An airline ticket or flight ticket is a document or electronic record, issued by an airline or a travel agency, that confirms that an individual is entitled to a seat on a flight on an aircraft. The airline ticket may be one of two types: a paper ticket, which comprises coupons or vouchers; and an electronic ticket (commonly referred to as an e-ticket).
The ticket, in either form, is required to obtain a boarding pass during check-in at the airport. Then with the boarding pass and the attached ticket, the passenger is allowed to board the aircraft.
A revenue passenger on an airline must hold a valid issued ticket. In order for a ticket to be issued, there are two distinct process:
A reservation for an itinerary is made in the airline system, either directly with the airline of by an agent. The itinerary includes all the above details needed for the issuance of an air ticket, except the ticket number.
When the reservation the made, a passenger name record (PNR) will be created which is used to manage the reservation and check in. It is possible to have multiple passengers in a single passenger name record.
Having a reservation does not entitle the passenger to travel. Only when the airline receives the payment, a ticket is issued which is linked to the reservation which allows the passenger to travel.
Traditionally, reservation and payment are separate steps, which the time between them are defined in the fare rules when the reservation is made. However, it is more common to require immediate payment on online booking systems.
Each passenger must hold his/her own air ticket, as shown by an individual ticket number, even when the reservations are linked by a single PNR.