When was the first commercial flight from US to Europe?

Answered by Frank Schwing

The first commercial flight from the United States to Europe took place on June 28, 1939. This historic journey marked the beginning of transatlantic passenger service, setting a milestone in aviation history. Pan American Airways, an American airline known for its pioneering efforts in long-distance air travel, was the company responsible for this groundbreaking achievement.

Prior to 1939, air travel across the Atlantic Ocean was limited to mail and cargo transportation. However, with advancements in aircraft technology and the growing demand for international travel, Pan American saw an opportunity to offer passenger flights between the United States and Europe.

On that fateful day in June, Pan American launched its inaugural transatlantic passenger service, departing from New York and arriving in Marseilles, France. This groundbreaking journey not only connected two continents but also opened up a new era of global travel.

The success of the initial flight prompted Pan American to expand its transatlantic passenger service. Just ten days later, on July 8, 1939, the airline inaugurated another route, this time between New York and Southampton, England. These flights provided travelers with a direct link between the United States and Europe, eliminating the need for lengthy and often arduous sea voyages.

Passengers who wished to embark on this transatlantic journey had to purchase a one-way ticket costing $375. Adjusted for inflation, this would be equivalent to around $7,000 in today’s currency. While this may seem expensive, it was a small price to pay for the convenience and time-saving benefits of air travel.

The introduction of commercial transatlantic flights revolutionized international travel, making it accessible to a wider range of people. Previously, crossing the Atlantic was a lengthy and often uncomfortable experience, typically undertaken by ocean liners. With the advent of transatlantic passenger flights, travel times were significantly reduced, and passengers could enjoy a more comfortable and efficient journey.

The success of Pan American’s transatlantic passenger service paved the way for other airlines to enter the market, leading to increased competition and further advancements in aviation technology. Over the years, air travel has become a common mode of transportation for millions of people, connecting continents and cultures in ways that were once unimaginable.

As an aviation enthusiast, I find the story of the first commercial flight from the US to Europe truly fascinating. It is remarkable to think about the courage and innovation of those early aviators who pushed the boundaries of what was possible in air travel. Their achievements have shaped the world we live in today, where flying from one continent to another is a routine part of our lives.