Great Moments in Travel History – May 2012

By Paul Riegler on 1 May 2012
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In 1893, numerous visitors flocked to Chicago for the 1893 World’s Fair, which introduced the Ferris Wheel, among other curiosities, to the world.

The beginnings of international air travel were discussed as an international conference on aerial navigation opened in Paris on May 18, 1910.

On May 9, 1917, William Boeing changed the name of his company, Pacific Aero Products, to the Boeing Airplane Co.  The name stuck.

The Douglas DC-2, a larger version of the DC-1, made its first flight on May 11, 1934.

Western Air Express took its first two passengers for a ride on May 23, 1926. The flight was between Salt lake City and Los Angeles and the fare was $90.  Adjusted for inflation, that same ticket today would cost $1,134.66.

Boeing’s Model 40A two-passenger mail plane made its first flight on May 20, 1927.  By June 15, 25 mail planes were in service.

On May 15, 1930, Ellen Church, the first female flight attendant, a registered nurse, worked a Boeing Air Transit (predecessor to United Airlines) flight on a Boeing Model 80A.  Church originally wanted Boeing  to hire her as a pilot but when she was turned down, she suggested that the airline hire nurses to calm passengers’ fear of flight.

Singapore Airlines was founded on May 1, 1947 with the incorporation of Malayan Airways Limited by the Ocean Steampship Company of Liverpool,  the Straits Steamship Company of Singapore, and Imperial Airways.  The airline’s first flight was between British Straits Settlement of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

On May 2, 1952, the world’s first regularly scheduled jetliner service commenced with a BOAC flight from London to Johannesburg operating a de Havilland DH.108 Comet.

The Douglas DC-7 made its first flight on May 18, 1953.  On May 21, 1957, a Douglas DC-7C retraced part of the route flown by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 in a record transatlantic flight from Long Beach (California) Municipal Airport to Paris.  It took the DC-7C 21 hours and 52 minutes to fly 6,148 miles – 12 hours less than Lindbergh’s far shorter 3,625 mile-flight across the Atlantic.

On May 30, 1958, the jet age came to Douglas with the first flight of the DC-8.

Thai Airways was founded on May 1, 1960 as a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines System and Thai Airways Company.  The airlines first flights were to nine Asian destinations from Bangkok.

Alan Shepard became the first man in space on May 5, 1961 with the first suborbital flight of a manned Mercury spacecraft.

Click here to continue to Page 2The first Airbus, a 747SP speed record, American launches AAdvantage, and the first Boeing 777

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