An E-ticket is an electronically issued ticket, most commonly used for airline ticketing. An E-ticket does not replace the actual boarding pass for a passenger: rather, it replaces the initial ticket that one would have received as proof of a seat reservation.
E-ticketing reduces the amount of paper used as well as reduces the costs associated with printing and mailing out tickets.
First, a person logs onto a travel website to purchase airline tickets. He might also go through a travel agent who will handle the purchasing of the e-tickets for the customer.
When a ticket is purchased through an online travel site or agency, the airline's computer system receives notification of a ticket purchase along with the passenger's information. Because of this, the airline's computer system must be linked in real time to travel websites and ticket agencies. This real time connection also allows the airline's system to accurately reflect which seats are available on which flights.
A confirmation e-mail is sent to the customer, confirming the seat numbers purchased and all personal information. No physical ticket is mailed to the customer, however some people print out a copy of the confirmation e-mail.
Upon arrival to the airport, the passenger either visits the airline's service desk or an automated kiosk and enters her personal information into the kiosk. The passenger is required to show government issued I.D., such as a U.S. passport or valid driver's license in order to receive a boarding pass from the service desk or kiosk.
When a flight is preparing for boarding, the passenger surrenders his boarding pass to the attendant and the government issued I.D. is also double checked to verify the passenger information.