Travel: Time for a Diplomat

Since 1946, when the International Air Transport Association was set up by the Western world's major airlines, the organization has been headed by Britain's Sir William ("Dick") Hildred, now 72. Under Hildred, IATA has set standards for everything from meals to airplane-seat sizes. From his headquarters in Montreal, Hildred has long courted controversy, and both friend and enemy agreed that above all he was a fare man.

Sir William claims that IATA has, under his management, reduced international fares. His critics insist that fares would be even lower, were it not for IATA-recommended rates....