Pat Hyland - Oct 11, 2010

Air traveling was not always as comfortable as today. A trip from London to Delhi in 1929 took seven days. A traveler must have used three different planes and the ticket cost them about 6 thousand pounds in nowadays currency.


The first regular flights from Europe to India started eighty years ago. After the first trials in 1929, British Airways started regular flights in 1930. Armstrong Whitworth 154 Argossy was the plane that was used for the test flight in December 1929. There were three crew members and 17 passengers. The top speed was 206 km/h and maximum flying range was 845 km. The journey took seven days and there were twenty layovers during the flight. It was definitely not as comfortable as nowadays. Passengers must have changed the planes three times before reaching Delhi. Also, the planes did not fly during nights so people spent nights in hotels.

As reported, the first stop was Paris then Basel. Fascist Italy would not let English planes fly over its territory, which is why it was necessary to travel by train through the country. From Genova they flew with Short Calcutta Flying Boat that could reach maximum speed of 190 km/h. The last plane passengers flew on was DH 66 Hercules, which stopped for example in Gaza.

During each layover, they refueled the plane and passengers who did not fly to Delhi got off while others were boarding. After seven long days, they reached Delhi. Such a trip was a great adventure. The flight was also very exclusive as only the richest people could afford the ticket. The price would nowadays be around 6 thousand pounds.

These days, BA offers flights to five different cities in India. A flight from Heathrow to New Delhi takes approximately 10 hours on board of Boeing 777, which flies at 900 km/h and can transport 297 people. The maximum flying range is 14,500 km.

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