The pandemic affected everyone and all areas of our lives. Not only personal lives were affected, but businesses and employee’s lives were affected drastically during the pandemic that turned our world upside down. If the last time that you stepped foot on a plane was before the pandemic, then you’re not alone. Since 2019, statistics show that air travel is down by 85%. With the fear of close quarters and the virus spreading it’s no wonder that people feared being in a plane with one another for hours at a time.
2020 not only did air travel drop in statistics, but it also saw a variety of new travel for aviation that we haven’t seen before. Since 1920 when planes first become available for passengers, we’ve seen aviation change the world in ways we never thought possible before. But when COVID-19 came and changed lives, aviation changed just as much as the rest of the world. We saw masks being implemented for flights, seats being blocked off for social distancing, and border closures complicating flights.
Although these changes may seem drastic, it’s nothing compared to all the fluctuations that aviation has gone through since passengers first stepped foot on flights. In fact, these fluctuations are just the most recent developments in a very long history of changes in aviation that have altered how passengers reach destinations through air travel. Although many people are aware of air travel and recent developments with it, few know the history of how aviation came around and just how far it’s come.
If you’re one of these people, we’ll walk you through the last 100 years of aviation and how it’s changed the world.
The 1920s marked the start of a decade when aircraft was designed with passengers in mind for them to fly. Planes looked far different back than they do now, with flying not being nearly as luxurious as it is today. The first plane rides were bumpy, uncomfortable, and far from smooth for passengers.
1936 marked the first time that United Airlines created the first airline kitchen. Until the 1950s, there was no economic class. All passengers received the same luxury treatment; meals, magazines, and quality seats were provided with all flights, a luxury now that would require you to pay for a first-class seat.
In 1941 live in-flight entertainment was introduced as a new feature on flights. On some flights, passengers would even get to experience live actors and singers performing on the flight. Nowadays it’s more common to see passengers using their electronics to stay entertained during their flight, but back in the 40s, it was a different case on flights.
During this time Pan American Airways also began offering frozen dinners to passengers. Advancements in flashing freezing technology allowed for the stewardess to warm up the frozen dinners with conventional ovens before they would bring them out and serve them to passengers.
Towards the end of the decade, in 1948, Capital Airlines created the first coach fares for passengers. Before this, all flights were priced the same, but this allowed an entirely new set of passengers to experience air travel. This allowed for a wider group of people to purchase flights.
1971 marked a significant time when Buffer Airlines added technology to their flights for the first time. Passengers were offered the option of playing Pong while onboard their flight, marking the first use of video games on a flight. This was a critical movement for airlines and began a new start to entertainment for passengers on board.
Yet another crucial moment in the history of aviation was when Southwest Airlines offered their first e-tickets or electronic tickets to passengers in 1994. The goal with e-tickets, besides keeping up with the world of ever-changing and advancing technology was to eliminate the complications of paper tickets getting lost or stolen.
Passengers faced new security mandates after a plot to place liquid explosives was uncovered in 2006. New security mandates strictly enforced rules on liquids that passengers could carry on flights and the quantity that passengers could bring on flights with them on their carry-on.
In 2012, Delta announced a lower-cost fare cost for passengers that was known as the basic economy. These flights included less than any other, including little to no baggage, no advance seat assignments, and had many other restrictions to them. This was an important part of aviation changing from what it had always been and to the advancements that were being made.
Although we know how aviation has changed through the decades, do we really know the big changes that have happened over time? There are many rules and methods put in place with flights today that didn’t exist back when aviation first began. Aviation has changed and all these changes aren’t obvious at first. Now that we’ve learned exactly when it changed and what’s happened throughout the decades, let’s take a look at the huge changes in comparison to what aviation looks like today.
More than eight million people use air travel every day. That’s a lot of people that are choosing planes as their first choice of travel each day. Although aviation used to be a popular travel choice, there was a point where travel was viewed as a luxury only reserved for the wealthy. Today, everyone flies and chooses it as a form of travel.
A large part of why flying was viewed as a luxury for the wealthy was due to the pricing of flying. Tickets weren’t nearly as affordable as they are today and those that weren’t part of the upper class couldn’t afford to fly. Now airlines are much more affordable for everyone, making it so that all can fly.
If you’ve ever been on a flight, then you already know that airlines are very strict about a no smoking policy when passengers are on board. But, once upon a time, airlines had no restrictions when it came to smoking. You could easily light a cigarette if you wanted to on your flight.
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