The days of the traditional paper airline ticket are numbered.
Qantas today revealed travel agents would be charged an extra fee of AU$55 per ticket if they continued to issue domestic passengers with traditional paper tickets rather than their electronic equivalent.
The airline issued a statement revealing the charge after the Herald Sun newspaper reported Qantas domestic passengers would be charged the fee if they want to be issued with traditional paper tickets instead of the electronic tickets used by the airline.
However, Qantas today confirmed travel agents, not the passengers, would have the fee imposed. Whether or not an agent wished to pass the additional fee onto a passenger who wished to be issued with a paper ticket would be up to them.
Qantas Airlines executive general manager John Borghetti said Qantas had made e-tickets mandatory on all routes where e-ticketing was available when it introduced its simpler Australian domestic fare structure in mid last year. However, some travel agents still continue to use traditional paper ticketing which is costly for the company.
"A small number of travel agents have continued to issue paper tickets on Qantas in spite of the mandatory e-ticket policy that has been in place since last year. We have advised agents that if they continue to do this, we will be forced to recoup the costs associated with the outdated paper ticket system by invoicing them," Borghetti said.
Borghetti said paper tickets were costly, in terms of stock, systems and efficiency at the airport, and the trend in airlines around the world was to phase out the old paper system in favour of the e-ticket system.
"E-tickets have been introduced by domestic airlines all around the world, including Virgin Blue and Jetstar in Australia. This suggests that e-tickets are not an issue for customers," he said.
"The most important thing for customers to remember is that e-ticket does not require any changes to a customer's preferred booking method. Customers are provided with an itinerary or receipt, either over the counter, through the mail or via email, which suits people who feel more comfortable with documentation. And importantly, it is impossible to lose an e-ticket because the ticket is actually held in our computers," Borghetti emphasised.