Dave Hilfman retired from United Airlines at the end of 2018 after 37 years in the airline industry. Dave served as senior vice president of Worldwide Sales for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines over a 14 year period between 2004 – 2018. The merger between Continental and United in 2010 created the world’s largest airline when measured by revenue. Hilfman is credited with helping unify the two cultures with his honest, progressive and affable leadership style and for leading the team to significant commercial success over his eight years at the new United.
In July 2020, Dave was appointed as interim CEO of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in order to stabilize the organization during the COVID-19 pandemic and help lead the business travel industry to recovery. During his interim tenure, GBTA served as the leading voice in educating and lobbying governments around the world to enact sensible pandemic policies in support of the corporate travel industry and launched the multi-dimensional Ready. Safe. Travel. campaign. Hilfman served as chairman of GBTA’s executive director search committee which completed its task of hiring a new leader for the association in February 2021.
Dave’s career took off in 1981 when he was a student at the University of South Florida (USF) and was asked by Eastern Airlines to serve as its campus sales representative. A two-term student body president and member of USF’s first student Ambassadors, the airline recognized in Hilfman a young man uniquely suited to the job.
Upon graduation at USF, Dave started full time as an Eastern Airlines account executive in 1984 and held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career at Eastern, Continental and United Airlines. In 2017, Hilfman became one of only nine recipients in 49 years of the Global Business Travel Association’s ICON Award, recognizing those whose contributions made a significant positive impact on the entire corporate travel industry. Dave was named one of the 25 Most Influential Travel Executives by Business Travel News three times during his years in the travel business. In 2018, Hilfman was honored to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at Travel Weekly’s Reader’s Choice Awards ceremony.
Today, Dave is involved in various philanthropic initiatives, serves on the boards of nuTravel, WINiT/GBTA and the Expedia Group Advisory Board and loves spending time with his family including his 20 year-old son Marshall, 4 year-old son Jordan and wife Suzanne. Living half of the year in San Diego, Calif and the other half in Melbourne, Australia, he also finds time to play a little golf.