“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
Map of the first floor of the National Air and Space Museum's Washington, D.C., building, highlighting in yellow the America by Air gallery on the north side of the building, two rooms west 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 with a teaser video ... ... or take a step inside Take a virtual tour of the exhibit 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 See more objects in this exhibit
Dive Deeper into Commercial Aviation
Early Commercial Aviation Commercial Aviation at Mid-Century The Jet Age
The Evolution of the Commercial Flying Experience


The Evolution of Commercial Airliners

From the Jenny to the Concorde

Social Change in the Airline Industry Flight Attendants Air Traffic Control The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Governing Flight Pan American Airways & International Commercial Aviation The Early Airlines You Might Not Have Heard Of The First Fare Wars Airline Deregulation: When Everything Changed Air Mail and the Birth of Commercial Aviation Women's Fashion and the Airline Industry

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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