">'); win.document.writeln(''); win.document.writeln(''); }

The Indefinite Article.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

HoustonChronicle.com - Continental to charge $50 for paper tickets

HoustonChronicle.com - Continental to charge $50 for paper tickets

My boss passed the dead tree version of this article to me and these are some of my thoughts:

Summary of Continental Article:

Continental increasing fee on traditional ticketing.

Increased fees reflect higher cost of traditional ticketing.

97% of passengers use electronic ticketing now over 82% last year.

Next year Contintental will discontinue traditional ticketing.

Electronic ticketing costs far less experts say.

Managing director for electronic marketing says 1/3 less.

Continental has cut distribution costs by 20%.

2003 website sales 70% higher than 2002, expected to pass $1 billion.

Continental incentivizes online ticket sales with more frequent flier miles and special one-day sales.

Internet sales, electronic ticketing and self-serve kiosks offer speed and efficiency benefits.

Move away from paper tickets will decrease labor, material and storage costs associated with printing.

My Narrative:

This article gives a broad overview of Continental's electronic ticketing and internet marketing strategy. It does not describe how electronic ticketing is significantly different from traditional ticketing. Internet promotions and electronic ticketing may seem in general to be related, but are in fact two highly different efforts.

Is the move toward electronic ticketing and the changes in customer service worth the investment in kiosks and infrastructure? The article doesn't say how quickly the costs are being recouped. Is the move toward direct marketing from the airline to the consumer via the Internet good business? The article doesn't say; it doesn't look at how much new business is being generated by the website over canibalization of traditional formats of sale.

The ticket concept was developed as a distributed knowledge system where the ticket, token or chit represented a reserved space on a particular flight. Back when airports were not linked to "enterprise databases" this was necessary, since the gate keepers couldn't just "look you up." The current paradigm is a networked knowledge system where your identiity has a (potentially) reserved space on a particular flight. Instead of producing a ticket, you verify your identity. Thus tickets have been going the way of the dodo for a while now.

The interesting part is that it has taken so long for the ticket to go away. The reason for this probably has more to do with human factors than technical factors. People are used to having some sort of ticket to board the airplane. An airline that doesn't fit within that norm is somehow "wierd," like Southwest.


Post a Comment

<< Home