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June 2, 2018

A Day on the Airway: Vintage Cigarette Cards Depict a Flight From London to Amsterdam in Their Early Days From the 1920s

A set of vintage cigarette cards depicting a flight from London to Amsterdam in the early days of commercial air travel. The images (each "from an official photograph supplied by Imperial Airways") are accompanied by text detailing "our" flight, from check-in and take-off, to views over the Channel, France, and Brussels (where we land for lunch), to the final landing in Amsterdam.

The set included the backs with the text, as the little details are fascinating insights into a time when planes held "as many as" 20 passengers, reached cruising altitudes of 3,000 feet, and got from London to Brussels in "only" two and a half hours.

Check-in ("weighing-in").

The Control Tower, where the controller marks plane positions on a map with little flags.

Position finding, using the wireless.

"Land lighthouses."

Embarkment into our 20-seat biplane, which attains 100 miles an hour.

The cabin interior, with coat and hat racks provided.


2,000 feet over Folkestone, about to cross the Channel after 45 minutes.

Over the Channel.

Over Ypres, a major location of fighting in WWI.

The Palais de Justice, Brussels, which we've reached in a "remarkable" two and a half hours.

A scenic loop over Brussels, then we land at the aerodrome and get out for lunch.

Over Bruges.

Reaching the Dutch islands.

Windmills and canals of the Netherlands.

Scheveningen, the Netherlands.

Approach into Amsterdam.

We land, and we make up our minds we "must fly again."

(Images: New York Public Library, via The Passion of Former Days)



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