The travel & tourism industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by a greater desire from consumers for personalized offerings that heighten the traveler experience, as well as an increased focus on value among an increasingly constrained traveler base, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, Internet of Things, and cloud. In the last three years alone, there have been over 14,000 patents filed and granted in the travel & tourism industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in travel & tourism: interactive in-flight media. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 11,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the travel & tourism industry, there are 10+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Interactive in-flight media is a key innovation area in travel & tourism

Interactive in-flight media refers to media content offered onboard an aircraft, allowing passengers to interact with and control their entertainment experience during a flight. This includes the use of personal electronic devices, wireless access points, visual display units, and communication protocols to give passengers the ability to request and customize the media content they consume while onboard.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established travel & tourism companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of interactive in-flight media.

Key players in interactive in-flight media – a disruptive innovation in the travel & tourism industry

 ‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to interactive in-flight media

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Panasonic 79 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 34 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 22 Unlock Company Profile
Thales 21 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 14 Unlock Company Profile
LiveTV 11 Unlock Company Profile
MI Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
Atos 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Dynamics 6 Unlock Company Profile
Recaro Aircraft Seating 6 Unlock Company Profile
Vantiva 6 Unlock Company Profile
LSG Lufthansa Service 6 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 4 Unlock Company Profile
TDM Bhd 4 Unlock Company Profile
Intertrade 4 Unlock Company Profile
Bombardier 3 Unlock Company Profile
TE Connectivity 3 Unlock Company Profile
Watch Communications 3 Unlock Company Profile
American Airlines Group 3 Unlock Company Profile 2 Unlock Company Profile
Global Eagle Entertainment 2 Unlock Company Profile
Gogo 2 Unlock Company Profile
Wipro 2 Unlock Company Profile
Phitek Systems 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ifpl Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
THOMSON LICENSING 1 Unlock Company Profile
Lufthansa Systems 1 Unlock Company Profile
TransDigm Group 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Companies from various sectors are innovating in this area as it is a key factor in improving passenger experience. Airlines therefore have an obvious interest, but vendors are also eager to demonstrate to airlines that their solutions trump their rivals and can thus most effectively elevate the in-flight experience and help drive repeat custom. Anuvu (formally Global Eagle) is a specialist in connectivity and entertainment for mobility markets and has filed for multiple patents in this technology. Airlines themselves are also working on solutions, sometimes through subsidiaries. Lufthansa is a prime example of the latter, with its Lufthansa Systems (one patent) and Lufthansa Service (six patents) both being active over the last seven years.

Aircraft manufacturing giants Boeing and Airbus rank second and third in terms of the number of patent applications lodged over the last seven years with 34 and 22 patent applications, respectively. However, technology for screens and consoles themselves is driving innovation most, as evidenced by Panasonic’s leading position. The Japanese electronics giant has registered 79 applications pertaining to interactive in-flight media since 2015.

In terms of application diversity, TE Connectivity leads the pack, while Gogo and American Airlines Group are in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, MI Group held the top position, followed by LSG Lufthansa Service and Recaro Aircraft Seating.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the travel & tourism industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Travel & Tourism.

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.