What were the distinct services or choices offered first by the international airlines ?
The first attempt at providing MEALS IN FLIGHT was made by Handley Page Transport and took the form of pre-packed lunch-boxes offered on their London-Paris flights from 11 October 1919. The price was 3s.
A number of different airlines have claimed the distinction of having been the first to serve hot meals in flight, but it would appear that this was, appropriately, a French innovation. Possibly first, and certainly among the earliest, was Air Union, which was offering an elaborate five-course lunch with choice of wines c. 1925.
The first cooked meals were served on Imperial Airways’ luxury `Silver Wing’ flights from London to Paris, commencing on 1 May 1927. The three-engined Armstrong Whitworth Argosies used on this service were furnished with a galley at the rear of the aircraft from which lunch could be provided for up to 18 passengers.
The first Airline steward was Jack Sanderson, who started duty on a de Havilland 34 operated by Daimler Airways between London-Paris on 2 April 1922. Steward Sanderson was killed in an air crash the following year.
The first airline to offer a choice 1st-or 2nd-class travel at varying fares was Imperial Airways on the London—Paris route in October 1927. First-class passengers were carried in ‘Silver Wing’ Argosies with steward service for £9 return and made the trip in 2 hr 30 min; 2nd-class passengers paid £ 7 10 s return for a 2 hr 50 min flight in a Handley Page biplane without food or drinks enroute. Business class was first introduced by KLM on their North Atlantic route in 1978.
Airline travel bags, in use by 1935, were given away free to passengers flying on KLM’s. Amsterdam—Djakarta service, provided they were travelling the whole 9,000-mile distance.