E-ticketing and New Age Travels

I plan to spend New Year’s in Ahmedabad. I will have a separate post for what I did there after I return. But, preparing for the trip itself deserves a blog post. I prepared for the trip solely on phone calls with Manoj Pai, an amateur astronomer in Ahmedabad with whom I am in touch with since 2004 but have never met a single time and cleartrip.com, a site introduced to me by Kirk in December, 2010.

The Indian Railways earlier this year introduced the concept of having electronic tickets (the official note is here). This meant that you could show tickets on your mobile phone and you did not need to carry an actual paper ticket in your hand. They claim they can save 3 lakh A4 size papers if this idea is implemented. A worthy environmental effort and I support it. I have travelled paper-less on Indian Railways.

The problem arose when I book a ticket through a travel agent such as cleartrip. I love the formatting that cleartrip does for the ticket of Indian Railways. However, they sent me an .html attachment of the ticket and I did not have a .pdf document printer on my laptop nor did I want to buy from Adobe.

To solve this problem, I installed CutePDF writer and Ghostscript. With their powers combined, I got a .pdf printer for my computer. The CutePDF website has pretty straight forward instructions on how to use and set it up. This solved my .pdf printing problem.

asked the question on Twitter on whether the email from cleartrip could be used as an e-ticket. @MumbaiCentral@akisaxena@girishmallya and @basrur replied and provided answers that ranged from yes to maybe. I did not get a convincing answer based on real experience. @MumbaiCentral suggested that I try this out but carry a .pdf backup – just in case. This is what I hope to do today.

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