The First Commercial Flight across the Pacific
By Willie Bodenstein
On 28 April 1937 the first commercial flight across the Pacific is made as a Pan-American Boeing 314 Clipper seaplane arrives in Hong Kong
Boeing 314 Clipper. Photo Boeing Aircraft / United States Library of Congress
Photo Casablanca Museum
Men and women were provided with separate dressing rooms, and white-coated stewards served five and six-course meals with gleaming silver service. The standard of luxury on Pan American's Boeing 314s has rarely been matched on heavier-than-air transport since then; they were a form of travel for the super-rich, priced at $675 return from New York to Southampton (comparable to a round trip aboard Concorde in 2006).
Photo United States Library of Congress
The last Pan Am 314 to be retired, the California Clipper NC18602, in 1946, had accumulated more than a million flight miles. Of the 12 Boeing 314 Clippers built three were lost to accidents, although only one of those resulted in fatalities: 24 passengers and crew aboard the Yankee Clipper NC18603 lost their lives in a landing accident at Cabo Ruivo Seaplane Base, in Lisbon, Portugal on 22 February 1943.
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