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Thursday, 28 July 2011


The first scheduled commercial airline flight was on January 1, 1914 across Florida Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa.

The Lignes Aériennes Farman (Farman airlines) was created on February 8, 1919. It cost 365 French francs in 1919 to fly with them between Paris and Brussels. Flights took two hours and 50 minutes to cover the 164-mile distance, compared with just 20 minutes today.

The world’s oldest existing airline, KLM of the Netherlands was established on October 6, 1919.

The first daily international air service began in 1919 with flights from London to Paris by Handley Page.

The London-Paris service also introduced in 1919 the first airline meals. They were lunchboxes costing three shillings (approximately two dimes) each.

The first Transcontinental mail service using aircraft was established in North America in 1920.

Qantas, Australia's national airline, was founded as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited on November 16, 1920.

In 1922, Pitcairn Airlines was the first to provide air sickness bags.

Varney Air Lines started service on April 6, 1926 as an air-mail carrier. Formed by Walter Varney, the airline was based in Boise, Idaho, United States. The airline is the root company of United Airlines.

Swallow J-5 built 1924 with markings of CAM 5 as operated by Varney Airlines. By RuthAS - Wikipedia Commons

The intercontinental airline service made its debut in 1927. The flight, by Imperial Airways, was from London to Cairo.

Inter-Island Airways, the forerunner of the airline which is now known as Hawaiian Airlines, was incorporated on January 30, 1929. It is the oldest US carrier that has never had a fatal accident or a hull loss throughout its history.

In 1930 Charles Townsend Ludington, his brother and two other executives formed Ludington Airline, the first every-hour-on-the-hour air service. It was also the first airline that carried passengers only and was not supported by government revenue from air mail service contracts that all other airlines depended on.

Air India, the flag carrier airline of India, began operations under the name Tata Airlines on October 15, 1932. The airline was founded by J. R. D. Tata and Tata himself flew its first single-engine de Havilland Puss Moth, carrying air mail from Karachi to Bombay's Juhu aerodrome and later continuing to Madras (currently Chennai).

Vintage photograph of an Air India plane

Pan American Clipper flights served the first hot meals to passengers in 1935.

The first commercial flight across the Pacific was made by a Pan-American Boeing 314 on April 28, 1937.

The first commercial around-the-world airline flight took place in 1942. Pan American World Airways was the company credited with the historic feat. 

Seven years later, on January 6, 1947,  Pan American Airlines became the first commercial airline to offer a round-the-world ticket.

On October 17, 1949, Northwest Airlines became the first airline in the United States to serve alcoholic beverages during a flight.

Northwest Airlines Boeing 727-251 at Miami Airport in February 1971

The first scheduled jet airliner passenger service began in May 1952 with a BOAC Comet flying between London and Johannesburg, carrying 36 passengers.

BOAC introduced the first transatlantic jet airline service in 1958 taking more than six hours between London and New York at a cost of £280.

Also in 1948 the first internal passenger jet flight took place in the U.S. as a National Airlines Boeing 707 flew 111 passengers from New York to Miami in about two and a-half hours.

On December 1, 2001 Captain Bill Compton brought Trans World Airlines Flight 220, an MD-83, into St. Louis International Airport bringing to an end 76 years of TWA operations following TWA's purchase by American Airlines.

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