Forget my first kiss, my first drink or my first cigarette. Let’s talk about my very first e-commerce experience.
This must have been in about 1992 and I had been playing around with Compuserve for a while. Used it a lot to do background searches on companies for some reason. No idea why, but you could so I did…
Anyway. I had heard about this thing called EasySabre. Apparently it was a way to book flight tickets using the computer. You could get into it using Compuserve, so one night I decided it was a good time to try it out. I needed a flight to Amsterdam to visit the family. I logged on and went through the entirely text based process of finding and booking the flight I wanted. I even managed to pay for it using my credit card. At the end of the process I had a very cryptic print-out with all the details. It looked very official, but soon I had doubts. I wasn’t sure this was actually happening and as the flight was for the next day, I had to make sure. So at about 9 in the evening I got in the car and drove to Heathrow. When I got there I found the BA desk and offered them my print-out. Low and behold, my booking was all confirmed and on the system. I collected my ticket and went home in a mild state of ecstasy. I had just booked a ticket online and it worked!
Little did I realise then, that for the next 10 years we would have a front row seat while massive changes were taking place in the travel industry as a result of the growth of the internet. Our work with Amadeus and later with PhoCusWright gave us a fascinating insight in the transitions that took place during that time.