IATA Invokes [Almost] Paper-free Travel

Back in August 2007, the IATA called to put an end to paper airline tickets and moved for a 100% e-ticket policy. From June 1st 2008, the policy will finally be put into action as all tickets issued via the IATA’s Billing and Settlement Plan will be electronic.

Empty ticket desk at the airport

It is estimated that the IATA issues over 400 million tickets annually, with around 16% of those currently being in paper format. Specialist printers were ordered last August to print the final batch of some 16.5 million paper tickets to last 60,000 accredited travel agents around the world. From Sunday, all use of those tickets will be stopped.

The move will not only have obvious environmental benefits, but will also save $9 (USD) per ticket, which would total up to saving an incredible $3 billion (USD) every year. Perhaps that can go towards those fuel price hikes, eh?

For years now, I’ve booked flights and checked-in online, but it always seems to be the case that you get to the airport and still end up with bits of paper to actually get on the flight. I think it wouldn’t be too much of a step further to go digital for boarding passes, too. There have been talks of allowing some sort of connection to mobile phones to receive data that acts as your boarding pass, but I’ve yet to see it successfully implemented. Let’s hope it’s not far off.

Boarding Pass and a Watch… in One!

So this one’s a travel gadget with a difference. A boarding pass that doubles up as a watch, which uses electronic paper to display the time of the zone you’re in and your destination.

Boarding Pass Watch

The boarding pass looks like any regular pass, except for the watch strip on the right which can be torn off and worn whilst you travel to act as both a watch and a flight ticket. There are two magnetic buttons at the each end of the watch to fasten it. After you arrive at your destination, the strip is handed back in so that they can be used again.

Designed by Jacky Wu, Neo Chen & Eric Liu, it’s a bit of a gimmick and almost completely useless if you wear a watch already, but it’s definitely cool. The chances of it every seeing the light of day? Probably slim, anyone know?