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Newbie Traveler question re Air Travel

I have not flown for years and we made reservations for a Delta flight to London this October. Have email verification.

Is this all we will get? Do we get regular paper tickets mailed to us closer to the departure?

Posted by
27 posts

I have never flown Delta but I haven't had a paper ticket since the 90s. When we check in we just hand over our passports and it's all in the system. We do print out our boarding passes the day before and present them at check-in; saves times but isn't mandatory.

Posted by
93 posts

I haven't seen paper tickets in years. If you're checking in at the airport at a kiosk it will scan your passport. If you're checking in with a person they will scan your passport. If you're checking in online you just input your confirmation number and name and print out your boarding passes or save them on your phone.

Posted by
13253 posts

No, there are not any paper tickets any more. Keep your email in a separate folder in your email program (maybe October vacation, or something like that) so you can access it when needed. I always print out a copy as well so I have the itinerary and flight numbers.

You can also download the Delta App on your smartphone if you have one. You can check in online 24 hours in advance of your flight and you may or may not be able to print boarding passes. I can never print them when I leave out of my local airport but was able to get them on my phone when I recently flew out of Edinburgh. Still do the check in and they will print your passes at the airport.

Will you be checking luggage? When you drop off your bags they can print the boarding passes.

If you are traveling with carry on you may be able to print them at a kiosk at your airport OR if like my small airport, I need to show the gate agent my passport (even though I fly frequently with Delta and have that info in my Frequent Flyer file on their website).

Since you are flying in October, I'd recommend you check your Delta account once a month to make sure flights haven't changed. In September, I'd check once a week to verify flight times and seat assignments. This is not just Delta, but any airline. Things can change and you may or may not get notified.

**I will just ask if when you made your reservations you added your passport numbers to the Personal Information they ask for? If not, you will want to go back in to your Delta account and update that for each person that is flying.

Posted by
6411 posts

There really aren't any more "tickets" as you might remember them (multi-page, carbonless forms with that weird reddish stuff).

You should get "confirmation" from Delta. Note your "confirmation code". That's the key to everything. Don't lose that. You should be able to get access to this and anything else you need by logging in to Make sure you can do that and can access your booking. You can "check in" online a day or two before your flight.

Note: flight schedules do change. Between now and October, expect at least one, maybe two (probably minor) schedule changes. You will want to monitor your email for any notices from Delta, and it's a good idea to pro-actively keep an eye on your booking every once in a while (maybe once a month). Check again as your travel date approaches.

If it's been a long time since you last flew, adjust your expectations for comfort, service, etc. downward.

Good luck.

Posted by
54 posts

I don't recall ever having paper tickets mailed to us -- you used to get your tickets at the check-in counter at the airport or even at a city office nearby. Those were the days. Now you can still have an agent print you a ticket but good luck finding an agent. There are numerous self-serve kiosks at the airport to print out your own tickets anytime, or you can use an e-ticket you keep in a wallet app on your phone. You can check in online as early as 24 hours before your flight. The email verification may have specific instructions on your ticket and check-in options.

Have fun!

Posted by
2766 posts

No paper tickets.

Starting 24 hours before your flight you can check in online. Use the code in the email delta sent. You can often (but not always) print your boarding pass from home when doing this. The boarding pass is the paper or electronic document that you physically show to the agent to get on the plane.

If you can print it and are not checking luggage then you can go right to the security line at the airport when you get there. The security officer will need to see your ID and the boarding pass. If you can’t print it at home, then you just have to go to a delta desk or kiosk at the airport to get it. If you are checking luggage you need to do this anyway.

If you bought your tickets from delta (not a third party website but delta itself) then you can log on now using the code they sent. You can change your seats, request a special meal if you have dietary issues, or just make sure there are no changes. It’s useful to look periodically in case the flight times or seats change

Posted by
70 posts

A Delta security person at the gate mentioned to me that she prefers getting the ticket at the kiosk rather than the app for her personal use. I tested both the app and paper, both with success.

A warning with printed tickets (e.g. home computer). I once witnessed a fellow moved back to the beginning of the queue line (at least an hour long) because it ticket couldnt be read by the ticket scanners (he printed from his hostel that morning). Either print at home with the highest resolution you can and keep the copy clean and free from folding as best as you can, or print at the kiosk. For Delta, (and others I'm sure) you scan your passport, enter your confirmation code, and you get a paper ticket and boarding pass.

Posted by
1316 posts

The boarding pass may well be paper, but you'll never see an actual paper ticket. I try to use electronic boarding passes whenever possible, but I've had times when the kiosk or baggage drop person has just printed me a paper boarding pass even though I had an electronic one. I always assume that's because that it is probably easier for many airlines to just use the paper boarding passes rather than have someone fumbling with their phone when they're trying to board a huge transatlantic flight.

Posted by
11294 posts

Do download the Delta app. It will remind you when to check in, which is handy when you're in Europe and may not be monitoring your e-mail so closely.

As everyone says, no more paper tickets. David is correct that the confirmation code is key to have, so you can find your reservation quickly on Delta's website or the app. You will also need it if you have to call Delta about your flight.

You will be notified by e-mail and the app about when it's time to check in. If you are near a printer, you can print your boarding passes; if not, you can get them on the app. Usually, that is. Sometimes you can't check in online, or you can check in but can't get boarding passes until you get to the airport.

If you did not get your boarding pass at the airport, at some point you will need to show your passport before boarding the plane. If you get to the airport early, it's easiest to do this at the check in area; you will get a new boarding pass which shows that your documents have been OK'd. If you use your home printed pass or the pass on the phone to get through security, you'll probably be called to the desk at your gate before the flight, so they can verify your documents.

If you are using a boarding pass on your phone, turn up your phone to brightest setting; it makes it easier for the scanner to read it.

Posted by
13253 posts

"If you are using a boarding pass on your phone, turn up your phone to brightest setting; it makes it easier for the scanner to read it."

I did not know that. Thanks Harold!

Posted by
713 posts

I'm a happy tech user, smartphone and all, including e-ticketing for lots of things including flights.

But, I have an old school habit. Usually when flying domestically, and always when flying internationally, I print out the email from my airline with my booking confirmation number (yes, that's the key thing to have), and flight details, and tuck it into my carry-on. No, it's not a ticket or a boarding pass, but it's handy. Smartphones aren't infallible, especially when far from home. With the info on that document I can be sure to access my reservation for my flights home, regardless of whether my gadgets are playing nice.

Posted by
110 posts

"If you are using a boarding pass on your phone, turn up your phone to brightest setting; it makes it easier for the scanner to read it."

Alternatively I screenshot the boarding pass before leaving home and then you’re not at the mercy of any dodgy internet connections.

Posted by
1285 posts

dodgy internet connections.

iPhone has a "Wallet" where you can keep your boarding pass in the phone. It has worked fine for me for a couple of years now.

Posted by
713 posts

Yep, I usually screenshot or pdf the boarding pass so it's accessible on my phone if there's a connectivity problem at the gate.

And, I have that piece of paper in my carryon. I've dropped and broken a smartphone - fortunately not while in a foreign country. I've lost track of my smartphone, once for nearly a day - and though I have a wonderful app/service called Lookout to help find it, you have to go online to use that. And the phone has to be turned on and connected to service.

Of course I could always lose a piece of paper, but I doubt I'd lose it at the same time I broke/lost my phone. (If I did? I'd probably have bigger problems than keeping track of my flights.) But, that's just me. Obviously, YMMV.