Air Travel


For over a hundred years, travelers from all over the world have flown through the air to get to their destinations. Air travel allows passengers to travel distances that might have taken days in only a few hours. Air travel began with lighter than air balloons. Mongolifier Brothers made the first manned flight of a balloon across Paris in 1783. Even though balloon travel has been developed far longer than heavier wing travel, planes have become one of the most important modes of transport today. Although this recent invention has revolutionized the way we move, the ease and popularity of air travel has caused us to become numb to just how incredible it really is. Although air planes today fly high above the clouds traveling at hundreds of miles per hour, aviation started out with unpowered gliders. An English monk is said to have glided over 180 meters or 600ft before breaking both legs. Similar accounts have been made in both Constantinople and Italy. Although many advancements were made in gliding technology, the advancement that lead to today's modern airplane was the first powered glider flight conducted by the wright brothers. The first attempt to fly their Wright Flyer on the fourteenth flew over 112 ft. Even though people often think of this as the first flight, the device was actually assisted by gravity, and thus many consider it to be disqualified. However, on the 17th of December, 2 days later, Orville Wright took off from near level ground and flew 120 feet in 12 seconds. Today, across all flights from and to America, over 850 million passengers are transported annually through the air. Airlines like United, Delta, etc transport millions of people using the same principles as the Wright brothers. The airline industry allows Americans to move vast distances, and is truly what binds our modern society together.
Passengers on All Scheduled U.S.-Based Flights, Domestic and International, 2003-2014


Largest American Airline Companies By Revenue

Airline  Logo Headquarters Destinations $ in Revenue in billions (2014) Fortune 1000 Rank
1. United Continental Holdings, Inc. 
 Chicago, Illinois 37538.279  78
2. Delta Air Lines, Inc.  
 Atlanta, Georgia 326 37.773 81
 3. American Airlines Group Inc. 
 Fort Worth, Texas 344 26.743 112
4. Southwest Airlines Co.  
Dallas, Texas  97 17.699160 
 5. JetBlue Airways Corporation 
 Long Island City, New York 91 5.441 466
 6. Alaska Air Group, Inc. 
 Seattle, Washington 1045.156 482 
 7. SkyWest, Inc. 
 St. George, Utah 193 3.298 683
 8. Republic Airways Holdings Inc. 
 Indianapolis, Indiana N/A 2.564 819
9. Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. 
Honolulu, Hawaii  40 2.156 926