Commercial air travel is 100 years old—and it’s only poised to keep growing in the future
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On Jan. 1, 1914, a flyer named Tony Jannus sat in the pilot’s seat of a biplane capable of taking off and landing on water. Next to him was Abram Pheil, the former mayor of the Florida city of St. Petersburg. Pheil had won an auction with a $400 bid to become the first paying passenger on the 23-minute flight across Tampa Bay. In doing so, Pheil became the world’s first commercial-aviation passenger, inaugurating an industry that has done more than any other to make the world smaller.
I was surprised to learn earlier this year that people had been paying to fly for a hundred years.