A native of Madison, Indiana, Christopher Allen is the third generation in his family to be involved with aviation. His grandfather (James R. Allen) and father  (R. Bruce Allen)  were both private pilots from Louisville, Kentucky. Much like his father, Chris was intrigued by aviation, leaving Madison to work for ATA Airlines in 1998. "I intentionally started at the very bottom of the company, wanting to learn how it operated from the ground up." said Allen. That position gave Allen a unique perspective few had, seeing all the intricate mechanisms of an airline operation. Allen developed relationships with pilots, ground personnel, and flight crews to learn just how an airline operated.

As Allen continued at ATA, his grandfather and dad grew to love his involvement with the local airline. "Grandad said he saw an ATA plane in Atlanta, and it was as if we connected on an entirely different level," Chris said. "I could tell he was thrilled that I worked for something that he saw fly in the air."

 

9/11 occurred, disrupting many lives within ATA's ranks as the aviation industry suffered a devastating series of setbacks. "For three years, many of us didn't know if we would have a job." noting the difficulties ATA experienced. "I was determined to learn all I could as to why my friends were being let go. How could such a great local company get to the point of cutting so many good people?

 

In 2007, Chris' father Bruce was diagnosed was a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor. Treatment at Duke University gave Bruce only a few months more to live as the precious time gave Chris to share wonderful moments with his father. Bruce lost his battle and died on Sunday, April 6, 2008... barely 72 hours after ATA closed its doors. "My last conversation with dad was telling him my wife and I were expecting our first child, Samuel." Chris said. "Losing a parent changed everything, and it wasn't until I became a father did I know how much dad truly loved me."

 

The two events would forever be forged in Allen's life as he set out to bootstrap Legacy Travel Club from the ground up. From that point on, Allen spent the next three years determined to build something to refute the painful loss of ATA, but to honor his beloved father. "I know a lot of people felt helpless when ATA closed, and I knew that there was more to this story than a heartbreaking end." Allen said. "My top priority was to provide for my family, and being a father motivates you like nothing else. I knew I needed a business plan and a mentor, so I started with cold calls to suppliers, aviation experts, and leasing agents to gather figures for the business plan." That three year span led to Legacy Travel Club, which successfully demonstrated its proof of concept trip to Mackinac Island on June 14, 2016, selling out in just two days. "I'll never forget the applause that erupted when that plane took off," Allen said, remembering that inaugural trip. “It was absolutely extraordinary.”

The trip to Mackinac Island is clear proof of concept demonstrated a genuine need for a home-town travel club, now perfectly positioned for  entry into the Indianapolis market, Allen points to the belief and support to its members. "Without our members, this never would have come true.” said Allen. This is truly a grass roots effort; straight from the heart."

Heartland Travel Club is a membership based travel organization that will provide its members public charter flights authorized by the U.S. DOT, or arrange charter flights for them on smaller aircraft.

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