By: Dave Barger

Chief executive 

"Fast-forward 25 years. It's now 2035, and the travel experience may look completely different" 


Dave Barger
 © Mark Greenberg

Twenty-five years ago, there were no iPods, "e-commerce" was not a word, and the internet was barely relevant to most business people. The fare for New York to Los Angeles was beginning to rebound from the air fare wars of 1983-84, bringing a semblance of stability back to the US aviation market, which had been on a roller-coaster ride since deregulation in 1978. Into this world, Airline Business was born.

There was no better time or greater need for a dedicated journal to investigate and report on the machinations of our industry, not just to keep up with the fast pace of change, but to help make sense of it.

What does the next 25 years bring for our industry? We have all come to rely on the "new normal" pace of technological change, not just in our industry but in our daily lives. This is the age of personal computing and communications - we are more connected now than ever before in the history of humankind. And yet technology, in my opinion, merely bridges the gaps between true connectivity: person-to-person, face-to-face. We are in the business of connecting human beings to each other.

Our customers' need to connect will extend to the travel experience itself. The companies that fill the deep and essential need of every person on the planet to be seen, heard, acknowledged and appreciated - not settling to merely be the conduit for such connections - will lead our industry into our second century of flight.

Fast-forward 25 years. It is now 2035, and the travel experience may look completely different. Customers have far more control over their experience, from booking to checking-in to boarding. All of the hassle factor items from today's world have been mitigated: bags are sent ahead, meals pre-ordered when you purchase your ticket and check-in is completed at time of purchase. Security check points are seamless, requiring minutes, not hours. Boarding is automated. Because of the investment in the customer experience, future travellers get and expect far more value for their money.

It is my hope that we as an industry invest as much in the infrastructure. Upgrading the air traffic control system is a good start, which will lead to precision approaches in our most heavily travelled corridors, such as New York, London, Paris, Dubai, Beijing and Tokyo. With advances in air traffic management, more flights can operate more reliably.

Except, of course, if there is a blizzard. Because the more things change, the more they stay the same.



Dave Barger cover

Dave Barger first appeared on the cover together with JetBlue founder David Neeleman in July 2007 shortly after becoming chief executive. He was on the cover for a second time earlier this year 



Barger is very much a day-to-day operator. He sees his new role as a blend of operational blocking and tackling on a longer-term basis, including the central task of expanding JetBlue's capacity and making the passenger experience at its home base of New York's JFK an easier one.


Source: Airline Business