By the 1930's the technology needed to make a modern airlines existed, but what didn't exist was a economical incentive. The airmail carriers were paid by the government according to how much cargo they carried. It therefore it was not economical to carry passengers because people need more room than packages to stay comfortable.
In 1930 the government saw the need to have an airline system so they passed the McNary-Watres Act. This act changed the way the airmail carriers were paid, instead of getting money for every pound they shipped they got money for how much cargo they could carry. Then they also received a bonus for multiple engine airplanes. This Act caused the airline industry to boom.
In 1932 Boeing Aircraft in Seattle Washington unveiled the 247 (below), a low wing, all metal aircraft which cruised at 189 miles per hour. This airplane was purchased by United Airlines as their main passenger airplane, it held ten passengers, 400 pounds of mail, and was able to fly from New York to San Francisco in the same day. In 1933 Douglas Aircraft in California produced an airplane that was better than the 247, the DC-2, then a few years later the DC-3 was produced.
The DC-3 (left) is one of the most successful aircraft ever built. It was able to hold 24 passengers, 5,000 pounds of cargo, and fly 1,200 miles non-stop. By 1938 DC-3s carried 90% of all commercial traffic. The airlines bought 455 DC-3s from 1938 until the beginning of World War II then the US Government purchased 10,000 more for carrying cargo and dropping paratroopers.
Regular air routes were now in place and an average citizen could afford to fly across the US for a vacation. Travel time for long trips dropped from as much as three days to only hours. International flights were also possible, Pan American airways flew large flying boats such as the Martin 130 called the China Clipper (pictured above). Pan American was the first commercial airline to cross both the pacific and Atlantic oceans.
For better or for worse, since the the advent of
international travel, the world has seemed to be a much smaller
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