SouthWest Airlines plans to expand its ticketless travel service by selling seats over the Internet. It is working on a security system to enable Internet users to make reservations with credit cards. In the meantime, British Airways Plc is still seeking legal advice on whether the Warsaw Convention will enable it to offer ticket-free travel. […]
SouthWest Airlines plans to expand its ticketless travel service by selling seats over the Internet. It is working on a security system to enable Internet users to make reservations with credit cards. In the meantime, British Airways Plc is still seeking legal advice on whether the Warsaw Convention will enable it to offer ticket-free travel. It has registered a Web site which is not active yet, and although the UK airline is interested in using the Internet for ticket sales, it said it has no idea at this stage how it would get involved in the service. SouthWest’s Internet sales system will enable the user to pay by credit card over the Internet and receive a confirmation number that can be presented at the airport before boarding the plane. The ticketless travel system is already in use for telephone reservations. At the moment the US airline’s Home Gate page on the Web displays only general information such as flight schedules and details on the types of aircraft in service. The US is not covered by the Warsaw Convention so internal US flights, like those offered by SouthWest, are not obliged to display airline liability information – the blurb that is printed at the beginning of every UK and Continental airline ticket.
Boards the plane
British Airways is currently stalled on ticketless travel because it is obliged to inform the customer of those rights under the Convention before he boards the plane. Options to get around this include the automatic postage of a standard letter to your address upon booking a ticket, or a notice to be displayed at the airport check in. SouthWest said the company had no idea what type of security system it would be using to protect credit card holders because it is very much in the development stage at the moment. It hopes to offer the service during the first quarter of next year. The basic ideas is to reduce ticketing costs while improving customer service. The airline said it has already saved some $25m by reducing the amount of paper handling involved in issuing tickets. Travellers don’t have to worry about losing or forgetting their plane ticket. If they lose their confirmation number, they can provide other data, such as postal address and some proof of identity.