BOAC inaugurated the world’s first commercial jet service. The year was 1952

Review of “Jet Age,” a book about early competition in the airlines industry

JET AGE, The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World

By Sam Howe Verhovek

The thrill of flying is gone. An airline, an industry executive once said, is regarded by most of the traveling public as little more than a “glorified bus operation.” Just ponder: How many times during your last cross-country trip did you peer out at the prairie more than five miles below? Never mind. On your next flight, pass the time reading Sam Howe Verhovek’s new book, “Jet Age.”

Verhovek definitively traces the humble beginnings of commercial air travel and introduces its cast of characters, among them a cowboy test pilot named “Tex” who was really from Kansas; a suave and exotic Miami airline magnate; and Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire flying enthusiast who made Hollywood films on the side. The stars of the book, however, are the de Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jetliner, and the Boeing Dash 80, a hulking machine that came to be known as the 707.

The Comet’s progenitor, Geoffrey de Havilland, had designed fighter planes for the British air forces and was determined to push the boundaries of conventional air travel by introducing jet technology to the public. On May 2, 1952, the first passenger-laden Comet, in BOAC livery (now British Airways), took off from London bound for Johannesburg. The jet arrived two minutes ahead of schedule……. continued at WashingtonPost.com

Available on Amazon: Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World

1 comment for “BOAC inaugurated the world’s first commercial jet service. The year was 1952

  1. December 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    BOAC! I’d forgotten about them. They were one of just a few airlines in a little airplane board game that I had as a child…..Olympic, BOAC, and I can’t remember the other two airlines.

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