Increasing technology and shrinking global barriers have made air travel an indispensable part of life. Intercontinental non stop service, supersonic jets, jumbos and space travel do not now raise an eyebrow, though it is only a 100 years since the inception of air travel. Still the mystique attached to air travel has dimmed amidst the cacophony of cheap flights and fare slashers.
Man has always been fascinated by flying and has embarked on many foolhardy ventures to take to the skies. Greek mythology speaks of Icarus and his father Daedalus who made wings of feathers and flew out of prison. Icarus, inspite of his father's admonishment flew too near the sun and the wax melted resulting in his falling in to the river. Since then many bravehearts have made the attempt to fly.
The invention of aircraft is credited to the Wright brothers. The Wright brothers on December 17th 1903 flew their machine 'Flyer', which marked the first aircraft in air. The Flyer was the first powered, heavier than air machine. This led to a rush of inventions to make the aircraft more air worthy and the first scheduled air service began on January 1914. Surprisingly commercial air travel began in the guise of mail delivery service. Usually one or two persons accompanied the flight and soon more passengers were being accommodated. But these uncomfortable flights did not garner more travelers and soon innovations in aircraft began to entice more passengers.
The beginning of the World Wars shifted attention to military planes and increased innovation in the mode of air travel. The first jet aircraft was made in 1931 and the by the 1950's the large bodied planes took to air, namely the Boeing 747, 767 and 777. These planes increased passenger service but air travel was still the prerogative of the well heeled. The mystery attached to flying remained and costs were well beyond the average person
In 1976, the Concorde the ultimate in luxury took flight and crossed the Atlantic in three hours. Patronized by the rich and the famous the Concorde stopped flying in the October of 2003. The years after 2000 saw the arrival of the mammoth A 380 with a capacity of 800 passengers. This heralded the era of bulk transportation.
The world has taken rapid strides and globalization has reduced barriers, increased incomes and the entry of private airlines has increased consumer choice. Hundreds of deals are made available and fares are continuously dipping. But this increased consumer traffic has led to another kind of result as the threat of terrorism increases so does the security concerns of nations. As more and more people take advantage of air travel, security measures are beefed up.
The dream of man to fly in the air has come true and what was seen as impossible a hundred years ago is quite accepted now. Air travel is quite common now and places hitherto inaccessible are quite within reach in a few hours. Air travel has no doubt led to an booming economy, opened up markets, led to an increase in the movement of cargoes and peoples, accessed other cultures and effectively connected the world as never before.