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The typical experience for someone traveling by air in the 1990s included a phone call or visit to a travel agent’s office

Tipping Point Essay instructions and questions 

The only source to complete this assignment is:

Gladwell, M. (2002). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

*Malcolm Gladwell reviews and synthesizes a number of theoretical and empirical perspectives on something he calls the tipping point. As you read the book and as we discuss it in class, I encourage you to keep in mind the questions below.

*You will eventually write an essay using the terms, concepts, and frameworks from Gladwell’s book to answer both questions.  Each answer should be at least two double-spaced pages of text, but no more than three pages.  Type your name on the first line of the first page. Use 12-point Times Roman or Cambria font and 1-inch margins all around.  Do not repeat the question in your answer. Edit and proofread your answers.

Question 1:

*The typical experience for someone traveling by air in the 1990s included a phone call or visit to a travel agent’s office.  The travel agent provided expert advice and information about the available options and itineraries.  The traveler chose an itinerary, and then the travel agent either handed a paper ticket to the traveler or the paper ticket was mailed to the traveler’s home.

*The typical experience for someone traveling by air in 2017 involves searching websites on the Internet.  The traveler is likely to use a travel portal like orbitz.com or kayak.com to search for and compare available options.  The traveler then enters his or her credit card information on the Internet and waits for a confirmation number.  In most cases, the traveler only receives electronic information about his or her itinerary.  No paper is handed to the traveler or delivered by mail.  The traveler heads to the airport on the day of the trip with nothing more than a confirmation number.

*What happened?  Travel agents used to go to special schools to learn the tools and tricks of their trade.  Travelers couldn’t imagine making sense of the various itineraries, schedule options, and fare restrictions.  Today, travelers have embraced the opportunity to plan their own travel.  Are travelers just smarter now?  People used to panic if they didn’t receive the multi-page, IATA-approved tickets printed on special paper.  Now they’ll head to the airport with nothing more than a six-digit alphanumeric code.  Were people inherently more suspicious in the 1990s?  Are travelers simply more trusting now?


Question 2:

*Commercial aviation is barely over a hundred years old.  The vehicles used to transport people and cargo by air have evolved to the point where the potential exists for aircraft to operating safely, reliably, and efficiently without a pilot on the flight deck or even a pilot controlling the aircraft from a remote, ground-based location.

*There is clear evidence that we are capable of developing and operating unpiloted aircraft for commercial purposes, including the carriage of passengers, but few people seem ready and willing to purchase tickets for these flights.

*Using what you know about the evolution of aviation and transportation and what you’ve learned about human behavior from The Tipping Point, assess the prospect for the wide-scale implementation of unpiloted vehicles for the carriage of passengers.  Use the appropriate terms, concepts, and framework for change described in The Tipping Point to discuss what would have to happen for society to reach a tipping point and embrace the fundamental change represented by unpiloted air vehicles.  Remember that aviation does not live or operate in a vacuum, so broader context is important to this discussion.

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