100 years of commercial aviation – an annotated graphic

Believe it or not, humans have now been travelling hither and thither aboard commercial aeroplanes for 100 years. January 1st 1914 saw the inaugural flight of a passenger air service in Florida, USA, shuttling between the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa. The service used two seaplanes, ran for nearly four months in total and ferried an impressive total of 1,200 pioneering souls back and forth. No details about the in-flight meals are available.

More excitingly, in 1919 (so that’s 95 years ago), the first daily international passenger air service was launched, flying between London and Paris. We wondered if this was more or less impressive than the Florida service. Turns out: more so. The Florida service carried passengers across Old Tampa Bay (hence the seaplanes) over a distance of 23 miles, saving bored travellers the long boat ride across the Bay or an even longer drive around same. London to Paris, however, is a hefty 285 miles of air travel. Possibly the service was supported in the early years by surviving Englishmen who, having won the Great War fighting for years in God-forsaken hell-holes like the trenches of the Somme, wanted to go back in peacetime and see what those Gallic cheese-eating surrender monkeys on the continent were so keen to preserve.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

100th anniversary of commercial flights
100th anniversary of commercial flights

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