Great Moments in Travel History – January 2015

London Heathrow from the air

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 January 2015
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Christopher Columbus concluded one of the first transatlantic business trips on January 15, 1493, when he began his return trip to Spain, after crossing the Atlantic westward in 1492.

On January 7, 1785, the English Channel was traversed by air for the first time, when Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries flew across the Channel from Dover, England, to a forest near Calais, France, in their hydrogen-filled balloon.

The Fairmont Hamilton Princess hotel opened on January 1, 1885, in Hamilton, Bermuda.  It is one of the largest hotels in Bermuda, and is the oldest property in the Fairmont chain.

On January 1, 1888, the Casa Monica hotel opened in St. Augustine, Florida.  The hotel is one of the oldest in the United States, and is part of the Historic Hotels of America National Trust.

The National Geographic Society was founded by a group that included explorers, geographers, cartographers, teachers, and scientists on January 27, 1888.  It was organized as “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”

On January 20, 1908, what is now the Fairmont Empress opened in Victoria, British Columbia.  The property has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada and was last renovated in 1989.

The first scheduled commercial airline flight took place on January 1, 1914, when pilot Tony Jannus flew the former mayor of St. Petersburg in a Benoist XIV biplane over Tampa Bay for the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line.  The flight lasted 23 minutes, cruising 50 feet (15 meters) above the waters of the bay.

The first ever airline uniforms, worn by Instone Air Line’s pilots and staff, were introduced on January 1, 1922.

The Biltmore Hotel opened its doors on January 14, 1926, in Coral Gables, Florida.  At the time, it was the tallest building in Florida, and at one time had the world’s largest pool.

American Airlines was founded on January 25, 1930, as American Airways.

Amelia Earhart became the first woman pilot to fly solo between Hawaii and the United States on January 11, 1935, when she flew her Lockheed Vega from Wheeler Field in Honolulu across the eastern Pacific to Oakland, California, in 18 hours and 15 minutes.

On January 9, 1945, a C-97 Stratofreighter set a transcontinental record when it flew 2,323 miles (3,738 km) from Seattle to Washington, D.C., in six hours and four minutes. The aircraft covered the distance at an average speed of 383 mph (616 km/h).

The first commercial flight to depart London’s Heathrow Airport took place on January 1, 1946.

Click here to continue to Page 2Trijets, Eastern Airlines, and Larger Jumbo Jets

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