2,500 pound British Airways e-Ticket absolutely worthless in Mumbai

If you thought the global economy was live and operational, think again. SMS Text News fan, Dom Pannell, was trying to board a British Airways plane back to London from India a little while ago.

At least, he was trying to do so.

Dom, like any straight-thinking globetrotter, thought that he was all good to go, with the e-ticket details stored on his Blackberry. You know how this works, right? British Airways already have your booking on their system. You just need to get to the check-in and show them your passport. They confirm that the details marry up and print out your boarding pass. You don’t need a paper version. Not really. You’ve paid the cash, you’ve got the confirmation numbers right there in your email, you’re good to go — at least, you can get to the check-in desk and sort it out, right?

Wrong. PAPER. You need PAPER.

Dom explains:

The nice soldier with the dark pink rinse (seriously) at the entrance to Terminal 1, Gate 1, Mumbai International Airport was having none of that fancy electronic-ticket-on-my-BlackBerry shite. “Ring British Airways” he said, pointing at a telephone attached to the wall beside a big sign with a list of airlines and phone numbers.

What a total arse. Dom dutifully walked over to the phone and placed a call.

“There’s nobody there,” I replied after a few minutes of trying “all I get is a recorded voice saying they can’t take my call.” “No ticket, no entry” mumbled my moustachioed friend firmly – I noticed that even his tache had been dyed.

Now let’s be clear: Dom HAD a ticket. An electronic version. And this chappy denied him entry.

I’d be going ballistic at this point, especially given the business class fare.

The net result? Dom missed his flight. He’s now booked on a 2am premium economy seat at an additional cost of 400 pounds. In order to sort that out, he had to arse about checking into a nearby hotel to make sure he P R I N T E D his sodding electronic sodding ticket. Let’s call it another 600 quid wasted.

So, let this be a warning to you.

Electronic tickets are NOT electronic, particularly when you’re trying to board a BA flight in Mumbai.

Make sure you PRINT out the ticket, lest the pink soldier stop you from boarding.

Right. I’m off to try and have the hotel staff print off a copy of my new e-ticket (shouldn’t BA warn travellers that the e-tickets they send out are useless unless printed?).

My first thought? Where the hell were British Airways when Dom was trying to speak to them? Ridiculous. If I was Dom, I’d be going abbb-sollluuuuuttt-lehhhhhhhh NUTS. That needs fixed right away.

My second thought? Goodness me how is Mumbai Airport going to deal with SMS bookings?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

12 replies on “2,500 pound British Airways e-Ticket absolutely worthless in Mumbai”

I have also discovered recently that electronic ticket means paper in both cairo and gatwick, and showing them the booking ref on the screen of your mobile does not wash. Yes, even in the UK some airlines are now requesting that you use an entire sheet of tree to display 8 tiny black ink characters. what a bunch of di&^(*&ds. The world is now officially going backwards.

Hey Dom, since u were traveling business class, didn’t BA send someone to assist you once you got out of your car? Coz they’re supposed to do that.

This totally drives me up the wall. I have not printed a ticket in 2 years and have always had my reference number on my phone with no problems at all. I’ve travelled with BA, Ryanair, Easyjet, United Airlines and Mexicana using this method and never had a problem.

At the start of this year airline paper tickets stopped completely and E-Tickets became the main way to book travel. The only thing that is important on the E-Ticket email is the reference number. A few weeks ago I took a flight from Heathrow to Dublin with carry on bags, I had my reference number on my phone and went straight to the boarding pass machine, funnily enough it didn’t seem to care if I had a printed email or not, I just typed in my ref and got my pass and went straight to security.

If you don’t need a piece of paper for one way of boarding why would you need one for another?
It doesn’t say anywhere that you need to print your email to board (well not on any flight I’ve ever taken) and what happens if you don’t own a printer?

Whether the reference number is on a piece of paper, a mobile phone or written on the back of your hand it is completely irrelevant to what the number is there to do, which is to give you a unique identifier for that flight and help confirm that you have arrived at check in.

I don’t blame the airline staff for this issue though as it may be down to a lack of up to date training on what is acceptable and what is not.


An upgrade to Club?
Christ, I’d expect to be treated like royalty (or the prime minister, whichever gets the best) AND get a substantial refund for the hassle and extra expense.

Imagine if he’d had an important business meeting to attend in London and missed it.

HeavyLight’s last blog post..S60 not a Touch on the iPhone

The same thing happened to me with Lufthansa. I just accosted a passenger going in and asked him to alert the Lufthansa station manager to come to my rescue. The Lufthansa agent came, asked me for my name, 5 minutes later, he had a printout which got me into the gate. Simple watson….

The same thing happened to me with Lufthansa. I just accosted a passenger going in and asked him to alert the Lufthansa station manager to come to my rescue. The Lufthansa agent came, asked me for my name, 5 minutes later, he had a printout which got me into the gate. Simple watson….

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