Flying across the country is a whole lot easier than it used to be. Today you can spend a few hundred bucks to get a non-stop flight from New York to San Francisco and you can get there in about 6 hours. Back in the twenties though that whole long-distance air travel thing was a lot more complicated. Even though great advances in aviation were made during that decade like Charles Lindburgh’s first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean and the advent of in-flight entertainment, flying was still quite new, dangerous, and lacked much of the infrastructure that airlines heavily rely on today.
The David Rumsey map collection has an incredible flight map of America from 1929 and it shows you how difficult it would be to cross our country as quickly as possible back then. A trip from New York to San Francisco back then would require several train rides over hundreds of miles and layovers at fourteen different airports. Even though back then there were planes like The Spirit of St. Louis that were able to fly over 3000 non-stop miles, those planes were only designed to hold one or two people. The earliest passenger planes of that era had to carry far more people and weight and therefore had a much shorter range. It really is amazing how quickly commercial aviation has advanced to the point where almost anyone can hop on a plane and cross a continent or an ocean in the course of a few hours. It is something that our ancestors would be quite envious of.
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