Monday, April 09, 2012

Boarding pass outside the airport. Ticket-less on Indian Railways

Sometimes when I travel on domestic flights, I do not take the airline ticket printout with me. The CISF security staff wont let me in without one. So, like most others in my situation, I'd walk to the airline counter outside the airport (these are primarily ticket booking counters), show them an SMS on my phone that contains the PNR number. The folks at the counter then take a ticket printout off their desktops. Now, the ticket printout is only good to get past the CISF guards and into the airport, till the check-in counters. I am supposed to show the ticket and my identity proof to the folks at this counter where they print the boarding pass. The boarding pass then gets me across the security check counter, past the gate and into the airplane.

A few days ago I reached the Bengaluru airport with just my PNR SMS. I walked to the Go-Air ticketing counter outside; seeing that I just had a single hand bag; the lady at the counter checked me in and issued a boarding pass directly! That was a simple step that saved paper and saved me time standing in a longer queue at the check-in counter inside. Great UX improvement by Go-Air/ Bengaluru airport (BLR)/ whoever was responsible for this.

Now, I also had the chance to travel on Indian railways recently. Indian railways is in shambles, the infrastructure simply is decades behind the rest of the world and the massive demands on it. However, ticketing has moved to the next generation :). This time I traveled with just the SMS sent to me by the railways containing my name and my PNR number! The ticket checker, verified this against his roster and checked my identity proof. Thats it! So it was a paper-ticket-less travel. A really great step by the Indian Railways/ IRCTC.

A lot of room left for innovation and improvements in both these sectors.

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