“Unlike the boundaries of the sea by the shorelines, the ‘ocean of air’ laps at the border of every state, city, town and home throughout the world.”
—L. Welch Pogue

America by Air traces the history of commercial aviation in the United States from airmail to airlines. Exploring the history of air transportation in the United States, this exhibit shows how the federal government has shaped the airline industry, how improvements in technology have revolutionized air travel, how the flying experience has changed, and how different airlines have fared over the course of the history of commercial aviation.

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Location in Museum National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC
Gallery 102
First floor gallery, north side, two right of center.
Plan Your Visit
Related Topics: Aviation Aircraft Commercial aviation Society and Culture World War II Take a Look Inside the Gallery

An overhead view of the gallery.

Multiple aircraft hang from the ceiling in the exhibit.

Preview the Exhibit Inside America by Air Passenger Flight Air Mail
In this Exhibit Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor Object Boeing 247-D Object Pan-Am Globe, Juan Trippe Object Douglas DC-3 Object Huff-Daland Duster Object Fairchild FC-2 Object See more objects in this exhibit
Dive Deeper into Commercial Aviation
Early Commercial Aviation October 19, 2021 Commercial Aviation at Mid-Century November 18, 2021 The Jet Age December 30, 2021
The Evolution of the Commercial Flying Experience


The Evolution of Commercial Airliners

From the Jenny to the Concorde

Social Change in the Airline Industry November 30, 2021 Flight Attendants October 27, 2021 Air Traffic Control October 21, 2021 The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics October 26, 2021 Governing Flight December 07, 2021 Pan American Airways & International Commercial Aviation December 14, 2021 The Early Airlines You Might Not Have Heard Of December 28, 2021 The First Fare Wars December 17, 2021 Airline Deregulation: When Everything Changed December 17, 2021 Air Mail and the Birth of Commercial Aviation December 09, 2021 Women's Fashion and the Airline Industry December 07, 2021

The Museum gratefully acknowledges those who have generously supported this gallery.

American Airlines
Delta Air Lines
United Airlines

Alaska Airlines

Frontier Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines
Spirit Airlines

Additional support provided by:

David H. Rowe / Michael Greene / AE Industrial Partners, LP

National Air Traffic Controllers Association

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A major renovation is underway as we reimagine our galleries and presentation spaces in our iconic National Mall building in Washington, DC. Join us as we inspire a new generation of pioneers and explorers.

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