Indian airports will accept virtual tickets, according to a notification from India’s Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, though they haven’t specified exactly when. While this is a good move – convenient, and saves paper – the implementation, or lack of it, is bizarre. The Economic Times, on 31st of December reported that soft copies of tickets will allow passengers (alongwith their ID) to enter airports, though not specifying a date by which Airports should allow passengers to enter with virtual tickets. This is because the notification from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security itself is vague; we’ve pasted a copy below. It doesn’t specify by when the change will be implemented, and “now” means nothing if the notice itself isn’t dated.

At Mumbai Airport yesterday, I landed up without a printout, expecting to be let in by showing my ticket details on my phone. The security guard at the gate said that they’ve received no instructions to allow tickets on the mobile. Other passengers also faced similar issues, as a result of which, many people had to pay airlines for printouts of tickets (they charge Rs 50 per printout), apart from the inconvenience of standing in queue.

It’s the right move, but shoddy implementation from Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and/or the airports.

The Indian Railways allowed virtual tickets over a year ago.

*

Bureau of Civil Aviation Security Notice (source)

Access of passengers on the basis of soft copy of e-ticket

Now passengers are allowed on the basis of soft copy/image of etickets in smart phones, tablet PCs or laptops for gaining access into the terminal building through departure entry gates. The image of the e-ticket thus produced by the passenger on electronic device should be the same as issued by the aircraft operators. SMS or partial information pertaining to the ticket shall not entitle the pax to gain access to Terminal. Passengers with confirmed e-tickets will be allowed access into the departure terminal only after the authenticity of such e-tickets and genuineness of its holder is established. For this purpose, passengers concerned shall produce a valid photo identity document (passport in case of foreign nationals) before being allowed to enter the Terminal Building.

Passengers shall be responsible to carry reliable identity proof with them throughout the journey for checking at any point of time. The instructions to passengers shall be printed prominently on the e-tickets regarding proof of identity