E-Ticket vs Itinerary vs Booking Reference – What’s The Difference?

E-Ticket vs Itinerary vs Booking Reference

If you are a routine traveler or are traveling for the first time, knowing online booking systems is very important. This article will focus on the difference between an e-ticket vs. itinerary vs. booking reference for passengers.

The information is valuable for travelers as they ought to be quite confused. Let’s delve into the article and understand each.

A Brief About e-Ticket, Itinerary, and Booking Reference

e-Ticket is a travel document equivalent to any paper ticket. An itinerary is the proposed route of a flight which also includes other relevant information. The PNR or booking reference is one of the airline’s internal identifiers for flight booking in the computer system for travelers.

The e-ticket is basically the document that will be required to show proof of reservation with a specific airline that you are flying with.

With an e-Ticket, you will also receive an e-Ticket number that is the same as any other paper ticket number. It is considered an actual travel document identifier.

e-Ticket numbers are determined only by the airlines and are widely used in conjunction with many airline agencies for keeping track of finances. For the e-ticket, the first three digits of the serial number refer to the airline issuing the ticket. But it will not always refer to the airline you are flying with.

Is An Itinerary Same As An e-Ticket?


Photo by Amir Hanna on Unsplash 

No, an itinerary is not the same as an e-Ticket. An itinerary may contain various information about your flight including the departure time, arrival time, and connecting flights. On the other hand, an e-Ticket is a document that proves you have purchased a ticket and allows you to board the flight.

An itinerary consists of detailed information about your flight and crucial information about your hotel reservation and fares. It also contains travel route confirmation of the travel plans you need for check-in at the airport for boarding the plane.

Keep a check on the details provided by your travel agency so that you know what you have However, even if you are carrying the itinerary, the e-ticket is of great importance, and you may not be allowed to enter the flight if you are not carrying the same. This can be more true for international flights.

What Is The Difference Between e-Ticket and Booking Reference?

The main difference between an e-ticket and a booking reference is that an e-ticket is a travel document equivalent to paper ticket, while a booking reference is an internal identifier used by the airline for tracking flights. An e-ticket includes information about the departing and arriving destinations, flight times, etc.

Read More: What Is The Difference Between Customs and Immigration?

Now, let us learn about each of these in detail:

What Is An E-Ticket?

The e-ticket is a paperless electronic document widely used by passengers for ticketing in the airline sector. Nowadays, most airlines are using the same method for ticketing purposes. Once a client books his flight using the airline web services or his telephone, the reservation details get stored on the computer.

Now clients can request a hardcopy confirmation sent via postal mail. But this is not required at the check-in desk.

The user is assigned a confirmation number along with the date, flight number, destination location, and departure location in the eTicket. While checking in for the flight, the user just has to present identification along with the eTicket.

Post this, the boarding passes are issued, and the users can check their luggage and then proceed via security toward the gate area. 

According to a mind-blowing survey by the International Air Transport Association, the ultimate authority on all things aviation, a whopping 92 percent of air carriers across the globe were expected to fully embrace e-ticketing by December 2007. 

And, look how far we’ve come now with eTickets in 2023!

The core advantage of e-ticketing is that it reduces booking expenditure by eliminating the requirement of mailing and printing paper documents.

Another advantage is that it also reduces the possibility of important documents being lost in the postal mail or sent to the wrong postal address.

How Can You Buy A Flight Ticket Online?

Buying out a flight ticket is relatively easy. These e-tickets can be bought from travel websites or the official websites of the respective airlines. You need to fill in the section and select the respective flight listed on the page. Next, make the payment.

According to sources, for some tickets, a merchandising revenue of up to 70 % of the total trip prize is not so far-fetched any longer.

For purchasing a flight ticket online, the details like destination, arrival point and time, and the number of people traveling are required, along with personal details.

The passengers are also expected to enter the details with accuracy. The users can have their tickets in no time, and they do not need to reach out to any agent.

Websites or mobile applications do allow flight ticket bookings online. Also, passengers can book tickets online for a specific time without any payment after entering the information in the required section.

How To Check In With An e-Ticket?

To check in with an e-ticket, access your booking on the airline’s app or website. Enter your reservation code and personal details. Follow the prompts to select seats and confirm your flight. At the airport, show your ID and receive a boarding pass at the designated counter or kiosk.

A Detailed Guide To Checking In With An e-Ticket

Now, here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on how to check in with an e-Ticket for first-time travelers:

Step 1: Carry your e-Ticket and a valid ID. If you are required to check in online, make sure to do so within the time window mentioned by the airlines.

Try printing out the validation email or e-ticket you have received before leaving the airport.

Step 2: Make sure to reach the airport on time. For a domestic flight, the time margin is about 75 to 60 minutes, and for an international flight, it ranges from 2 to 3 hours.

So, make sure that you can check within the timeline as there can be unexpected circumstances, and it never hurts anyone if they are a little early.

Step 3: Always look for the self-service check-in kiosks.

Electronic check-in is permitted for international flights if you have a passport and credit card.

Step 4: The screen has a button called “Start,” and you can press it to start the program.

The procedure requires due verification followed by the verification or reservation number entry and then selecting your name by swiping the credit card.

Step 5: If you are flying internationally, scan the passport as required.

Step 6: Now check into your flight as per the instructions.

Step 7: Now, enter your bags to check in. If your bags are heavier than the permitted baggage weight, you can pay the extra fees via your credit card at the self-service kiosk.

Step 8: Select seating arrangements if you want to make any last-minute changes. If you are looking for a seat upgrade, you can also pay an extra amount, depending on the airline.

If you are required to check in online, which most airlines require these days, you can do both step 7 and step 8 within the comfort of your home.

Step 9: Now you should submit your identification at the counter and hand over your luggage to the executive. Checking baggage at the kiosk saves time, but you still have to place baggage at the counter.

How To Read An E-ticket?

To read an E-ticket, open the email or app containing the ticket. Locate key details: event name, date, time, venue, and seat/section information. Present the digital ticket at the venue for scanning. Keep the device charged and ensure clear visibility of the QR code/barcode for easy entry.

We know that reading an e-ticket receipt is difficult, especially if you are doing it for the first time. It has many Hieroglyphics or travel-speak on them.

Many important details are mentioned on the e-ticket from the city, date and time, and most importantly, your e-ticket number.

So, if you’re still confused, we have covered the A-Z of reading an e-Ticket in detail in this article!

Is The E-ticket The Same As A Boarding Pass?

Boarding Pass

Photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash 

In simple terms, the boarding pass will be the ticket for boarding the plane. The e-Ticket, on the other hand, is generated for booking the flight. The boarding pass is always generated after check-in, either at the counter (check-in) or online.

The major difference between the boarding pass and flight ticket is how you are using them. You can use the e-ticket or flight ticket to check in at the counter and receive your boarding pass. With the help of your boarding pass, you will get access to the flight and airport.

If you do not have a boarding pass, but you do have an eTicket, you won’t be able to board the plane.

What Does ‘Ticketed’ Mean Next To an eTicket?

Ticketed means that you are allotted two important numbers, one is the confirmation number, and the other is the ticket number. As you have a single reservation, you will receive one confirmation number, and everyone requires a ticket number, which is personal.

Once a reservation is bought, the confirmed reservation is placed in the ticketing queue.

With many airlines, it can be seen that reservation gets through ticketed status within a few minutes of purchase.

What Is The Difference Between Confirmed vs. Ticketed on e-Tickets?

“Confirmed” on e-tickets indicates your seat or booking is secured, but the ticket hasn’t been issued yet. “Ticketed” means the booking is finalized, and you have a valid ticket. Until “ticketed,” changes might occur; after, your travel is confirmed.

When Should You Fill Out Your e-Ticket for Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic has implemented an online form to be completed by travelers at least 72 hours prior to their arrival in the country. The form can be filled out on the Dominican Republic’s Immigration Department website. Once the traveler has completed the form, they must present it along with their passport and other travel documents to an immigration official upon arriving in the Dominican Republic

Note📝: The traveler must show their completed form as well as their e-ticket at the immigration office. The form and e-ticket should both be printed out before the traveler arrives in the Dominican Republic.

What Is An Itinerary?

An itinerary for your flight is the proposed route for your flight. This includes the airports you will be departing from, details of connecting flights, airports you will arrive at, dates, times, and other important information related to your flight.

Are you confused about what an itinerary number is and how to find it? Read this article to know more!

Why Is An Itinerary Important?

Many embassies look for mandatory proof of reservation when any traveler applies for a visa. This is very much required to confirm the dates of traveling and the duration as claimed by you in the application form. An itinerary can help in this case.

Here you may argue that in any case, you may book your flight and then inform the embassy of the documents. You should know that this is not the right way or as simple. This is because flight tickets always come with high costs, and dates are also fixed.

Now you can also imagine the scenario for the visa approval process can take much longer than expected by you, and worse, you do not receive the due approval before your due departure date.

You can do much about the flight tickets and can end up losing your money unnecessarily.

To avoid this repercussion, it is suggested that you should opt for the reserved flight itinerary for your visa application.

Have you also confused “passport number” and “passport book number” with each other? Read this article to know the difference between the two.

What Are The Different Types of Flight Itinerary Available?

There are several types of itineraries based on the proposed route of your flight and traveler information. Some of these include one-way itineraries, multi-city itineraries, round-trip itineraries, multi-traveler itineraries, etc. The most common type of flight itinerary is the one-way itinerary.

Now, let us look at each of these in detail:

  • One-way Itinerary: Inclusive of flights between two countries or cities.
  • Round Trip Itinerary: Flight from one destination to another and then back to the original destination. For example, India to New York and back to India.
  • Multiple City Itinerary: It includes more than two flights. For example, London-Athens-Santorini-London.
  • Group Traveler Itinerary: These flight itineraries are created for more than one passenger.
  • Multiple Traveler Itinerary: Flights boarding from more than one airport while traveling on the same trip. For example, Paris to London by British Airways and then London to Paris by Air France.

What Does A Travel Itinerary Include?

A travel Itinerary includes various important information, some of which include (but are not limited to):

    • Passenger names as mentioned in their passports.
    • Route names and Bus numbers
    • Traveler program
    • Amount paid for the tickets and any confirmations or receipts you received.

What’s The Difference Between A Flight Itinerary and a Travel Itinerary?

The major difference between a travel and a flight itinerary is the information they contain. The travel itinerary not only includes your flight details but also other details such as routes, passenger names, bus numbers, etc, while a flight itinerary covers all the important details about the flight.

Are An Itinerary and Boarding Pass The Same?

No, an itinerary and a boarding pass are not the same. An itinerary is a detailed plan of your travel schedule, including flights, accommodations, and activities. A boarding pass is a document issued by the airline that allows you to board a specific flight on a specific date and time.

The travel itinerary never serves as the boarding pass. The travel itinerary is a confirmation of the booking with the flight details. Here, you must perform the check-in to obtain the boarding pass to board the flight. Checking it online allows you to print the boarding pass.

What is a Booking Reference?

Booking Reference or Record Locator, commonly called PNR, is one of the airline’s internal identifiers for flight booking in the computer system for travelers. The Booking Number is created automatically by the computer system of the airline. PNR number is never generated by the GDS or travel agent.

If your flight has a layover in between or involves different airlines, you can be allotted different PNRs because of different carriers for usage within your system.

Instead of the term booking reference mostly in the travel industry, you can hear PNR, i.e., Passenger Name Record.

What is a PNR number?

PNR Number

Photo by Amir Hanna on Unsplash 

A PNR number refers to the record in the CRS or Computer Reservation System database that comprises the traveler’s itinerary. It is the six-digit alpha-numeric or seven-digit numeric code that helps the airline staff to access all the passenger and booking information in one place.

Is The Booking Reference The Same As The Confirmation Number?

The Booking reference or PNR number or Record locator is the reservation number for the trip being booked via any travel agency and is different from the confirmation code. The confirmation code is required for the passenger to check in on their respective flights. These are two different things.

What Is The Confirmation Number?

A confirmation number refers to the alphanumeric code to document and identify the booking. The confirmation number is assigned to any specific airline ticket when the traveler makes his reservation. For booking a flight, the passenger always receives a flight confirmation number; it appears on the boarding pass.

It may also appear on ticket receipts or extras like baggage fees. It also serves as the reference number while contacting the airline or even checking in the flight.

Note📝: Travelers flying with different airlines will receive different confirmation numbers for their flights unless all of them are using the same reservation system.

What Does A Booking Reference Look Like? Where Is It?

On an e-Ticket, you can check your Booking reference number in front of the “Booking Reference” Field. On your ticket or coupon, the PNR number or booking reference is stated as six alphanumeric characters printed on the right side of your e-ticket.

Here’s a video to help you retrieve your booking reference:


We hope that now you are aware of the difference between e-Ticket vs. Itinerary vs. Booking Reference. Reading through airline terminology can be difficult but it is never an impossible task.

Now that you are at the end of it, we hope you have gained the clarity you were looking for.

If you have any unresolved questions, do let us know in the comments and we will get right back to you!

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

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