Whenever I travel by aeroplane, I am issued an e-ticket, even when I book through a brick and mortar travel agent or at the counter of an airline at the airport.

Are all airline tickets e-tickets? Or is it still possible to get a "classical" paper ticket?

  • 1
    Hell, most of the time I don't even get an e-ticket. I get a confirmation number and later a boarding pass (either at the airport or from the airline's website)
    – CMaster
    Oct 27, 2015 at 11:45
  • 4
    A lot of the time I just show up at check-in at the appointed hour with a passport and the system does the rest. The 'Booking Reference' and 'Confirmation Number' are for backup. I don't miss the old thin coupons that would get ripped out for every leg. Not a bit. Oct 27, 2015 at 12:20
  • 3
    @SpehroPefhany likewise, can't think of when I've last been asked for any details except my passport at the airport. Even checking in online, it's frequently an option just to provide traveller name and departure date/location.
    – CMaster
    Oct 27, 2015 at 13:57
  • 5
    You don't "get" an e-ticket because it is an electronic entry in an airline database. Having no knowledge of it does not mean it doesn't exist. Oct 27, 2015 at 14:23
  • 1
    Why the downvote?
    – gerrit
    Oct 27, 2015 at 15:57

3 Answers 3


According to this article, approximately 30,000 paper tickets were issued in 2013 and redeemed on airlines. This represents less than 0.01% of airline tickets. 3000 were handwritten tickets. Many airlines no longer accept paper tickets for transport.

You will only get paper tickets on small regional carriers or in rare circumstances (such as a need for immediate travel but the airport ticket office has suffered a power or comms failure).

  • 2
    Are those stats for the USA or worldwide?
    – gerrit
    Oct 27, 2015 at 12:46
  • 4
    @gerrit Worldwide. I am not sure any US carrier will accept paper tickets
    – Calchas
    Oct 27, 2015 at 13:24
  • Many eletronic systems got a "manual operation mode" as a failsafe to no impair operation in the case of the system is offline for whatever reason. That implies the operation to temporary work in a "pre computer era" way. For this context you can buy a last minute ticket in the airport kiosk even if the company computers are off. The sold ticket ill be inputed when the system got back. (of course not all companies ill take the effort to implement such failsafes, train employees, etc)
    – jean
    Oct 28, 2015 at 10:27

I'm living in Indonesia and I still get paper printed tickets when flying here after booking at a brick & mortar agency, however I am sure they are also registered in their systems so it depends on what you classify as e-ticket. But I personally do not get any electronic ticket.

That is for domestic flights, I have not booked any international flights at local agencies. But 2,5 years ago I did buy a ticket out of the country (though only a short flight to Kuala Lumpur) at an official airline office and also got a printed ticket. I don't think I had to leave an e-mail address but my memory of that is a bit fuzzy and it's a long time ago anyway so it might not be relevant anymore.

  • Is that for domestic flights or also for long-distance overseas flights?
    – gerrit
    Oct 27, 2015 at 15:46
  • @gerrit See updated answer. Oct 27, 2015 at 15:52
  • 1
    Is this an eticket receipt or a paper ticket on the special four-part carbon paper? Paper tickets look like this: harshbutfair.org/linked/aff/TicketRevalidation.jpg (this one has been re-validated with a revalidation sticker). Your reservation on the flights will be logged on the computer unless the ticket is "open" (for use at any time without reservation). However the ticket is your only evidence that you actually paid for a seat.
    – Calchas
    Oct 27, 2015 at 22:36
  • A printed e-ticket is still an e-ticket, not the same as a traditional paper ticket. Oct 27, 2015 at 23:46
  • 1
    @SebastiaanvandenBroek Then I guess it is an eticket receipt.
    – Calchas
    Oct 28, 2015 at 10:30

ALL? Surely not.
But you'd probably have to go to pretty remote places to get airlines that don't have computerised systems for handling ticketing and billing at all. Think small operations in countries in the middle of Africa or parts of Asia or South America. Places where electricity is sporadic, internet even more so.
Or think of small bush operations in Canada or Alaska.
Walk up to the counter, get a hand written or typed ticket that's also your boarding pass, while your information is entered into a paper ledger.

For major carriers on international routes though? They all use electronic systems. While they may issue paper slips still in some cases, I've not seen them in years. Even flying into and in the trans-Caucasian 'Stans all the ticketing was electronic, even where boarding passes were hand written.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .