Last Updated:

World's First Transcontinental 'round Trip' Plane Took Off From LA On This Day In 1959

Boeing 707 plane landed at New York's Idlewild Airport, after about 5 hours of tedious air journey and became the world’s first transcontinental flight.

Today's history

On this day in history,  Jan. 25, 1959, a Jet passenger service  American Airlines Boeing 707, nick-named Flagship California, took off for the first time from LA. It landed at New York's Idlewild Airport, after about 5 hours of tedious air journey, and became the world’s first transcontinental flight Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 airliners. The flight earmarked the air travel expansion as, according to archive reports, Delta and United began flying DC-8s later that year in the US. American Airlines was the first-ever roundtrip transcontinental flight that flew taking the commercial aviation to a height and opening a different prospect for flyers. 

While Pan Am was the first US carrier to offer jet service, it flew one way from New York to Paris in 1957. According to sources of Sun-Sentinel, the American Airlines was the first air carrier that commenced a nonstop coast-to-coast service in the US  and was also recorded the fastest L.A.-to-New York round journey in a piston-powered Douglas DC-7. Curator of the C.R. Smith Museum at the American Airlines headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, Ben Kristy told the newspaper that the introduction of jet service rivalled the DC-3 flight 30 years earlier and contributed a great part in revolutionizing how the aviation industry worked. The flight also slashed transcontinental travel time by almost half and the passengers paid decent $10 surcharge for the tickets. According to Sentinel, the 1959 one-way coach fare would cost a traveller $115.50, approximately $700 in 2021 dollars but the American Airlines round trip ticket was priced at a modest  $352.50, or $2,136 in 2021 dollars. 

Read: Fanny Smith Makes History With 27th Ski Cross World Cup Win

Read: National Tourism Day 2021: Know About The History And Significance

[Boeing 707, Pan American ushered in the Jet Age in 1958. Credit: Air and Space Education Mag]

[Boeing 707, the "Dash 80" resides at the Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Credit: Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum]

[Boeing's 707 was designed for transcontinen¬tal or one-stop transatlantic range. Credit: Air and Space Education Mag/ The Boeing Company]

All major airlines  replaced piston aircraft with jets

The first flight took off at 35,000 feet above the groundbreaking the records for the propeller planes that flew nearly 20,000 feet. Bad weather was reported at the time of the takeoff. Within a few years of the 707 being introduced, all the major airlines replaced their piston aircraft with jets because the customer demand for jets was that high, Kristy told Sentinel in a statement. According to Air and Space magazine the British de Havilland D.H., 106 Comets and Soviet Tupolev Tu-104s had entered service earlier but the introduction of 707s and DC-8s in the aviation industry was much more impactful and had greater range, and more travellers and proved more profitable in the long run. 

Read: Ryan Makes Red Wings History In 3-2 OT Win Over Blue Jackets

Read: Column: Brady Moves On, Making History With Every Throw

First Published: