An e-ticket (electronic ticket) is a paperless electronic document used for ticketing passengers, particularly in the commercial airline industry. Virtually all major airlines now use this method of ticketing.
When a customer books a flight by telephone or using the Web, the details of the reservation are stored in a computer. The customer can request that a hardcopy confirmation be sent by postal mail, but it is not needed at the check-in desk. A confirmation number is assigned to the passenger, along with the flight number(s), date(s), departure location(s), and destination location(s). When checking in at the airport, the passenger simply presents positive identification. Then necessary boarding passes are issued, and the passenger can check luggage and proceed through security to the gate area.
The principal advantage of e-ticketing is the fact that it reduces booking expense by eliminating the need for printing and mailing paper documents. Another advantage is that it eliminates the possibility of critical documents getting lost in the mail or being sent to the wrong address.