The Ambassadair Difference
The History of Ambassadair
Letter from the Chairman

Sixty Years of Sharing the World with Our Customers

In sixty years of traveling all around the world, we’ve visited a lot of places and made a lot of friends. One constant throughout the years is our commitment to one simple idea: sharing the world with our customers. Doors do open for us, because we have the key. Experience.

There’s no substitute for experience. The only way to create and develop a great trip — be it an experience-of-a-lifetime or that smooth, stress-free quick getaway —is by having been there ourselves. Few travel agents have the firsthand knowledge or industry expertise that we have. For more than 60 years, we have traveled the world discovering new destinations, new hotels, new restaurants and where to find one-of-a-kind bargains. Not to mention, sights of interest (and of disinterest)!

It all started in 1954, when a young German exchange student at DePauw University began offering student tours to Europe. After graduating with a master’s degree in political science, Othmar Grueninger expanded his successful college business into a full-service travel agency in 1956, and based it in Indianapolis. Using his native knowledge of Europe, he began arranging European tours for corporate travel clubs. Throughout the years, Grueninger Travel continued to grow, opening branches across the Midwest and Northeast. We led the industry with innovative travel offerings such as rail tours across Canada and the West in Grueninger-owned Pullman railway cars, specialty cruises in the Mediterranean and Great Lakes on leased ships, and off-season getaway weeks in Portugal and Spain.

In 1973, George Mikelson launched his dream of owning a travel club. Together with 100 charter members and one Boeing 720 aircraft, he formed Ambassadair Travel Club. Over the course of the next 32 years he created the largest private travel club in the nation. When its parent company, ATA (formerly American Trans Air) found it necessary to sell Ambassdair’s assets in 2005, Grueninger Travel Group jumped at the chance. The legacy lives on. Blending 60 years of Grueninger experience with Ambassadair’s group travel foundation has created a family-owned travel business that offers expert knowledge, committed service and exciting destinations.

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