The First Transatlantic Flight

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When Charles Lindbergh made the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight, it marked a significant moment in travel history and forever changed the tourism industry.

Charles A. Lindbergh is credited with making the first solo, nonstop, transatlantic flight, when he flew the Ryan NYP “Spirit of St. Louis” from Roosevelt Field, New York to Paris, France. This accomplishment not only catapulted Lindbergh into instant celebrity, but it was an event that would define the future of air travel. Lindbergh made his journey across the Atlantic during a time when aviation was still thought of as some crazy idea, just something that would never exist beyond trials and imagination. Although flights had been made prior to Lindbergh’s famous transatlantic journey, the true significance, potential uses, and connections air travel could provide were not understood by the majority of people. Charles Lindbergh’s flight is not only significant to the history of air travel, but it is significant to the history of tourism.

Lindbergh’s First Transatlantic Flight & Its Impact on Travel and Tourism

Charles A. Lindbergh did not just open a passageway to Europe; he opened up the hopes and interests of people who never thought they would see beyond their continental boundaries. His flight opened up possibilities. Prior to Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, it seemed travel was confined to the ground or the sea; and even cars and wagons were blocked by waterways or treacherous terrain, and boats exposed to rough seas. Travel had boundaries prior to Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic, but after his flight people could see beyond those boundaries.

Charles Lindbergh is the subject of the article, “Air Travel: Its Impact on the Way We Live and the Way We See Ourselves,” by James Kruggel. The article defines the social history of air travel; how Lindbergh’s feat and the accomplishments he made paved the way for change, how we live, how we see ourselves, and how we view the world around us. Kruggel closes his essay with the following, which speaks volumes of Lindbergh’s impact on tourism:

“Like the interstate highway system, airline travel has shrunk America’s vast distances.

Giant resorts such as Disney World in Orlando, and casinos in Las Vegas, teem with millions of visitors flown from hundreds, often thousands, of miles away. Air travel may no longer inspire, but it connects Americans of all economic means with their loved ones, with business partners, with customers, and vacations. Along with highways, the Internet, and cable and satellite television, widely available air travel has helped connect Americans with the world outside of their own communities. And perhaps it has helped its citizens see themselves as members of a much larger world, with greater control over their destinies, than was possible for most people only 100 years ago”

(Centennialofflight)

The Lindbergh Boom

Following Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 flight was what was known as the “Lindbergh Boom.” This was a time when aircraft industry stocks soared and interest in flight was astronomical. After Lindbergh returned from Paris, he toured the United States in the “Spirit of St. Louis.” This solidified the initial excitement of Americans; people were not just excited about Lindbergh’s flight, but they realized that the airplane was safe and could be the future of transportation. Although flight was still quite expensive for most, it was the interest that Lindbergh created that fueled milestone after milestone in flight history until flight became an accessible mode of transportation for everyone.

The first transatlantic flight by Charles Lindbergh marks a truly significant moment in travel history. Charles Lindbergh proved that airplanes and air travel were safe, and that what was only was imagined was possible in reality. Charles Lindbergh created the boom that would establish air travel as a popular and preferred method of travel. Charles Lindbergh’s accomplishment connected people and cultures.

Sources:

  1. Kruggel, James. “Air Travel: Its impact on the Way We Live and the Way We See Ourselves.” Copyright U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.
  2. Lindbergh, Reeve. “Charles Lindbergh.” Time. June 14, 1999. Copyright 2003 Time, Inc.
  3. Smithsonian. “Spirit of St. Louis – Milestones of Flight.” Copyright National Air and Space Museum.