Great Moments in Travel History – June 2020

Statue of a business traveler at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 June 2020
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June, the month with the most daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere, is the sixth month of the year, and is equivalent to December in the Southern Hemisphere. The start of meteorological summer, June derives its name from the Latin name for the Junius, which in turn comes from the ancient Roman goddess Juno, wife of Saturn and protector and special counselor of the state.

The month of June includes the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year. Midsummeris observed in European countries from Austria to Norway to the United Kingdom.  Observances in many countries include the lighting of bonfires, feasting, and merrymaking.  In Austria, the celebration includes a spectacular procession of ships down the Danube River in the Wachau Valley.

Otherholidays and festivals that take place in the month are the Queen’s Official Birthday in Commonwealth nations, Flag Day in the United States, and Father’s Day in many countries. It is also the month in which Gay Pride celebrations take place in many countries, most with large and colorful parades and events.

Here’s what happened in Junes past.

The Grand Hôtel opened on June 14, 1874 in Stockholm. It was reportedly the first hotel in Europe to change sheets on the bed for new guests. Today it continues with that practice and has 300 guest rooms and 31 suites.

On June 23, 1905, the Wright Flyer III, piloted by Orville Wright, made its first flight. The Flyer was the third powered aircraft the Wright brothers built and with the modifications they made, it achieved substantially greater performance than the previous models. They continued their efforts with the aircraft at Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The Hotel Utah opened its doors in downtown Salt Lake City on June 9, 1911. It remained open for 76 years, hosting such notable figures as U.S. presidents William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Warren G. Harding.

On June 15, 1915, the Lausanne Palace hotel opened in Lausanne, Switzerland. The elegant hotel has welcomed such famed guests as Queen Elizabeth II of England, Rita Hayworth, the Shah of Iran, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Marilyn Monroe, the Rolling Stones, and Audrey Hepburn.

William Boeing took Bluebill, a single-engine seaplane and the first B & W aircraft, on its maiden flight on June 15, 1916. B & W was the company name chosen by Boeing and his partner, Navy Lieutenant Conrad Westervelt.

The first non-stop flight from the continental United States to Hawaii took off on June 28, 1927. The military flight, which departed from Oakland, California, lasted 25 hours and 30 minutes, and was piloted by Lt. Lester Maitland and Albert Hangenberger.

On June 30, 1927, Boeing Air Transport, a predecessor of United Airlines, was founded to operate mail routes for the U.S. post office.

Captain Frank Hawks broke the west-to-east transcontinental speed record on June 2, 1933, flying a Northrop Gamma 2A aircraft from Los Angeles to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn in 13 hours, 26 minutes, and 15 seconds.

The Battle of Midway, which turned out to be a crucial victory for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during WWII, began on the morning of June 3, 1942.

Sixty-one people perished on June 5, 1946, when fire swept through Chicago’s historic LaSalle Hotel. An additional 200 suffered injuries from smoke inhalation. When the hotel opened in 1909, it had advertised itself as being the “largest, safest and most modern hotel west of New York City,” and was host to such prominent guests as presidents William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge.

On June 26, 1946, the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy officially adopted the terms “knot” and “nautical mile” as the standard units for aeronautical speed and distance. A nautical mile is 6,076 feet (1,852 meters), and a knot is defined as one nautical mile per hour and is approximately 1.151 statute miles per hour.

The first international flight out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport took place on June 3, 1956, with an Eastern Airlines flight to Montreal, Canada.

On June 30, 1956, a United Airlines Douglas DC-7 collided with a Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation over the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was the first commercial airline disaster to result in over 100 fatalities – there were 128 casualties, with no survivors on either plane. In April 2014, the crash site was designated a National Historic Landmark.

United Airlines merged with Capital Airlines on June 1, 1961, becoming the world’s second largest airline after the USSR’s Aeroflot and thereby displacing American Airlines from the number two slot.

On June 26, 1963, Hilton Hotels’ founder Conrad Hilton officiated over the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the New York Hilton Midtown, the largest hotel in Manhattan. Today, the structure is the world’s 101st tallest hotel.

Astronaut Ed White became the first American to walk in space on June 3, 1965, during the four-day Gemini 4 mission.

The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel opened in Los Angeles on June 1, 1966. The hotel has seen famous guests such as Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavian revolutionary and president; Moshe Dayan, Israeli Minister of Defense; Prince Phillip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II; and David Ben-Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel.air

The Washington Plaza Hotel opened on June 29, 1969. Still open today, the property was the first luxury hotel to open in downtown Seattle since 1929, and was called one of Seattle’s seven wonders, along with Woodland Park Zoo, the Monorail, Pike Place Market, and the Space Needle.

The 1973 Paris Air Show crash took place on June 3, 1979. Fourteen people died when a Tupolev Tu-144, a supersonic (SST) passenger jet referred to as the Konkordski (for its resemblance to the Anglo-French Concorde) crashed at the show.

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