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CHAPTER 6 Commercial Service History and Overview Airmail The first commercial aviation service was established in May 1918 with the implementation of the first regular airmail route between New York City and Washington, D.C. Initially this ser- vice was a joint arrangement between the U.S. War and Post Office Departments, with the planes, pilots, and operational and maintenance needs supplied by the War Department and the sort- ing, loading, and discharging of the mail effort supplied by the Post Office. By August 1918 the Post Office took over the entire responsibility of the operation, including the development of mail service on a larger scale. Commercial Passenger Service Although the first commercial passenger flight is documented to have occurred about the same time as the start of regular airmail service, scheduled air service as we know it today was not under way until the 1920s and 1930s. The Ford Trimotor of the 1920s and the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-3 of the 1930s are credited as being the first successful passenger service air- craft. Scheduled air service experienced continued growth from its inception until the beginning of World War II. After World War II the demand for passenger and cargo service grew steadily. Advancements in aircraft technology developed for military aircraft during the war provided an impetus for this demand by providing pressurized aircraft, better aircraft reliability, greater speed (which reduced travel time), and many other modern-age amenities. The introduction of the first jet airliners in the late 1950s and 1960s combined improved reliability, speed, and other passenger enhancements, and the demand for air service increased. The 1970s saw the introduction of the first "jumbo jets" with the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, the Lockheed L-1011, and the Boeing 747 aircraft. These "wide-bodied" aircraft with greater speed, comfort, and cargo capacity became widely popular with the airlines, the flying public, and cargo carriers. A new type of airline service was introduced in the 1980s and 1990s that was dubbed "low cost" because it offered dramatically lower airfares. The low-cost airlines accomplished this by using non-union employees, thus paying lower wages than the legacy carriers, and by offering fewer amenities to their passengers. Those amenities such as meals, advanced seating, frequent flyer programs, and other items that had been promoted to win customer loyalty and support by legacy carriers were simply not offered by these new low-cost carriers. These carriers have been hugely successful in winning passengers away from traditional carriers--so successful, in fact, 82