After a busy summer in the business of flight by those managing and operating aircraft throughout Europe, we got a little nostalgic about the whole idea of commercial and private flight and how it all started. So, just for fun we did a little research and identified what we think are 10 historical insights about how flight has evolved over the years.
- The world’s first scheduled commercial passenger flight took place in 1914 between Tampa and St. Petersburg Florida. You’ve got to wonder just how comfortable that flight really was.
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was in full operation in Europe by the 1920’s ferrying passengers to preferred destinations like Copenhagen, London and Paris. Demonstrating some real forward thinking they also employed the world’s first female pilot during this era.
- The interiors of aircraft during the early years were often modeled after a more familiar mode of travel – train cars. In old photos you’ll notice the very square interior designs decorated similarly to train cars as aerodynamic shape and style was still an emerging science.
- Then the DC-3 changed everything. Launched in 1935 this new aircraft had a more aerodynamic style delivering more passengers to their destinations faster and in greater comfort.
- The war years helped expand technology and in the mid 40’s Boeing introduced the first pressurized cabin ensuring passenger comfort at higher altitudes.
- The 1950’s and 60’s pushed air travel ahead of train travel with the introduction of the jet airliner and specialized services that included in flight fine dining and movies using a theatre projection system.
- At the end of the decade, in 1969 the Concorde made the first supersonic passenger flight but was soon faced challenges due to its high noise levels and expensive operation costs.
- The Boeing 747 set the stage for the next decade or more, moving more passenger in greater comfort than had ever been witnessed before. Due to passenger volume capabilities, airlines could offer less expensive tickets making flight an option to more people. Aircraft size continues to push the imagination with today’s Dreamliner class.
- As demand grew, more airlines entered the game offering everything from “no frills” flights to super elite cabin service for others. This was arguably a key moment that inspired the entrepreneurs who began to grow the private aviation industry. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s the divide between low cost carriers and high-end luxury flights grew, demonstrating the opportunities for private charters and ultimately ownership.
- We all know that after 2001 flight was forever changed putting an emphasis on security that has made the simple concept of getting on a flight a longer, more challenging process for travellers. This is another stimulus for how the business of flight has evolved with private ownership and charters that can dramatically shorten the process time and headaches of commercial flight while increasing the level of enjoyment and elite experience.
Okay, we admit we’ve left a lot of history out of this overview but hey, this is just a blog and we know you don’t have all day. These were simply a few of the interesting milestones that we thought you might find interesting.