LZ 127 zeppelin
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Which was the world's first airline?

Editorial

On November 16, 1909, the world's first airline, DELAG (Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft or German Airship Company) was established. Its first flight was with the LZ6, but the first civil commercial Zeppelins were the LZ 7 and LZ 8, both named "Deutschland”. The success came with the LZ10 “Schwaben” and the LZ13 “Hansa” that carried both passengers and mail. After the war, the LZ120 “Bodensee” and the LZ 121 "Nordstern" became the first airships especially designed for passenger use.

Imagine what it must be like for the general public for the first time, to be able to see the world from the air.

airship zeppelin
delag history zeppelin

In 1931 DELAG offered the first scheduled transatlantic passenger route between Germany and South America with the LZ127 “Graf Zeppelin”, making 143 Atlantic crossings in its lifetime. In the 30s, the only other way to travel between Europe and the Americas was by sea where Southampton-New York took about 5 days. 

The airships offered a journey of only 2.5 days, with less motion sickness. Soon, flying became a symbol of modernity, status and sophistication. "The Graf" recorded 1,350,000km, carrying more than 12,000 passengers before it was retired.

airships history
In the 30s you could cross the Atlantic by ship, plane or airship. Photo: Airships.net
delag brochure
A travel brochure from Zeppelin Airships. Photo: Wikipedia

LIFE ON BOARD

Transatlantic Airships as "The Graf" carried 20 passengers and a crew of 50 from 60 people and flew at an incredible max speed of about 135 km/h. In addition, they had a large structure equipped with living rooms, cabins with bunk beds, bathrooms, dining rooms, lounges, and even smoking and writing rooms.

The ticket included all meals and drinks, handbags, suitcases and the trunk could not be missing, with the necessary belongings at the final destination. The total weight of luggage allowed per person was 126 kilograms  in some flights, much less than any boat trip at the time. The latest  airships had a sophisticated onboard telegram sending and receiving system where business travelers could communicate with their respective offices or clients in real time. 
 

In the 1920s and ‘30s, airships flew all over the world and were the most efficient mean of transportation of the day. Its engineering was in its day the most advanced in the use of duraluminum and air navigation techniques

In 1937 the “Hindenburg” accident claimed the lives of 35 people out of a total of 97 passengers. It was the first live broadcasted accident. The impact that the images caused on an audience accustomed to reading events but not to seeing them was so great that it marked the end of the era of large airships.

At their time,  Zeppelins were the most efficient means of transport. Almost 100 years later, OceanSky will bring back the golden age of airships to the skies and lead a new era of sustainable aviation.

hindenburg airship accident
In 1937, the Hindenburg accident was the first live boradcasted accident. Photo: Wikipedia
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