Tickets please!

With COVID-19 accelerating the trend for digital boarding passes and mobile apps, it feels appropriate to take a nostalgic look at what is an increasingly rare sight: paper airline tickets. To celebrate the publication of their new book on the subject, Charles Kennedy and Sebastian Schmitz share a brief history of these miniature works of art

A colourful TAAG example from 1994

An airline ticket is a mirror, reflecting to the bearer their hopes and desires. A new city to discover or a triumphant return home. A business opportunity, a personal journey of discovery, a glamorous holiday or a new romance. They open up a world of infinite possibilities. For the issuer, they’re a chance to project their identity, both cultural (national symbols or animals predominate in their design) and economic (some small countries’ most famous export is their airline itself – Singapore and the United Arab Emirates to name but two).

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