Airline tickets have changed in size, shape, color and form through recent years. Though they all display pretty much the same information, airlines have taken the design and simplified it by removing unnecessary information and making it easier for passengers to find the most important information, quicker.
Origin & Destination
To ensure boarding of the right aircraft, and to verify for security purposes that you are a ticketed passenger for a flight departing that day, each airline ticket displays your departure and arrival airport in addition to the flights departure date and time.
If your travel arrangements take you through another airport on a connection, you will receive an additional ticket displaying your next departure and arrival airport and departure time.
Once through the Security checkpoint, the “gate number” located on your boarding pass will direct you to the area of the airport in which your aircraft will board.
Though this information is printed on the ticket for your convenience, it is best to check the monitors throughout the airport to ensure the gate hasn't changed since the printing of your ticket.
To speed up the boarding process, airlines assign boarding groups and/or zones to each passenger based upon the location of their seat on board. Usually, airplanes board from the windows seats aft to forward, followed by middle seats aft to forward and finally aisle seats, in the same pattern. This group/zone appears on your ticket, and you should board the aircraft when the gate agent calls your respective group/zone.
The exemption to this process is first class, business class and families. Those passengers have the ability to pre-board the aircraft and get situated prior to general boarding.
Once you board the aircraft, the “seat” information on your ticket will aid you in locating your assigned seat. Airplanes vary in size and passenger capacity, but most airplanes are numbered the same way. Row 1 begins at the forward most aircraft door and counts upwards towards the back of the aircraft. Within each row you'll find seats designated by letters. If facing the front of the airplane, the “A” seat is located on your left hand-side, at the window. The letters continue across the row until reaching the window seat on the opposite side of the aircraft.
Some airlines offer “open seating,” which allows all passengers to pick any seat once on board the aircraft. Please check your tickets before boarding to figure out if you have an assigned seat of if you can select the seat of your choice.
Electronic tickets differ from paper tickets merely because you don't have a physical ticket to carry with you to the airport. When making your airline reservation, you should receive a confirmation code. This code, when typed into a check-in kiosk or when presented to a ticket agent, allows the airline to print out your tickets. This alleviates the problem of ever forgetting your tickets at home.