Emirates rolled out its new global electronic ticketing system last week, ushering in coupon-free travel and enabling passengers to book and fly on very short notice. The system lets customers book e-tickets from Dubai to any of Emirates’ 75 other destinations, as well as from another 26 cities in 19 countries, namely: Australia, New Zealand, USA, Turkey, UK, Cyprus, Germany (Düsseldorf and Munich), Greece, India (Mumbai), Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Kenya. The other destinations on the airline’s network will become e-ticket enabled in the next 12 months.
Emirates’ e-tickets currently can be obtained through its own centres and will be made available to the travel trade, via Galileo - the reservation system for travel agents - in Australia and New Zealand by end-May; USA and Europe by 15th June; Far East by 1st July; and the Indian subcontinent and Kenya by 15th July. In a year’s time, the airline will make e-ticketing available worldwide through most other Global Distribution Systems (GDS) as well.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates’ Chairman said: “E-ticketing is the way of the future. Emirates has always focused on value-added services. E-tickets are an affirmation of our customer-driven philosophy. They are technology-based, more reliable and highly secure.
He added: “E-tickets are accepted practice in many markets throughout South East Asia, Europe and the USA, but we wanted to ensure that the Emirates system enjoys smooth and trouble-free implementation across our network. We have invested five years to achieve this objective. Paperless tickets also support our environmentally responsible policies.”
E-tickets, virtual versions of the traditional paper air tickets, benefit air passengers in important ways. Busy executives and leisure travellers need not worry about missing a flight because of forgotten or misplaced tickets, as passenger details are safely stored in the Emirates Computer Reservation System.
E-tickets also can be ordered conveniently at all times, either online at www.emirates.com or through an Emirates Call Centre. This means passengers no longer need to visit an Emirates office to collect their tickets or wait for them to be delivered. Late bookings are easy - they are a phone call or click away and no need for scurrying to the local ticket office.
Bookings that permit reservation changes can be modified easily at any time, by phone or in person, without a paper ticket.
E-tickets provide faster and more efficient check-in and other airport processes. They also improve flexibility and convenience for self-service options, such as kiosks, where available. The service is fully secured and as e-tickets cannot go astray, unused coupons are not needed for refunds.
Passengers receive e-ticket receipts by email, detailing the individual’s name, passport number, travel itinerary and payment details. These can be printed on a standard A4 sheet of paper and presented at the check-in counter. Those who book e-tickets online can re-print the receipt if required by visiting “My Itineraries” on www.emirates.com. Regular ticket coupons can still be issued on request, to customers who book e-tickets through an Emirates office.
E-ticketing is not entirely new to Emirates. The system had been tried and tested for some time by the airline’s staff. After careful development, it was successfully implemented for commercial passengers on the Trans-Tasman route last year. Today, more than 3,500 e-tickets are issued to customers every month on this route alone.
The project was not without its challenges. Regulatory requirements had to be met across Emirates’ network, staff and third-party handlers had to be trained, computer systems had to be set up and updated, and strict compliance with policies and procedures had to be ensured.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Executive Vice President Commercial Operations Worldwide said: “For customers, e-tickets represent convenience and hassle-free travel. For Emirates, they offer cost-savings in time and resources.”
Emirates Airline carried 10.4 million passengers during the last financial year, an increase of almost two million passengers or 23 per cent more than the year before. The airline’s profit of Dhs 1.57 billion ($429 million) was 73.5 per cent better than the previous year.
Emirates plans to increase consumer awareness about the benefits of e-tickets, in a PR and advertising campaign across its network.