This Week In Business Travel History – 12 February 2012

By Daniel Berkowitz on 13 February 2012
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An unusual business trip took place in 1633 as Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei traveled to Rome to face charges of heresy for asserting that the earth revolves around the sun. Galileo was also born this week in 1564.

Construction was started on the 101-mile-long Suez Canal in 1859. Ten years later, the task was completed. While construction was still going on, the first ship passed through the canal in February of 1867.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray separately applied for a patent for the telephone. The Supreme Court would eventually rule that Bell was the official inventor.

For those who take fresh fruit seriously, regardless of the season, it’s important to note that, in 1889, the first trainload of fruit was shipped across the country.

Construction on the New York City subway system started in 1900, but it was not until February 1909 that the first subway car with side doors became operational.

Airmail, the predecessor of overnight delivery, was first carried by an aircraft in 1911.  Henri Pequet flew 6,500 letters from Allahabad to Naini Junction, India, a five-mile trip.

In 1912, the first aerial footage of New York City was filmed (see video at the end of this article).

The first flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco took place in 1914.

In the early 1930s, only one in 50 Germans could afford a car. With the goal of having three to four million cars in Germany, Adolf Hitler announced the production of  a “people’s car” or Volkswagen in February of 1936.

The one-millionth vehicle passed through New York City’s Midtown Tunnel in early 1941. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had addressed the crowd at the 1936 groundbreaking ceremony (pictured above), and the tunnel had opened in 1940.

If your transcon flight seems to be taking more time, consider this: the transcontinental speed record was set in 1960, when a Delta Air Lines Convair 880 flew from San Diego to Miami in three hours and 31 minutes.

In 1961, Sabena Flight 548, a Boeing 707-300 en route to Brussels, Belgium from Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport) in New York, crashed on approach.  All 72 people on board were killed, including the entire United States Figure Skating Team.

1968 saw the arrival of Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison in India to study Transcendental Meditation (Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr joined them later). A highly publicized trip, it was originally planned for the summer of 1967, but was postponed after the death of Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager.

In 1988, Asiana Airlines was formed in Seoul, South Korea.

The Boeing 747, the world’s first jumbo jet, made its first flight in 1969. Seating 347 people, the 747 ushered in a new age of aviation.

In 2002, the newly-formed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) took over airport security duties from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  In 2006, the TSA reported it had intercepted 13,709,211 “prohibited items” at security checkpoints.  Of these, 11,616,249 were cigarette lighters.

Concluding our look back for the week, Kobe Airport, built on a man-made island near Kobe, Japan, opened in 2006.


(Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

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