Airline Industry Guru Terry Trippler Shares His Thoughts on Travel for Baby Boomers

Airline expert Terry Trippler has seen a lot of changes in the travel industry since he first started traveling by air. In the nearly 40 years since he took his first step inside an airplane, the industry has revolutionized itself many times over. interviewed Mr. Trippler to see just how much the industry has changed. We would like to take you back to a time when you were first starting to think about traveling independently? Can you relay some personal travel experiences from when you were just starting to travel on your own? Were your travel experiences very simple, such as going to “the lake,” or the nearest “big city,” or was it something more exotic like backpacking through Europe, hiking through Nepal, or taking a Volkswagen van cross-country? How much planning was involved back then, and what were your information sources?

Terry Trippler: My first independent travel was in 1967 when I rode with my brother to his Marine base in Memphis — and flew back from Memphis to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I had never flown before and I was on a Delta flight from Memphis to Chicago connecting to an Ozark Airlines flight from Chicago to Sioux Falls. The Delta flight was late and when it arrived it was an electra 4-engine prop — noisy and not real smooth. When the flight attendant came with the dinner I turned it down — didn’t quite know what I was to do with it. Imagine — now knowing what to do with food — talk about a novice! We arrived in Chicago late and I had a 10 minute connection to Ozark. Again, I had never flown before — let alone ever been in an airport like Chicago O’Hare, but I just started to run in one direction and saw a sign that listed a bunch of airlines that were in another terminal and Ozark was one of them. By running — and simply following the signs — I arrived at the Ozark departure gate in time to board. (I may not have known how to eat the dinner on Delta but I knew how to read a sign and follow arrows). When I got on the Ozark flight is was a new DC-9 jet. So smooth and quiet so I immediately thought that Ozark must be a much bigger and better airline than Delta. At that time my information source was what I thought was the only source — the airline. I went to the Sioux Falls airport and walked up to the counter and bought a ticket. I thought that is how it was to be done. In a way, that is how it was done by many travelers at that time. In your early travel days, how did you view the idea of flying to some distant country or a third world country? How does this compare to now?

Terry Trippler: The idea of flying to some distant country or third world country was completely out of the question. Today — I feel no differently. A fair amount of time has elapsed since you first started to travel independently. How has the travel industry changed since that time? How have your personal travel habits changed?

Terry Trippler: Travelers are much more educated and capable now than before. In 1968 when I began working for an airline, our goal was not only to convince people to fly our airline but we were also trying to convince the general public “to fly.” Flying was a new experience for many people. In 1971 I escorted charter tours to Las Vegas and the Bahamas and with 252 people on-board it was not unusual to have well over half who were taking their first flight. Today, flying is no longer an “event” but just “how to get there”. When I was working for the airline in the late 60’s, people “dressed” to fly. Today, they “barely dress” to fly. My personal habits have changed drastically. Unless I can get a seat up front (business or first class) I will not go. Do you still have a “Dream Trip”? If so, where/what would that be?

Terry Trippler: My wife and I have our dream trip and we take it every 5 years or so. We met in Hawaii (I was her tour escort) so we love Hawaii. Our dream trip is first class air to Honolulu and 7-10 days at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki. We can relax on the beach or around one of the many pools with excellent service in a lush setting. When we want — we have Honolulu and Waikiki available to us for night life, etc. We rent a car a few days and drive around the island but more and more we are finding just relaxing on the beach or at the pool — with several good books — is truly a “dream vacation” for us. List your top 5 favorite travel destinations

Terry Trippler: Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Portland, OR, Disney World in Orlando, Great Lakes resorts in Michigan and Minnesota In your opinion, what do you think some of the hottest baby boomer destinations will be in the near future?

Terry Trippler: While many will explore the world — particularly Asia and Australia-New Zealand, I believe many boomers will stay closer to home — opting for traditional U.S. destinations — particularly on off peak seasons ( i.e. between Labor Day and November 15, the first part of January, between Easter and Memorial Day).

Biography of Terry L. Trippler

With over 37 years of commercial travel industry experience, Terry Trippler is considered America’s foremost authority on the airlines and the rules that govern their operations. Mr. Trippler began his career as an airline ticket agent and has since held several industry positions from which he perfected his trade. Today, he specializes in airline rules and regulations, earning respect within as well as outside the travel industry for his impartial and balanced view of the air transportation industry and its effects on the consumer. His mission is to educate the travelers as to their rights and responsibilities, as well as to offer constructive input into the fair operation of our nation’s air transportation industry.

Terry Trippler’s widely regarded domestic and international travel expertise has resulted in his being quoted in major leading publications throughout the world, and has lead to extensive broadcast exposure in international, national and various local media markets. Terry has also consulted with members of the current administration of the U.S. Government regarding the state of the airline industry. He has acted as a factual witness for various law enforcement and private law firms throughout the country regarding airlines and ticketing procedures.

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