Truck Stops Revisited

May 10, 2016

The last time I wrote about truck stops for Airport Business magazine was in 1990. I wondered then if freight haulers in aviation were being treated as well as truck stops served truckers. I still wonder.

Our youngest, son Brett, operated a side scan sonar system for years on a recovery vessel. When that company fell on hard times, Brett, who had taught himself to weld, went to work as a welder. That company lost a big contract, so Brett pulled out the commercial driver’s license he earned long ago — and I’m not making this up — when he was ringmaster of a circus. A trucking company grabbed him.

Brett had a stop near our home last week, and we drove over to eat supper with him. Folks, I was amazed. The trucking industry has changed. Perhaps every airport and/or FBO manager should visit a large truck stop just to see how they cater to truckers. I counted over fifty semis parked — free — at that one truck stop. Truckers take showers — free — in squeaky-clean facilities. Diesel is pumped at a furious pace in multiple lines.

The trucking company sends to Brett — by computer — the route for every trip he takes. An APU generates electricity to power the refrigerator, air conditioner and heater. There are two bunks (that means I can go with him someday), and it is all kept in good working order.

Trucking and truck stops are big business, now, and seem a lot like big FBOs and airports. I wonder what we could learn from studying them a bit.