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Asia-Pac air ticketing takes to text

A Malaysian budget airline teams up with a telecom and technology company to launch an SMS airline reservation and payment service, the airline says.

Malaysian budget airline AirAsia has teamed up with Malaysia-based telecom company Maxis and Dutch technology company Getronics to launch an airline reservation and payment service, according to a statement from the airline.

Travelers can choose their flights, confirm the reservation and make payments through text messaging. All they need to do is to key in AA or AirAsia on their mobile phone and send it to a designated number. Customers will then be guided through a set of instructions to buy tickets.

The new service is free, but each SMS (short messaging service) will be charged the standard rate of 15 Malaysian sen (4 cents), said the statement.

Recently, Australia's budget airline Virgin Blue announced plans to introduce an SMS service that allows customers to check in using their mobile phones.

A bar code containing reservation details will be sent to a customer's mobile phone, which can be scanned like a boarding pass at check in.

Customers will also be able to receive their itinerary via SMS and, using a GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) or 3G-enabled phone, to make changes to their reservation.

CNETAsia staff reported from Singapore.
ZDNet Australia's staff writers contributed to this report.