Browsing Tag: History

The first Boeing plane at their first assembly building, on Seattle's Lake Union. Picture from Boeing.

The first Boeing plane at their first assembly building, on Seattle's Lake Union. Picture from Boeing.

94 years ago today, the Pacific Aero Products Co was founded by William E Boeing in Seattle, WA and it has been an amazing ride since! Some key moments in their history:

1917: The company was renamed to the Boeing Airplane Company.

1927: Boeing started their own airline called Boeing Air Transport.

1933: Due to new regulations, Boeing was split into three companies: United Airlines, United Aircraft Corporation and the Boeing Airplane Company. This is the year that William Boeing also left Boeing.

1938: The first flight of the Boeing 314 Clipper.

1944: Due to the war over 350 aircraft were being built each month.

1957: The Boeing 707 has its first flight.

1960: Boeing purchased Vertol Aircraft Company which got them into the business of helicopters.

1963: The amazing Boeing 727 takes off for the first time.

1967: Just four years after the 727 has its first flight, the Boeing 737 takes to the sky.

1969: The first wide-bodied airliner, the Boeing 747, has its first flight and changes airline transportation forever.

1971: Funding for the Boeing 2707, the supersonic airliner, was cut.

1981: The first wide-bodied, twinjet airliner, the Boeing 767 has its first flight.

1982: The Boeing 757 has its first flight.

1994: The Boeing 777 successfully has its first flight.

1996: Boeing merges with McDonnell Douglas.

1998: The Boeing 717, which started life as the MD-95, has its first flight.

2001: Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago.

2009: The much anticipated Boeing 787 Dreamliner has its first flight.

To read more about Boeing’s history, be sure to check out their huge history section on their website.

An aerial photo of Atlanta International Airport in the 1930s.

An aerial photo of Atlanta International Airport in the 1930s.

On this date in 1930, Delta Air Lines started service with a Travel Air S-6000-B with five passengers to Atlanta International Airport (ATL) from Birmingham, Alabama. At the time, the ticket would only cost your $9.80 (which is about $150 in today’s dollars). Delta moved their headquarters to Atlanta in 1941 and has been there since. During their time in Atlanta, they have met a lot of milestones:

* Early pioneer of the hub-and-spoke air traffic system, starting in Atlanta.
* First jet service in Atlanta (to New York on September 18, 1959).* First service to Europe from Atlanta in 1964, in interchange operations with Pan Am. (Pan Am crews flew the international segments).
* First nonstop service from Atlanta to California (1961).
* First nonstop trans-Atlantic service from Atlanta (to London-Gatwick in April 1978).
* First airline in the world to board one million passengers in one city in one month (in Atlanta in August 1979).
* First airline to board 2 million passengers in one city in one month (in Atlanta in 1997).
* First commercial flight to land on the new fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, hailed as ’œThe Most Important Runway in America’ when it opened (May 27, 2006).

Spending 80 years flying passengers around the world from Atlanta is pretty impressive. When flying into  Atlanta, it is quite obvious the impact that Delta has there. Cheers to another 80+ years of Delta flying out of Atlanta!

Interesting Stuff:
* Photo of the “Fly Delta Jets” sign I took last time I was in Atlanta
* Review of Delta flight from ATL to SEA
* Additional Travel Air photos
* Photos of ATL through the years

Source: Delta Air Lines Blog Image: ATL airport Flickr

This is a very entertaining 21 minute video I found via Some might watch this and think “the good old days of flying,” but I disagree. Yes, they have limos and all first class service, but notice how only the very rich were flying? Also, first class accommodations back in 1933 are not what they would be like today. No fold down seats, no in flight entertainment and much noisier. Not to mention the shows it takes about six hours to get from Chicago to New York with all the stops, unlike the short flight it would take today.

Don’t forget the safety! The video talks about the high end safety that American Airways had back in the 1930’s, but the safety record is nothing like it is today. Yea, we might have to pay for a lot of fees, but I much rather fly in a full Boeing 737 from Chicago to New York with peanuts than in a bi-winged Curtis Condor any day. (Well, ok…if I got an opportunity to ride in one today, I would but just for the fun of it).

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Braniff International knew how to do it right!

Braniff International knew how to do it right!

My mom (Jennifer Brown) loves to support my blogging efforts, but she isn’t the biggest fan of aviation (well she LOVES birds, but that is a whole other story). A lot of our conversations about airlines comes back to how everything was different when she was younger and that “my generation just doesn’t understand.” She is kind of right. Sure I can read the history books and look at the old video and pictures, but it is not the same as being there. She has written for the blog before and I invited her to talk a little bit about her experience with flying. Here is her story:

My first flight was in 1962. I was 14 years old and my family was flying from Denver to Indianapolis via Chicago. But that flight was not my first experience with flying. My dad was a businessman who had to fly often. The rest of my family would take him to the airport and that was an adventure in itself. Back then in the late 50’s and 60’s, you never just dropped someone off at the airport. Of course there was no security. So we would all go in with him, walk to the gate, watch him walk across the tarmac to the plane (no jet tunnels back then). We would watch him climb the stairs to the plane, waving madly. Then after he was on board, we would hope he’d have a seat on the terminal side of the plane so we could wave some more. You never left the gate until the plane was in the air and a mere dot in the sky. Often we would have dinner at the airport-a true family outing.

Those trips to the airport made me long to fly! How exciting it would be! However, back then flying was rare for middle-income families. It was mainly for business or the rich or emergencies. In fact when I took take my first flight in 1962, it was to be with family at Christmas because my mother had died.

During the 60’s and 70’s, I probably did fly more than most people for various reasons. And now that I can look back on that time and compare it to now, I have noticed some differences.

One difference was that there were not many choices. If you wanted to fly from point A to Point B, there were usually only one or maybe two airlines to choose from. There were also fewer flights. People were also loyal to airlines. If you wanted to book a ticket, you had to go through a travel agent or sometimes actually go to the airport to pick up your ticket. Airlines didn’t have 1-800 numbers and of course no Internet to check for deals. There were no deals.

The first deal I ever remember was in the late 60’s. I think it was Frontier Airlines who had a half-fare stand-by for students. At the time, my sister and I were in college in Colorado and would fly to St. Louis where our dad lived. It was perfect for us, so we used to race down to the Denver airport, hoping we’d get on. Otherwise, we’d have to drive across the plains. I used to count the windows of the plane, multiply by four, and then count the people at the gate to figure out if we’d make it. We always did!

Flying was an event-not just a way to get to a destination. People who flew dressed up-no jeans or T-shirts. I still cannot wear jeans when I fly. The stewardesses [Gosh mom they like to be called “flight attendants” now 🙂 -David] were all young and pretty. It was a high status job and many young girls aspired to being one. The food service had real food on real plates and silverware and was included in the fare.

I know there have been a lot of changes to flying since then. I think most of the changes started in the 80’s when deregulation of the airlines began, but I’m not an expert.

I think we all know what it’s like to fly now. To me flying is no longer an adventure but an ordeal. I think that passengers nowadays are driven more by the price of the flight instead of the ’œexperience’. And the consumer usually gets what they pay for.

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Image: The Braniff Pages
It looks mighty cold out there!

It looks mighty cold out there!

The Library of Congress shows that Matthew Henson was the first person to reach the North Pole on April 6, 1909. It took him eight attempts to finally make it to the North Pole. The journey was difficult and I bet he never imagined that a little over 100 years later an airline could have flown over the North Pole region 10,000 times. United Airlines flight 898 from Beijing to Washington, DC marks their 10,000th polar flight.

Today in the Sky points out that United Airlines has quite a few daily flights on four polar routes: Chicago-O’Hare Beijing; Chicago O’Hare-Shanghai; Chicago O’Hare-Hong Kong; and Washington Dulles-Beijing. The routes and flights didn’t come easy. In 1999 with the combination of better technology and better cooperation from Russia, UA were able to start the first of these first flight in Jan 1999 from Chicago to Hong Kong.

Polar flights are able to save time, fuel and money. Currently United Airlines only flies about 20% of the polar flights worldwide.

Image: hundun