Charging for an Electronic Ticket Printout?

Jet Airways recently announced that a charge of 50 Indian Rupees — or slightly less than one United States dollar — will be levied for every printout of an electronic ticket at the airport and at city ticket offices.

Spicejet Airlines and Indigo Airlines announced earlier this month that they will similarly charge passengers for the service, which was free until now.

While some FlyerTalk members may consider this charge the “height of miserliness”, it is important to note that this charge is applicable only to requests for a reprint or duplicate copy of an electronic ticket of an existing booking. Furthermore — according to FlyerTalk member oliver2002 — global distribution system company Amadeus charges travel agents 20 cents per electronic ticket passenger receipt.

With those clarifications, I say good for Jet Airways, Spicejet Airlines and Indigo Airlines.

In all of my years of travel, I cannot recall one time where I actually needed a duplicate printout of my electronic ticket. However, I have occasionally requested an extra copy only to give to a client as a receipt if that client was paying for my airfare while conducting business. That saved me the minimal extra time and money to print my own copy of the receipt, and I was able to do it while traveling as I did not have to think about it later — but with technology these days, an electronic version of the receipt suffices, as it is less expensive, more environmentally friendly, saves on paper, is easy to duplicate and can be sent immediately.

One can argue that the cost of a duplicate copy of an electronic ticket is negligible at best — and I would agree. However, I do not know how many copies are requested in any given day, month or year at Jet Airways — and that negligible expense suddenly adds up, much as the way a lime is sliced to save $500,000.00 per year or when one single olive is removed from each salad course in the premium cabin to save $40,000.00 per year.

I personally would rather an airline attempt to save on — or charge for — extraneous and supposedly unnecessary costs and instead use the capital to invest into the business, including infrastructure and manpower, rather than “nickel-and-dime” me on ridiculous ancillary fees. However, I suppose that the differentiation of what comprises ancillary fees as ridiculous is subjective and therefore not so clear amongst different people. A thinner slice of lime or one fewer olive is no tragedy to me, but does that open the door to further substantial cuts in the future which I will not like? Where should the line be drawn? How can an airline control its tight margins from its revenue and expenses without irking its customers — or, at least, invoking the ire of as few of its customers as possible?

What are your thoughts?

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