Great Moments in Travel History – May 2014

Excelsior Hotel Ernst in Cologne, Germany

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 May 2014
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On May 16, 1863, the Excelsior Hotel Ernst opened in Cologne, Germany.  The hotel celebrated its 150th anniversary last year.

The Chicago World’s Fair opened on May 1, 1893.  The fair transformed the landscape of the midwestern city and introduced the Ferris Wheel to the world.

The Palace Hotel Luzern in Luzern, Switzerland, opened its doors on May 7, 1906.  The luxury hotel is still in operation today.

Wilbur Wright died from typhoid fever at age 45 on May 30, 1912.  His brother Orville lived to be 76, passing away on January 30, 1948.

The Regent Palace Hotel opened on May 16, 1915 in London, England.  With 1,028 guestrooms, the hotel was the largest in Europe at the time in terms of number of rooms.  It was demolished in 2010.

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

On May 20, 1927, the Boeing Model 40A two-passenger mail plane made its first flight.  By June 15 of that year, 25 mail planes were ready to fly.

Ellen Church, a registered nurse, joined the crew of Boeing Air Transport’s Model 80A headed to San Francisco on May 15, 1930.  She was the first female flight attendant in history.  Boeing Air Transport was the predecessor of today’s United Airlines.

On May 11, 1934, the Douglas DC-2, a larger version of the DC-1, made its first flight.  The DC-2 had more powerful engines and able to seat two more passengers than its predecessor; 14 as compared to 12 on the DC-1.

On May 7, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered, effectively ending the Second World War.

Eastern Air Lines Flight 605 crashed on May 30, 1947, en route from Newark, New Jersey to Miami, Florida.  At the time, it was the deadliest aviation disaster in United States history with all 53 passengers and crew onboard the plane perishing in the crash.

On May 4, 1949, a plane carrying many players on Italy’s Torino A.C. football (soccer) team crashed near Turin, Italy.  All 31 passengers, including 18 team members, were killed in what was known as the Superga air disaster.

A Douglas DC-7C took off from Long Beach Municipal Airport in California on May 21, 1957, for a record trans-continental and trans-Atlantic flight that retraced part of the route flown by Charles Lindbergh in 1927.  The aircraft flew 6,148 miles (9,894 kilometers) to Paris in 21 hours and 52 minutes, 12 hours less than it took Lindbergh to fly 3,625 miles (5,833 kilometers) across the Atlantic.

On May 30, 1958, the Douglas DC-8 made its maiden flight.  The aircraft was the first of the DC line to be equipped with jet engines.  The four-engine jet set world records in speed, altitude, distance, and payload.

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 705 crashed on May 20, 1965, while attempting to land at Cairo International Airport in Egypt.  Although six passengers were thrown clear of the wreckage, the remaining 121 souls onboard the Boeing 720 died in the crash, making it the deadliest incident involving a 720 aircraft.

Click here to continue to Page 2The First Airbus, Dreamliner Ungrounded, and the last 717

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