1st commercial flight, other fun facts on aviation history

National History
A stewardess prepares a lavish meal on a plane in the 1960s. (Image courtesy of the Cradle of Aviation Museum)

The first scheduled passenger flight was in 1914 from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Tampa – a distance of just 17 miles. In 1930 around 6,000 passengers flew, an amount that increased to half a million in 1934.

Pan Am introduced the Boeing 307s in the late 1940s, the first planes with pressurized cabins. Air traffic surged in the 1950s and 60s, and competing airlines introduced perks like gourmet meals and fine wines. Budget airlines were introduced, leading to lower airfares and increased air travel.

In 2022, 853 million passengers flew on U.S. airlines, down from a high of 928 million in 2019.

– Staff report, The Travel 100