Delta Air Lines this month became the fifth of the nine major U.S. carriers to charge for paper tickets.
Delta said it would charge $10 to issue paper tickets requested by customers on itineraries that are eligible for e-tickets, now more than 98% of its flights, said spokesman Anthony Black. Exceptions include code-share flights and a handful of destinations, including Paris and Cancun, Mexico, he said. The fee is waived for full-fare, unrestricted tickets and for SkyMiles Medallion members. American, America West and Continental also charge the $10 fee; Alaska Air charges $20 per ticket order.
Delta cited "increasing costs" for its move and also noted that e-tickets let customers use self-serve kiosks and avoid theft or loss of the ticket. But airline expert Terry Trippler noted a disadvantage: If passengers need to rebook on another airline at the airport, they may have to stand in line to get a paper ticket because competing airlines may not acknowledge another carrier's e-ticket.
But more airlines are accepting e-tickets from other carriers. As of last week, American, Continental, Northwest and United had so-called "interline agreements" with one another. Continental also has an agreement with America West, and United with Air Canada. Delta, US Airways and Southwest don't have such agreements.