The Early Years of Air Transportation (1914 - 1927)

The first airline began flying only 11 years after the Wright brothers' first flights in 1903. But that and other early airlines could not make enough money to stay in business.

To help create an air transportation network, the U.S. government began flying the mail. Once reliable service was established, the Post Office turned over air mail delivery to private companies. By 1927, a commercial airline system had been born.

Aviation technology was improving but still crude. A system of air routes was just starting to develop. The flying experience was exciting but uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. And for the few passengers who flew, it was expensive.