The plane above, the Ford 3 AT Trimotor nicknamed the "Tin Goose" because of it's corrugated metal skin, is one plane used in the early 1930s for commercial flights. In 1928 Boeing introduced its Model 80 and Ford the 5AT. The Ford could carry 13 passengers, 17 if modified. Think about this, these planes were not air conditioned with little heating so it was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Add the smell of hot oil and metal, leather seats, and disinfectant used to clean up after sick passengers. The only way to escape the smell was to open a window. What an experience--flying that high with air blowing in your face. Add to the mix air turbulence of lower altitudes (6000 feet) and you had an excellent recipe for air sickness. Though the Boeing 80 made flying more comfortable by adding forced-air ventilation and hot and cold running water, it was still impossible, even at 14,000 feet, to escape turbulence.
Early on, airlines realized they needed a means of keeping passengers comfortable and happy so they'd return again. In the late 1920s young men usually teenagers or men of small stature, were hired as stewards, cabin boys, flight companions, etc. to load luggage, reassure nervous passengers, and help travelers get around in the cramped space. The first airline to do so was Stout Airlines which later became part of United Air Lines. Pan American Airways, because of their flights over water, required first aid and extensive seamanship training for its trainees for stewards.
My heroine from the future considers flying to Reno but decides she'd rather take the train. Air travel in the 1930s didn't sound like something she wanted to try. Her barn storming experience was enough air excitement for her.
I hope you'll join me next week when I'll share when the first women airline attendants were introduced.
The information for this post came from http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Commercial_Aviation/passenger_xperience/Tran2.htm
Thanks for reading,