Exploring the former world headquarters of Trans-World Airlines and the legacy of the fallen giant at the TWA Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
TWA was established in 1930 with the merger of Trans-Continental and Western Airlines, so before they were Transworld, the TWA stood for the names of the two airlines. When the airlines were first established their emphasis was on mail and parcel service. Transporting people was expensive and not very comfortable for the passenger. Transcontinental was the first airlines to really focus on overtaking trains as the dominant form of mass transportation. TWA was the first airline to feature over weather flying and of much importance to the passengers, cabin pressurization, which made the flight experience much more enjoyable. In 1931 the Airlines moved it’s headquarters from NYC to Kansas City where the company would remain for almost 35yrs,
Having Kansas City as the World Headquarters of one of the world’s largest airlines had a particular cache to locals. You could get anywhere in the world from KC easily. The airlines also trained their pilots’, engineers, and flight attendants locally which was a real boon to the local economy.
The city government of KC and TWA worked together on plans build to build a new airport. Kansas City was to be TWA’s world hub with non-stop international flights throughout the world. Design disputes were to arise between the city and the airlines that eventually led to TWA canceling their plans for the airport and moving their offices to St. Louis. TWA would remain in St. Louis until 2001 when the airlines dissolved a victim to poor management and the acquisition craze of the 1990’s.
TWA’s glory days live on at the TWA Museum. The Museum is staffed entirely by retired TWA workers, and the tour is extensive and enjoyable. A couple of the planes are housed on the runway and hangar area. Admission is $10.