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Synopsis

In 2008 U.S. domestic airlines carried nearly 750 million passengers domestically and internationally. The growth of commercial air transportation and the number of passengers flying today can be laid at the feet of one of the great aviation pioneers, Juan Trippe, who began a crusade to create an air network that would link America to the world. The Yale graduate was absorbed by flight and airplanes. He established Pan American World Airways with a fleet of flying boats linking the U.S. to Asia and Europe. International travel in the 1940s was limited to the rich. Trippe had a different vision. He wanted to make international travel affordable for ordinary folk and introduced a new class of service--tourist class--on the New York-London route with a round-trip fare of 275, half the price set by the International Air Transport Association. Not only was IATA unhappy, Britain quickly shut its airports to Pan Am, forcing it to land at Shannon, Ireland. Trippe ultimately prevailed in bringing air travel to a large segment of the population. The story of Trippe, told by award-winning author Daniel Alef, is a significant chapter in American aviation. Howard Hughes and TWA were his nemesis; Lindbergh a close friend. And Trippe also gave us the 747. [1,356-word Titans of Fortune article].

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