Full article in JPG format: page 48/49 & page 50
“The shape of things to come”, proclaimed Imperial Airways, the colonial precursor to British Airways, in a 1936 advertisement for Short Empire Flying Boats. Its notice featured an artist’s impression of stately travellers boarding one of the revolutionary aircraft, which were due to enter service the following year.
Imperial’s four-engine, double-decker Flying Boats had sleeping accommodation for 16 passengers, with cabin interiors comprising three large saloons, one kitchen and one ever-essential smoking room. On day-time flights, its capacity stretched to 24.
Having handled just 8,012 passengers in 1936/37, the airline’s idealistic vision of the future may have seemed reasonable at the time. Fast forward seven decades, however, to an age when 3 billion travelers take to the skies each year, and its prophecy of airborne luxury is hard to reconcile with modern-day reality...