized tickets, always refer to your carrier's instructions.

Tips for avoiding computer problems

If you want to print your plane ticket for fear of possible computer problems, a few precautions can help you avoid the main inconveniences.

  • To prevent a bad connection, you can take a screenshot from the application. This way, the proof of your booking is stored directly in your photo gallery, accessible even without a network.
  • To avoid display problems (lost phone or broken screen), send the information to your mailbox. You can access it from any device.
  • Finally, if you're traveling with several people, a double backup can save you a lot of hassle.

Good to know: this only applies to your flight documents. Your identity documents must be presented in paper format.