Fly United to Chicago in Only Eight Hours!

by Paula Bosse

aeiral_united-air-lines_fairchild_ebay_rppcHow many buildings can you identify? (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Dallas, Texas as seen from United Air Lines passenger transport. The airplane has brought Dallas and Forth Worth within eight hours travel to Chicago and only one business day’s travel from New York.

Back when it took all day to fly to New York from Dallas.

This is another great aerial photo by the Fairchild Aerial Survey company, probably taken by Lloyd M. Long. Date-wise? Late-1920s? Before the Trinity was straightened (beginning in 1928), with land being cleared in the area that would become Dealey Plaza? 1928-ish? Or could it have been the very early 1930s? The United Air Lines promotional postcard was issued around 1932 or 1933.

It wasn’t until 1933 that United introduced its new Boeing “twin motor airline transports” and boasted that they would finally “bring the city within eleven and a half hours of New York City” (Dallas Morning News, Aug, 16, 1933).

Below is a photo from a Dallas newspaper ad showing one of United’s planes from the earlier, more carefree days of 1932, when passengers were still trudging through the skies at a more leisurely pace.

united-air-lines_ad-det_dmn_110432United Air Lines ad, detail, 1932

And an even earlier ad, from 1931, when a flight from Love Field to Chicago was nine hours long (today a direct flight from Love Field to Chicago takes about two hours and fifteen minutes). And if you wanted to continue to NYC, you had to board another plane and fly from Chicago to New York, adding another six and a half hours!

1931 ad


De Luxe Tri-Motored Ford Planes Manned by 2 Licensed Transport Pilots
NAT provides the most luxurious and modern plane service out of Dallas … every ship on the line is a Ford … tri-motored with the famous Wasp engines … two (instead of one) pilots … both licensed transport flyers. Meals aloft included in fare … magazines, maps, stationery … lavatories. 

Air Transportation is More Than a Plane in the Sky! 

When you fly with the pioneer, dependable National Air Transport division of United Air Lines, you ride with the largest air transportation corporation in the world. NAT and other divisions of United Air Lines have had 5 years’ experience … 25,000,000 miles of flying! … and employ only skilled ground crews and gov’t licensed mechanics. Fly NAT and enjoy the finest transportation equipment … U.S. lighted airway … radio … U.S. weather reports.


In an interesting side-note, the first pilot to fly a mail plane between Kansas City and Dallas (on May 12, 1926) was Richard Dobie, brother of Texas literary legend, J. Frank Dobie. In 1926 he flew a Curtiss Carrier Pigeon; in 1933, he’d worked his way up to the speedy and powerful Boeing. He flew for United for several years.


Sources & Notes

Top image is a promotional postcard, found on eBay.

Read more about the tri-motor airplane (manufactured by the Ford Motor Company and affectionately known as the “Tin Goose”) in the article “Ford’s Tri-Motor” by Edward J. Vinarcik (Advanced Materials and Processes, Oct. 2003) here.

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.