Great Moments in Travel History – October 2014

The Old Botanical Gardens in Munich, as seen from the Charles Hotel

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 October 2014
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The original Palmer House hotel, the first of three, burned to the ground on October 9 during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, just 13 days after its opening. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1875, and again in 1925. Today, it operates as the Palmer House – a Hilton Hotel.

William E. Boeing was born on October 1, 1888, in Detroit, Michigan.  He later went on to found the Boeing Airplane Company.

The Ritz Madrid hotel in Madrid, Spain opened its doors on October 2, 1910 in a ceremony led by King Alfonso XIII.  Personalities such as Ernest Hemingway, Ava Gardner, Michelle Pfeiffer, Madonna, and Duran have stayed at the hotel. The hotel is still operating today as a Ritz-Carlton property.

What is now the St. Regis hotel in Washington, D.C. opened its doors as the Carlton Hotel on October 1, 1926.  The name was changed to the St. Regis in 1999.  The property is located on K Street, just two blocks from the White House.

The first in-flight fire to take place on a passenger aircraft while in flight happened on October 2, 1926, when an Air Union Blériot 155 caught fire in mid-flight. Both crewmembers and all five passengers were killed in the accident.

The first-ever in-flight movies were two cartoon comedies shown on a Transcontinental Air Transport Ford Trimotor on October 8, 1929.

On October 6, 1929, Inter-Island Airways began service. The carrier was renamed Hawaiian Airlines on October 1, 1941.

The first proven act of air sabotage in the history of commercial aviation occurred on October 10, 1933, when an on-board explosive device went off in a Boeing 247 propliner headed from Cleveland to Chicago.  All seven people aboard perished in the crash.  Despite thorough investigation, no suspect has ever been identified or charged with the incident, and it remains unsolved to this day.

On October 30, 1942, the New Frontier Hotel and Casino opened in Las Vegas.  Originally called the Hotel Last Frontier, the property was the second resort to open on the Las Vegas strip. The property closed on July 16, 2007.

The B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat set a world non-stop, non-refueled distance record of 9,500 miles (15,288 kilometers) on a flight from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Cairo, Egypt on October 4, 1946.

The Sahara Hotel and Casino opened on the Las Vegas strip on October 7, 1952.  With 1,720 rooms, it was the last vintage casino-hotel from the 50s and served as an anchor at the northern end of the Strip.  It closed in 2011, and is currently undergoing renovations with a planned reopening as the SLS Las Vegas in late 2014.

On October 16, 1955, the Boeing Dash 80 flew non-stop from Seattle to Washington, D.C., and back.  The flight broke all transcontinental records for a commercial transport, at average speeds of 592 mph and 567 mph (952 km/h and 912 km/h).

One hundred and sixty four people lost their lives when an Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-62 crashed on approach to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on October 13, 1972. The incident is the second deadliest to occur on Russian soil.

On October 16, 1974, Pan Am and TWA announced plans to halt head-to-head competition on dozens of routes between the U.S. and points in Europe and Asia in an effort to reduce a large surplus of seats and help narrow losses for the two airlines.

Click here to continue to Page 2Douglas DC-9 Super 8, United Buys Pan Am Routes, and the Charles Opens in Munich

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