Ever since the aircraft was introduced, people have been searching for a way to elevate the experience of flying. Many decades ago, even the act of being in the air and of speedy travel from one city to another was something remarkable.
Below is a look at the history of luxury travel around the world.
The evolution of flight
Times have changed. Air travel is a common mode of travel and a lot more frequent. Travelling on a commercial plane, even in first class, is not always seen as the epitome of luxury. Most people would consider the private jet charter the most luxurious way to travel in 2023. The current status of luxury travel may point to private plane rentals, but what about in the past?
Flying in the early 1900s
The early years of commercial air travel (which started in the early 1900s) were all about the novelty of the experience. Given the number of flights chartered by airlines and the accompanying costs, flying was not something the general public was able to experience.
Pilots would be sitting in open cockpits, which exposed them to the wind and changing weather. The seating was cramped, and the planes were small — most people were relieved when the aircraft reached its destination safely!
The flights were usually very loud, bumpy, and not for the faint of heart. Companies were still tackling the mechanics of designing aircraft that could handle the strain that comes with continuous travel from one destination to another over several years.
How the wars changed air travel
By the time the First and Second World Wars had come and gone, the aviation industry had made significant advances. This was in part due to the innovations made by armies around the world. The cost of building and running planes becoming more affordable and mainstream.
The year 1955 marked the first time (in the United States) that more people were flying than travelling by train. Trains were still more commonly used in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, but air travel was becoming more frequent on this side of the Atlantic as well.
As time went by, more and more people were able to travel by plane. The average middle-class family in the Western world could visit other countries and continents with more ease than before, and using aeroplanes to travel for business became the standard.
The Concorde takes centre stage
One of the most interesting innovations in the aviation industry took place in the mid-1900s when the Concorde aircraft was invented. A joint operation of several aeroplane companies, the Concorde was a supersonic jet that could transport passengers from one part of the world to another in record-setting time.
The average duration of a flight from Paris to New York at the time was eight hours (this is still the case in 2023). Thanks to the invention and commercialisation of the Concorde, people could complete that journey in three and a half hours. These planes were flying at twice the speed of subsonic commercial machines.
The Concorde was a more expensive way to travel, which meant that it was reserved for the wealthy and businessmen. People who needed to get somewhere quickly, regardless of the cost, would choose to travel this way.
Unfortunately, the Concorde was not the long-term success that many aviation experts had anticipated. While it did remain relevant for several decades, the aircraft was eventually retired due to issues associated with heavy fuel burning and other concerns.
Modern travellers prioritise the experience
Speed is not as relevant to modern travellers as it was in the past. The Concorde is no longer flying. Due to the plethora of issues the aircraft experienced, subsonic flights became the only option for travellers.
A lot of people who want to elevate their flying experience invest in chartering a private jet. The luxury, privacy, and charm of travelling this way set it apart from commercial options. Modern travellers are aware that they can personalise their flying experience by renting a private jet, with the added benefit of going to smaller airports around the world to explore areas that may have been previously inaccessible.
The history of flying shows us how people’s perceptions of luxury travel have changed over the years. When flying first became a possibility for the general population, people would get on any aircraft that would take them to their destination, despite the quality of the experience.
Now that air travel is so common in 2023, people are more aware of their options and the experiences they will get when they fly commercially and privately. They want to book a trip that is cost-effective, enjoyable, and customised to their needs. Private chartering offers that in abundance.
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