We celebrated a plethora of anniversaries in 2019, among them the launch of the first regular passenger, mail, and parcel air service between London and Paris.
The first scheduled flight took place 100 years ago on 25 August. E. H. "Bill" Lawford, lieutenant RAF veteran, piloted for two-and-half hours (in an open-air cockpit!) a De Havilland DH4A G-EAJC from Hounslow Heath to Paris, having on-board… a single passenger, stacked together with a consignment of leather, two grouse, and Devonshire cream jars.
The service provided by Aircraft Transport and Travel wasn't cheap, though, as George Stevenson-Reece, a journalist for the Evening Standard, paid 20 guineas for it, roughly one grand of pound sterling in today's prices (later the nominal pax capacity jumped to 14).
"The very early days it was very much just about persuading people to fly at all," Paul Jarvis, the late curator of the British Airways Heritage Collection and author of the British Airways: 100 Years of Aviation Posters book said to CNN on the occasion. He highlighted, "There were quite a lot of people who thought flying […] was just a passing fad."
In 1921, there were already six companies operating their London-Paris services.