Jetstar will soon be starting its JetSMS booking, an alternative direct booking scheme that via mobile phone SMS.
JetSMS, which is developed by Optus and Start Corporation, allows Jetstar customers connected to any mobile network within Australia to make ticketless bookings 24 hours a day with the airline by SMS.
Starting late June, bookings can be made by SMS and will complement the airline's existing direct booking options such as the Internet and call centre services.
Customers need to pre-register via www.jetstar.com/jetsms before using JetSMS. Registration involves providing credit card details so customers will not need to re-enter payment details each time they make a new SMS booking.
Jetstar chief executive officer Alan Joyce, said Australians forwarded 4.8 billion SMS messages throughout 2003, and saw the move as critical to staying at the forefront of modern trends.
"For many Australians today, their mobile phone never leaves their side, so the advantages of using this JetSMS technology to either book a flight or enquire on a low fare at any time or place with mobile coverage are immense," Joyce said.
Customers can send an SMS message to 0411 JETSMS (0411 538 767) at normal SMS rates to enquire or book a flight. Joyce said the actual number of messages required will vary depending on the choices made by each customer, but the entire process can ideally be done with three messages.
A confirmation SMS message with a reference number will be sent to the customer upon completion of the purchase which will then be presented at the airport together with proof of identity.
Jetstar spokesperson Simon Westaway said only a maximum of two people can be booked per SMS because of SMS space limitations and for easier management of the booking.
Westaway believes the JetSMS will be popular among the younger generation and will soon be adopted by other airlines as well.
"We think it's going to be an interesting mode of booking and will be very popular especially among the youth. This will be attractive to other airlines as well and we expect more to follow it," Westaway said.
"For us it means that customers have another venue for direct booking. Going through a direct channel cost much cheaper for us than having a consultant," Westaway added.
Jetstar emphasised that JetSMS is an alternative booking strategy and will not replace other direct booking methods.