The top 5 innovations that have changed the way we travel forever

Daniel Batchelor

Global Head of Corporate Communications, Amadeus IT Group

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Innovation is defined most regularly as the creation and application of better solutions to meet new requirements. It’s something we take seriously here at Amadeus – and the proof is in the pudding with over €2.4 billion invested in R&D between 2004 and 2012.


Throughout the month of November we’ll be looking at just what exactly innovation means to Amadeus – from the people propelling our creative and operational efforts, to the solutions that will shape, and are shaping, the future of travel.

To kick things off – we’ve compiled a list of five things which we think are the top innovations in travel.

big antenna satellite

5. Global Positioning System

Just 14 short years ago GPS first appeared in amobile phone. Now, it is a standard feature in every handset produced. First developed in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Defense – GPS is used every day by billions of travellers. We consider it a top innovation because it fundamentally changed the way we explore new places – quickly replacing bulky paper maps with powerful and precise directions in the palm of our hand.

1997 first e ticket

4. Electronic Tickets

Devised in the early 1990s e-ticketing has now largely replaced the older paper ticketing systems, especially since they are mandatory for all IATA member airlines. Gone are the days of waiting anxiously for paper tickets to arrive in the post from travel agents – now they are sent to us via the internet during check-in. E-tickets are here to stay and they will become more prevalent in other travel sectors in the future as greater customisation becomes more widespread – earning them a deserved place on our list.

man working on his laptop

3. Online Booking

Internet booking engines have changed and are changing the travel distribution game. And the future looks bright as we work onnew search solutionsto improve the online booking experience. You could make a strong case for putting this innovation higher on our list – perhaps even first – but we think there are still plenty more innovations to come.


2. Suit-Case with Wheels

First, they started out as leather or wool sacks. Then the steamer trunk took centre stage as a traveller's best friend. The evolution continued and at some point in time a genius suitcase designer decided to include wheels. Instantly, business travel was forever changed. The innovation continued and now we have all-terrain swivel wheels with retractable handles and evenheated luggage. Who knows what’s next?

  1. The Aeroplane

In 1903 theWright brothers’first flights were recognized by theFédération Aéronautique Internationale(FAI), as "the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight". From then on innovation on levels too numerous to list here took over, and now there are more than 90,000 commercial flights every day with the airline industry being thesafest since the dawn of the jet age– thus earning the aeroplane the top spot on our list.

Of course your list may be different – so be sure to let us know what you think the top innovations in travel are by leaving a comment below ortweetingus with the hash tag#1Ainnovation.

Be sure to keep an eye on this blog all month long for more about innovation in the travel industry, including a personal view from our Head of R&D Hervé Couturier this coming Monday on what innovation means to him...