It’s easy to assume that smartphones and trip management apps have rendered the need to print airline tickets and itineraries obsolete. However, specific situations demand hard copies of travel itinerary and bookings. Below are the top 3 reasons to still print your tickets and travel itineraries.
To enter airports – Security checks
Indian airports (and several other countries), for example, have military guards at entrance that check passenger reservations against airline manifest before allowing access to the airport. As I learnt the hard way, they do not accept offline versions of trip management apps and need to see a copy of the e-tkt. The rule is strict and several passengers are caught off guard each day. So much so that airlines now charge a fee to print a copy of existing reservations.
I am a ‘Tripit‘ kind of person and enjoy being tech savvy in general. However, depending on the country I am traveling in, a hard copy of my travel plans is the only way around.
Reliability of Electronics (or lack thereof)
There is nothing worse than getting to the airport to find out that your phone is out of battery or has shut down on you. Reliability of electronic devices, data roaming, and patchy wifi are the most understated travel nuisance. Especially on hectic trips where its easy to forget “the basics”, or you are having a bad day, electronics have a way of catching you off guard.
In the most unfortunate circumstances of stolen devices/belongings, there is little downside to carrying a paper copy, its the best backup plan.
Immigration – Proof of travel and Visa on Arrival
Several countries require a hard copy of travel plans as part of visa-on-arrival process. Many would simply not accept an electronic version. My first time in Rwanda, I ended up pulling out my phone to present my travel plans. The immigration officer reluctantly took my phone and then walked into the office to “verify details”. I spent the longest 15 minutes evaluating things that could go wrong. They didn’t, but a hard copy of my travel plans would have saved me a lot of angst.
Or the time when Accra airport suffered a blackout and passengers with print-outs of their tickets were processed and given manual boarding passes first. Those with bookings saved on their phones faced a longer wait.
No matter how tech savvy we get, there is always place for printing out travel plans and keeping a copy as backup. Airlines may not print carbon copy tickets anymore but depending on the country of your travel, a paper copy can save you time, money and a lot of angst.
Who remembers the days of carbon copy tickets?! Drop a line below 🙂
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