Amadeus Column: Innovations That Have Changed Travel


Innovation is defined most regularly as the creation and application of better solutions to meet new requirements. It’s something Amadeus takes very seriously, and the proof of the pudding is in over $3.2 billion invested in research and development since 2004.

In line with this, we have created a list of the five things that we believe are the top innovations in travel:

5. Global Positioning System
Just 14 short years ago, GPS first appeared in a mobile phone. Now it is a standard feature in every handset produced. First developed in 1973 by the US Department of Defence, GPS is used every day by billions of travellers. It quickly replaced bulky paper maps with powerful and precise directions in the palm of our hand.

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. 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.

3. Online Booking
Internet booking engines have changed, and are changing the travel distribution game. And the future looks bright, as we work on new search solutions to improve the online booking experience.

2. Suitcase with Wheels
First they started out as leather or wool sacks, and the evolution continued to eventually include wheels. Instantly, business travel was forever changed. The innovation continued and now we have all-terrain swivel wheels with retractable handles and even heated luggage. Who knows what’s next?

 1. The Aeroplane
In 1903, the Wright brothers’ first flights were recognised by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), as “the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight”. From then on, innovation in the realm has just continued, and now there are more than 90,000 commercial flights around the world every day.

Of course, some lists on this topic may differ, but what remains constant is that innovation drives the travel industry forward, and Amadeus is committed to helping this happen.

Santiago Jimenez
Director, Sub-Saharan Africa