United Airlines prepares for e-ticket switch

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United Airlines prepares for e-ticket switch

United Airlines is to move to fully electronic ticketing by the end of next year in a bid to get travellers through the check-in desk quicker and reduce operational costs.

The carrier said that from tomorrow it would begin charging customers in the US, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico a $20 (£12.70) fee per paper ticket for all e-ticket eligible itineraries.

United added that it would stop issuing paper tickets in the US entirely by July 2003, with plans to switch to e-tickets for all eligible itineraries in the US and internationally by January 2004.

The carrier wants to encourage passengers to use self-service check-in kiosks, which are now appearing in major airports throughout the US. There are plans to add more self-service units in international locations soon.

Staff costs for all airlines have grown substantially in the past year since the 11 September terrorist attacks.

United will work with other carriers participating in the Star Alliance code-sharing initiative to implement e-ticket policies. These are: Air Canada; Air New Zealand; ANA; Austrian Airlines; BMI; Lauda; Lufthansa; Mexicana; Scandinavian Airlines; Singapore Airlines; Thai; Tyrolean, United and Varig.

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