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How to Get and Use Etickets

Print Etickets Anywhere

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Eticket Sample

Eticket Sample

Once upon a time, travelers bought airline tickets, often from a local travel agency, and the tickets were mailed to the traveler's snail mail address. These days, you almost have to use an eticket; it can cost up to $20 for the privilege of getting an airline ticket in the mail, though travel agencies will still mail you tickets. Many travelers still print the eticket and an air itinerary, meaning you're basically paying for a "real" ticket yourself. Attach your eticket to the rest of your itinerary, like lodging, and make copies. Keep it with your travel documents. Let's figure it out.

How ETickets Work

When you buy a ticket online, you're usually buying an eticket. Airline and travel agency sites will walk you through the purchase process -- after you've selected your flight online, you'll be prompted to pay with a credit or debit card. The screen will then present you with your payment confirmation receipt, your ticket number and your itinerary. Print these out and you have your eticket, which is also stored in the airline's database.

The eticket may also be emailed to you with an itinerary confirmation which you can print out, especially if you've gone through a travel agency, or you may be mailed an eticket confirmation and a link to the airline's website, where you can view and print the eticket itself and itinerary.

Print these out and keep them with your travel documents. If you lose the eticket print-out, head for the nearest internet cafe and find the email confirmation to go through the steps and print the eticket again. (Learn why you should email yourself travel documents now, too.)

How Etickets Work At the Airport

What to Bring to the Airport

Bring the printed copies of your payment receipt and itinerary and, as always, your legitimate photo identification and passport and/or visa to the airport. I've been asked for the debit card or credit card with which I made the e-ticket purchase; make sure you have it at check-in, just in case. You may not need to show these to anyone if you check in with a self service check in kiosk -- many airlines have these at airports. And you may be able to check in online -- your eticket confirmation will alert you if that's the case and walk you through the online check in process.

What Happens at Check-In

With most airlines, you still need a boarding pass. At check-in, the airline's agent will compare your e-ticket against the airline database and issue you a boarding pass when everything checks out. You may also be able to plug your data into a self service check-in computer or kiosk and print your own boarding pass; look around after you've secured a place in line at your airline's check-in counter.

Well prepared travelers should, of course, be prepared for everything not to check out, so be sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare in case of problems like computer glitches.

Those kinds of hassles are increasingly rare with e-tickets, though. It can be a little nerve wracking to use an e-ticket for the first time, but take the leap and you'll see how easy, convenient and simple it is. And above all, you'll learn how practical e-tickets are for students traveling internationally.

What to Keep With Your Eticket

Keep a copy of your air itinerary and your lodging itinerary with your eticket. Your lodging may take you through the same online process and allow you to print lodging confirmation. Keep copies of lodging and air itineraries in your checked baggage in case of lost luggage, and keep a copy in your carry on with all your travel documents.

E-Ticket Resources

Understanding and Finding Internet Cafes

Use an internet cafe to get online, find the best air ticket price and print out yout eticket.

Using Your Own Laptop -- Finding WiFi Hotspots

If you want to get online while traveling with your own laptop, you'll need a wifi hotspot.

Finding Student Airfares

Check these cheap student airfare finders and try aggregators, too -- and you may also want to look at individual airlines web-only airfare deal pages.

An Eticket Plus - SeatGuru.com

Use your eticket to find the airplane seat that you want, using Seatguru.com. All airplane seats are not created equal.

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