When we talk about passports we talk about travelling – in this case international air travel in the 1930s.

Today we largely take international air travel for granted. Every major city in the world is little more than a hop, skip, and jump away. But what was it actually like to fly halfway around the world in the 1930s, when the very concept was still novel? Pretty incredible, as it turns out—provided you could afford it.

At the dawn of commercial air travel, Imperial Airways was Britain’s shuttle to the world. As the British Empire’s lone international airline in the 1920s and ’30s, Imperial was responsible for showing the rich and famous every corner of the Empire. And in doing so, their mission was to make the Empire (and by extension, the world) feel that much smaller.

During the WWI, airplanes became a vital tool for victory, ushering in a brave new world of battle. Airplanes were the future of war, but they had yet to prove themselves as the future of peace.

After the war, Britain had a surplus of warplanes that would jump start its commercial air industry. But the early 1920s was a hard period for British aircraft companies. Unlike their counterparts in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States, very little government investment in British air travel occurred during peacetime.

Instead, the government cobbled together the few struggling British air companies to form Imperial Airways, which was incorporated in 1924. Imperial was devised as a private, highly subsidized company that would operate with monopoly support from the British government. They shuttled mail and passengers to the farthest reaches of the globe.

Read the full article http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/what-international-air-travel-was-like-in-the-1930s-1471258414