Thursday, April 07, 2011

United Celebrates 85 Years of Flying

United's first flight took place on April 6, 1926 in Nevada. Walter Varney was the pilot of the small swallow biplane, and completed the first airmail delivery. Varney founded Varney Air service in 1926 after he was given an airmail contract. He later sold the company to United Aircraft and Transport, which changed its name to United Air Lines in 1933. In 1934, Varney and his business partner Louis Mueller founded Varney Speed Lines, which was sold in 1937 and renamed Continental Airlines.

In 1926, fewer than 6,000 Americans paid to travel by plane. By 1930, that number had gone up to about 170,000 paying passengers each year. Boeing's tri-motored Model 80 carried up to 18 people in an enclosed cabin, a step up from only a few years earlier when two passengers rode on top of mailbags, wearing parachutes and goggles. In 1936, people could fly coast to coast, allowing at least 20 hours for the trip, but generally bought tickets at the door of the plane just before takeoff.

Today United flies more than 150 million customers each year, equal to about half the population of the U.S., and travelers can book flights from virtually anywhere. The new United features the world's most comprehensive route network, offering customers access to destinations on six continents and nonstop or one-stop service from virtually anywhere in the United States. With the most modern and fuel-efficient fleet among America's network carriers, United takes to the sky with 5,675 daily departures from nearly 375 airports.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next trip!

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