The history of air travel is very interesting because as a relatively new industry, much has happened in such a short period of time. Once air travel became commercial, more and more people were given access and there was an increase in trade and business in the field. Tourism was one area which was hugely impacted by this growth and has now become one of the largest industries in the world. This in turn has changed the way people see the world which has become increasingly more available for the average consumer to enjoy. Let’s take a look at how this world evolved.
The very first airline was the Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft (DELAG) airline, which was started in 1909. The first passenger flight, though, was not until 1914. A few years later came the first passenger flight by a fixed wing passenger airline, that was in July 1919. The plane was an Aircraft Transport and Travel that flew across the British channel. The same company, in 1919, then designed and flew planes known as DH16s from London to France, essentially becoming the first international airline in the world. Although the plane could only carry a few passengers, it was the start of air travel for passengers.
The Deutsche Luft-Reederei was developed by Germany and was able to offer flights over a longer distance of up to 1000 miles. In 1921 the Dutch airline KLM was formed, and it still exists today under the same name and is one of the oldest airlines in the world.
The Russians also helped to develop an airline in conjunction with the Germans which became known as Aeroflot. In the United States the first passenger airline did not emerge until 1925 and subsequently the only two airlines in America to become successful and do international flights were Northwest Airways and Pan Am (Pan American World Airways). At this time these first passenger airlines were primarily concerned with passenger comfort rather than with the efficiency and speed of the actual plane.
In 1924 an early British airline was formed from the merging of several smaller airline companies. This airline became known as Imperial Airways and by 1926 commercial flights were being offered over a longer distance such as flights from the UK to Cape Town, South Africa. This was a huge success in the industry. Over the years more and more airlines were able to offer long distance flights that carried passengers and mail to various parts of the world.
Bigger airlines were developing and by the 1950s the Boeing 707 and DC10 planes were being manufactured. At the end of the 1950s these new aircrafts were bringing mass transit to many people and airlines were now being designed more for speed and efficiency than individual passenger comfort. Jet engines replaced the old piston engine of the past. Flying became commonplace and more and more people were exposed to this experience.
Modern Day Travel
However, to place more people into the plane meant to decrease the comfort for individual passengers. This trend has continued to this day with many lower fare budget airlines arriving on the travel scene. Passengers naturally found travel less comfortable and more people suffered from jet lag from crossing several time zones. Countries in which the airline industry has been deregulated show more competition which helps the customer in the end especially as air travel is now a necessary part of life for many people.