Commercial Aviation

After his famous transatlantic flight in 1927, Charles Lindbergh focused on making a career out of promoting the development of aviation, particularly commercial aviation. Lindbergh wrote, "America has found her wings, but she must yet learn to use them."

Transcontinental Air Transport and the Lindbergh Line

Beginning in 1928, Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) partnered with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Lindbergh was named chairman of its technical committee and assigned the task of establishing the TAT route, a duty that would take much of his time for the next year.

According to Lindbergh biographer A. Scott Berg, “Most of [Lindbergh’s] suggestions became the standard for aviation in the United States and, subsequently, around the world. In many cities, he helped create the model for their first modern airports.”

Lindbergh also worked with Henry Ford to make improvements in speed, capacity, and comfort in commercial aircraft.

Lindbergh granted TAT restricted use of his name in its publicity, and soon they adopted the slogan “The Lindbergh Line.” On Jul 7, 1929, TAT inaugurated its first 48-hour coast-to-coast passenger transportation service, with Col. Lindbergh acting as pilot and his wife, Anne, acting as unofficial hostess.

In an era of growth in the aviation industry, TAT merged with the Maddux Line in 1929 and with Western Air Express to form Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA). They continued to use the slogan “The Lindbergh Line” until 1938.

Pan American Airways

Within months of accepting his position at TAT, Lindbergh also became technical advisor to Pan American Airways, making major decisions from testing planes to selecting which planes the company should buy to surveying and choosing new routes. Together, Lindbergh and Anne explored the globe, traveling north to Asia and around the Atlantic.

By the end of 1937, Lindbergh was reviewing bids from eight manufacturers for the construction of 100 passenger airplanes capable of making the same Atlantic crossing that he did 10 years earlier in the much smaller Spirit of St. Louis.

During the 1950s, Lindbergh often scheduled several inspection tours each year on behalf of Pan American World Airways, touring facilities around the world.

Over time, Lindbergh became less concerned with the happenings in the cockpit and more concerned about the cabin and its passengers. In 1965, at age 63, Lindbergh was elected to the board of directors of Pan Am, participating in two week-long director’s trips around the world. He would serve in this role until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 72.

Adviser to US government

On Feb 21, 1929, Col. Lindbergh was appointed technical adviser to the Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce of the United States Government. Lindbergh made himself available for advice on air regulations, airway extensions and equipment, airport construction, airway mapping, accident prevention, and aeronautical research.


Berg, A. Scott. Lindbergh. New York: Berkley Books, 1998.

Kirk, Robert F. Flying the Lindbergh Line: Then and Now. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2013.