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From Elegant Adventure to Necessary Nuisance: The Evolving Airline Passenger Experience in America

Friday, July 30, 2010 @ 10:00 AM-11:30 AM

A book signing and talk with…

Featured Speaker: Daniel L. Rust, Ph.D., Assistant Director of the Center for Transportation Studies, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and author of, Flying Across America: The Airline Passenger Experience

Americans who now endure the inconveniences of crowded airports, packed airplanes, added fees, and missed connections might not realize that flying was once an elegant, exhilarating adventure. In the beginning, flying coast-to-coast was an exciting yet uncomfortable journey of nearly forty-eight hours that required numerous stops and overnight travel by train. With time and technical innovation, passengers became increasingly removed both physically and psychologically from the raw experience of flying. Faster planes, pressurized cabins, onboard amenities, and stronger safety precautions made flying more convenient and predicable—but also less evocative and sensational.

Prior to the 1980s, many Americans dressed for air travel in their formal best and enjoyed such onboard amenities as delicious meals and ample cabin space. What made air travel glamorous, however, also made it more expensive. With deregulation in 1978, cost reductions reduced flying to a more tedious and, after 9/11, more regimented experience.

In his colorful book, Flying Across America: The Airline Passenger Experience, Daniel L. Rust traces the evolution of commercial air travel from the first transcontinental expeditions of the 1920s, through the luxurious airline environments of the 1950s and 1960s, to the more hectic, fatiguing experiences of flying in the post-9/11 era. Rust’s narrative brims with firsthand accounts from such celebrities as Will Rogers and from ordinary Americans. Enlivened by more than 100 illustrations, including vintage brochures, posters, and photographs, Flying Across America reminds today’s airline passengers of what they have gained—and what they have lost—in the transcontinental flying experience.

OASIS – Center of Clayton,
50 Gay Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63105

FREE to the first 10 registrants, $9 per person thereafter. OPEN to ALL. Space is limited.

To register call 314-533-8586 or e-mail rsvp@academyofsciencestl.org

On Science Series co-sponsor:


Friday, July 30, 2010
10:00 AM-11:30 AM
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