Czech Airlines’ clients use electronic tickets in more than 84 percent of cases, replacing traditional paper tickets. The share of electronic tickets continues to grow, and the share of tickets sold over the Internet, i.e., the method most convenient for clients, is increasing as well. Presently, Czech Airlines sells nearly ninety percent of its tickets through the Internet. Another electronic service offered by Czech Airlines is Internet Check-in. At present, this option is available to passengers in 27 destinations in the Czech Airlines network, including Prague.
The tendency to use electronic services is driven primarily by passenger demand, for whom using electronic services is more convenient. Also, carriers themselves have an interest in switching to electronic service, as they entail significantly lower costs. According to an annual IATA survey, more than one-half of passengers demand that airlines would provide more extensive electronic services. Specifically, 54 percent of passengers want to have the option to book a ticket, pay for it, and check in through a computer, from the comfort of their home or office.
Airlines associated in the international airline organisation IATA have therefore agreed to accelerate the transition to electronic tickets. Accordingly, sales agencies will stop issuing paper tickets in June 2008 and will transfer exclusively to electronic ones. Paper tickets will continue to be issued, in certain cases, by airline sales offices.
Electronic Tickets at Czech Airlines
The transition to electronic tickets is one of Czech Airlines’ priorities. The Airline currently sells 84 percent of its tickets in electronic form. The share of electronic tickets in sales differs according to the sales channel. It is highest in Czech Airlines’ own Internet booking and sales system, on the Airline’s website, where it presently accounts for 92 percent of sales. In the sales agency network, roughly 86 percent of tickets are sold in electronic form, and in Czech Airlines’ own sales network it stands at about 69 percent.
A fundamental condition for the transition to electronic tickets is the completion of interlining, i.e., the mutual recognition of electronic carriage documents between partner airlines. Presently, Czech Airlines has realised 34 interconnections of this type, of the 50 which the Airline plans to implement by June 2008. Interlining with the remaining partners will continue in the subsequent periods, as well. The interline connections that are already operational account for 85.2% of the revenue from ticket sales executed by other carriers for Czech Airlines.
Presently, there are several destinations in the Czech Airlines network, primarily in former Soviet Union countries, where the local check-in system does not support the handling of Czech Airlines’ electronic tickets. By June 2008, the Airline will ensure that electronic tickets can be issued even for these destinations.
Selling tickets over the Internet
You can buy an electronic ticket not only over the Internet, but also at a retail outlet. The share of electronic tickets is therefore far higher than the share of tickets sold over the Internet. Internet sales account for nearly ten percent of all of Czech Airlines’ ticket sales. This method of purchasing tickets is very convenient for passengers, which is why Czech Airlines plans a major boost of ticket sales via its website www.czechairlines.com in 2008 and 2009. By mid-2009, the share of tickets sold over the Internet could increase to up to 25 percent.
Internet Check-in, which Czech Airlines has offered since last June, offers a significant simplification of the check-in process. This service gives passengers an option to select a specific seat on the plane. The passenger prints up his boarding pass himself, and can therefore go right to the passport check upon arriving at the airport, without having to queue up for check-in. Self-service electronic check-in is possible no earlier than 24 hours, and no later than 35 minutes, before the scheduled departure of a flight. Check-in over the Internet is available for flights departing from Prague and another 26 European airports, to all destinations operated by Czech Airlines or its code-share partners. Internet check-in cannot, however, be used for destinations with a tighter security regime, i.e., Tel Aviv in Israel, the United States, and Canada.
The popularity of Internet Check-in with passengers continues to increase, as documented by the increasing number of people who check in electronically for each flight. Some 30,000 passengers have used this service since its introduction, which corresponds to the Airline’s expectations. For destinations such as Hamburg and Düsseldorf, with a high proportion of business passengers, as many as 40% of passengers use the Internet Check-in service on the morning flights.