More and more people are travelling with devices that are WiFi enabled, just as I am. This means we only need a WiFi connection or some sort of data package to gain internet access. This is great because it means we literally have everything at our fingertips. Well, almost everything.
It has made independent travel much easier but it could be even better if we had the option of an m-ticket as well as an e-ticket. Some companies already offer both options but I believe we need more companies offering mobile as well as electronic tickets to accommodate everyone who travels. This became really apparent on a recent trip to France when I was staying with a friend in a town called Brive La Gaillarde. I needed to return to London by a certain date so I started looking at my transport options. The flights from the local international airport weren’t suitable so I checked the next nearest airport for the best deal on flights. I found out that Ryanair fly to London from Limoges. The price was good so I had decided to use that airline until I realised that I didn’t have access to a printer. I knew there was an airport boarding card re-issue fee of €70/£70 if I didn’t have my boarding pass printed off because my parents got stung with that one before when they were in a similar situation. I, obviously, didn’t want to pay that fee because it wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t print off the boarding pass and it would no longer be a ‘cheap’ flight so a ‘no frills’ flight that was no longer cheap didn’t appeal. In the end, I decided to wait until I was certain that I could print out my ticket.
It’s just as well I didn’t buy the ticket because, to my amazement, I couldn’t find anywhere to print it. The only internet cafe in town had closed down and the library was closed for the whole week I was there. I really wasn’t having any luck. I thought about buying a drink at a hotel or just offering to pay if they would print off the boarding pass for me but I decided to wait and see if there was any way Ryanair could do it without printing off a paper boarding pass in advance. I tried to get an answer from Ryanair without success so I decided to ditch the idea of flying with them completely. I resumed my search and I ended up booking a seat on Eurostar because it seemed like the least hassle and I was able to print my ticket out at the station.
Having an m-ticket would have been even easier and saved paper, which would be much better for me and the environment. There were two companies in the next week which accommodated that. I made a return journey from London to Bournemouth with National Express. I used my mobile phone as an m-ticket so I didn’t have to worry about finding a printer. Then, a couple of days later, I flew from London to Belfast with Easyjet. They are currently trialing the use of mobile boarding passes in certain airports because of passenger feedback. Thankfully, Luton is one of the airports where m-tickets can be used so, again, I didn’t have to worry about printing my boarding pass. They don’t yet have that system for the Easybuses but I’m sure that will change in time.
Most people don’t travel around with printers and with so many alternative accommodation options such as Couchsurfing, Staydu, Wimdu, AirBnB to name just a few, we don’t always have the same sort of access to printers that we would have if we were staying in traditional accommodation such as a hotel or hostel. We are supposed to be moving towards a paperless society. We are getting there but I believe mobile ticketing should be a priority because so many people have access to the internet with mobile devices which they take everywhere. So, come on, make our lives easier and give us access to more mobile ticketing, please!
Have your say
What is your experience of mobile tickets or boarding passes? Have you had problems printing off tickets and boarding passes?