In the late 80s and early 90s Donald Trump, entrepreneur, media star and now presidential candidate, had his own airline. It was called the Trump Shuttle and flew between New York, Boston and Washington.
At the time, Trump dominated the American landscape. He even had his own building, The Trump Tower, and naturally wanted his own airline to fly over it.
The Trump Shuttle was heralded as a new concept in flying and was aimed at business people wanting quick access to Wall Street.
On arrival at New York passengers would jump on a helicopter or a bus that would deliver them to the stock exchange. Helicopter passengers arrived at Wall Street in six minutes; bus passengers arrived somewhat later.
I’ve never traded on the stock market nor had a business yet I was curious about the shuttle. I suspected that, much like the man, the shuttle would be loud and tacky.
In New York, I wandered into a travel agency and booked a ticket. The travel agent, horrified that I was backpacking around the States as a young, single female, overcharged me while simultaneously lecturing me on safety.
(Luckily, on the return trip a Trump shuttle employee discovered the error, and after subjecting me to another lecture — this time about New Yorker ineptitude — she promptly refunded my money.)
Once at La Guardia airport the Trump Shuttle was hard to miss.
It stood on the runway with “Trump” emblazoned over its body. Its interior was similarly branded with red and brown paneled seating and snacks bearing the Trump coat of arms.
It was also filled with bored business men.
I’d heard the shuttle was innovative because it had laptops. (By today’s standards, they were old and heavy but still a novel concept back in the late 80s.)
I expected Trump’s hologram to appear and recite the safety instructions. Instead, the flight was uneventful.
A few years later the airline was dismantled and Trump declared bankruptcy for the third or fourth time.
The shuttle was soon forgotten, as was Trump.
But he didn’t go away for long, re-inventing himself as a TV star in The Apprentice.
And now he may even become the United States president.
If so, he will have his own jet to fly him around the country again: Airforce One.
Yet, if the Trump Shuttle foreshadows what is to come then America should brace itself for a short, innovative ride that could end in bankruptcy.