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Is Record Locator the Same as Ticket Number? A Detailed Explanation

When it comes to air travel, there are a lot of technical terms that passengers need to familiarize themselves with. One such term is the “record locator” and “ticket number”. As a frequent airline traveler or a first-time flier, you might have come across these two terms but aren’t sure whether they mean the same thing. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what a record locator is, what ticket number is, and whether they are the same thing or not.

What is a Record Locator?

A Record Locator is a unique alphanumeric code that identifies a passenger’s itinerary with an airline. Essentially, it’s a six-digit code used by airlines to keep track of flight reservations made by passengers. The code comprises letters and numbers and is generated when you make a flight booking through the airline or with a travel agent. When you book a flight, the airline generates a record locator code and assigns it to the booking. Every passenger traveling on that same booking has the same record locator code. It’s important to note that you can have multiple bookings or reservations with different record locator codes on the same airline, but each booking has a unique code for identification purposes.You can find the record locator code in your flight confirmation email, boarding pass, or on your airline’s mobile app.

What is a Ticket Number?

A ticket number, on the other hand, is a unique 13-digit code assigned to every air travel ticket issued by airlines. This number is a crucial aspect of a passenger’s itinerary, and it’s required to board the flight.Ticket numbers are typically included in airline receipts, itineraries, and even on the physical ticket itself. They are also stored in airline databases, where they can be accessed by airline staff for operational purposes.

Record Locator Vs. Ticket Number: A Detailed Explanation

Now that we have defined what record locator and ticket number are, let’s look at the differences between the two. The most significant difference between record locator and ticket number is their purpose. While record locator is used to identify a passenger’s reservation, ticket number is used to identify a passenger’s ticket. The record locator is generated at the time of booking and can be used to make changes to the reservation, such as seat selection, flight changes, or cancellations. The ticket number, on the other hand, is generated when a passenger buys an airline ticket and is required for the passenger to board their flight.Another difference between the two is the number of characters they contain. As earlier mentioned, the record locator comprises of six digits, while a ticket number is a 13-digit number. Additionally, record locators can be used to track unpaid reservations for ticketing purposes, while ticket numbers don’t have this capability.While the two codes have different functions and formats, they are interlinked in some instances. When you book a flight, your reservation is assigned a unique record locator code. Once you complete your payment and receive the ticket, the ticket number is attached to the record locator on your itinerary.


In conclusion, while record locator and ticket number are both unique identification codes assigned to air travel reservations, they have different functions and formats. The record locator is used to track reservations, while the ticket number is used to identify a passenger’s ticket. Whenever you are flying, it’s important to have both codes with you as airlines require them to book and board your flight. We hope that this post has provided some valuable insights into the differences between record locator and ticket number. By understanding these terms, you can navigate the airline reservation process and ensure a smooth travel experience.