I’ve been spending a lot more time flying…ever since I joined Edelman – nope, I’m not complaining…I actually like it. I like it when Sandeep Chowta or A R Rahman or Mika (not the Punjabi singer – the Brit, I mean) or Coldplay or even Green Day are singing only to me, via my BlackBerry, while I observe so many interesting faces all around me – faces fascinate me! I get a lot more time to read so many books – which I seldom do if I’m at home.

I also noticed this particularly annoyed – make it seething – young man in the counter next to mine (IndiGo – if I recall right) who wanted to speak to the superintendent, his manager, the manager’s boss or perhaps the Supreme Lord himself…he was THAT angry. Over something. Then he did something that immediately had me thinking – he tore the printout of his ticket (the one which gets you the boarding pass from the pleasant lady on the other side of the counter) and threw it dramatically at the otherwise-worried executive trying to help the young man in question.

No, this post is not about being more human yada, yada, yada.

Where do all those printouts go?

I mean, every airline insists on these printouts – phone displays of tickets are not accepted – it has to be always a printout. On an average, about 12,000 passengers use the BIAL every day for flying out of Bangalore (as per this Praja RTI) – that’s roughly 12,000 pages every single day, if you assume a single sheet per person. So, where do all those printouts go, after the boarding pass is collected? To some random garbage bin?

Pay attention BIAL – World Environment Day is on June 5th. You still have 4 more months to go. To make a PR’ish, but meaningful impact!

Why not put up a very visible, well-publicized bin for people to dump their printout tickets? Explain the objective – recycling of the tickets…into boarding passes? Into…papier-mâché art displayed prominently at the airport? Into…school notebooks for underprivileged children in Karnataka? C’mon…there are tons of objectives you can explore – the point is to make it visible and something of a norm…for other airports to follow.

If that darn print-out is a necessary evil, why not do something useful after its short life is over?

PS1: And yes, promote it on social media as well…how’s that for a social media plug?

PS2: Other Airports in India – take note too 😉 This is an open idea – I won’t charge for this idea!

PS3: BIAL did try something last year – along these lines, but it sounds explicitly PR’ish and half-hearted.



7 thoughts on “A free, unsolicited idea to Bengaluru International Airport

  1. Agreed, that sms flight confirmations don’t enable you to even enter the airport #MakesNoSense.

    My 2cents: as an expat/firangi/extranjero as it were, whenever I do my annual exit and re-entry on fresh visa I’m always amazed at the piled stacks of immigration forms often ‘filed’ on some dilapidated desk in a corner and often wonder, after all the data has been captured off these precious pieces of paper – what happens nexts?

    Brilliant yet simple ideas. @FlyKingFisher, @FlySpicejet et al. are you listening (or at least your social media monitoring agencies 🙂

    @AllUndercover reporters/activists – an expose on the billion-dollar wastage of paper at airports…?


  2. Susan: I wouldn’t agree. Idea’s idea (!) is about a broad, generic ‘use less paper’ concept. What we’ve in BIAL (or any Indian airport) is a captive base of papers that are assured to go waste. How they treat those piles of paper says a lot about their environmental stand. There’s no broad, overarching advocacy in my idea to use less paper or go paperless. Paper, where needed, has to be used – how we treat short-life-span paper is the crux in my post.

  3. I travel a lot as well and this has been a fleeting concern. I think the extent of the wastage is immeasurable today, but it is essential to initiate a thought towards the concern atleast.
    To start with, Civil Aviation ministry needs to assess the need for paper during the necessary security check at entry. The only time the paper is useful is during entry, where the names on the ticket are compared to your photo ID.

    Why cant there be an airport operated entry check terminal for this alongwith the CISF personnel incharge, where all they need to do is check the PNR v/s the ID. Better still, you may link databases and check the ingenuity of the ID itself – safety. You cant do this today)

    The PNR is supplied on your mobile instrument. This confirmation can then be relayed to the concerned airline for them to simplify the check-in procedure. This way, the whole need of paper is eliminated, and I dont have to run from one end of the airport to check-in (which is mostly the case with me unfortunately)

    All it needs is a desk with a computer and an operator/security.

    And frankly, do we need that large a boarding pass at all?


  4. Great suggestion Karthik. In many western countries, you could check-in online before leaving for the airport. You can then print your boarding pass and take it with you. No other printout required.

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