Why "hardcopy" is important in travel

14 June 2012

We live in times where a hardcopy is sometimes meaningless, where everything is booked & confirmed online and we’ve moved to a so-called paperless environment.  Well those times flew out the window on my recent trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

Like any other “tech savvy” traveller, I sometimes had the payment confirmation sent to me via email.  However in most instances I do not make time to print the confirmation, but rather jot down the reference code generated by the airline’s booking system.  Like any other machine, our airline’s systems sometimes do have minor glitches and if you’re caught off guard, it could cost you.

Rewind to Cape Town...


It’s 4:30pm and my mother and I have just returned our rental car and are now ready to check-in for our 6pm flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg.  As per procedure, we hand over our identity documents as proof that we’re booked for the flight so that we can be given our boarding passes.


shutterstock_103165316_proof of payThe lady assisting us flutters her eyes, gives a weak smile, clears her throat and says “sorry Miss and Mrs Dali you’re not booked for this flight.” I let out a smug smile, and present the lady with email copies of our proof of payment.  After a long “I am the customer and I’m right” argument, my mother and I were granted permission to board the flight.

The point I’m getting to is, whether you book via reputable travel agent such as Flight Centre or via an online booking system, I strongly suggest you request some type of confirmation that you can print out in case systems go ‘koo koo.'
I’m sure we’ve all had instances where it has been “your word against theirs” simply because you did not have any proof of payment.


Have a travel wallet that will carry all your important documents namely; passport, proof of payment for a flight, hotel plus more and other documents you consider important for your travels.

I’m sure my situation would have cost me if I had no proof.  What situation have you had on your travels that almost cost you and arm and a leg?