#FlashbackFriday - 8 Classic U.S. Airline Route Maps

Taking off

This week’s #FlashbackFriday comes from the wonderful archives of AirwaysNews.com, founded by Editor-in-Chief Chris Sloan, who has been an airline enthusiast since he was five years old. Over the years, he amassed an extensive collection of aviation memorabilia and photos and decided to share it with the world in February 2003 via the Airchive website. Below are eight great U.S. airlines' route maps, ranging from 1939 to 1979, from the AirwaysNews.com photo archive


  • 01 of 08
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    Continental was founded in 1934 as El Paso-based Varney Speedlines, becoming Denver-based Continental in 1937. It eventually moved its hub and headquarters to Los Angeles in Continental in the 1950s and then Houston in the 1980s followed the merger with Texas International. Continental introduced four Boeing 707-100s to Los Angeles, Denver, Kansas City and Chicago in 1959. The carrier’s Golden Jets had the most luxurious interior in the sky. This route map is from April 26, 1959.



  • 02 of 08
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    By 1969, all piston-engined aircraft had been retired from its fleet and Mohawk flew mainly BAC 1-11 and Fairchild Hiller FH-227 aircraft.By 1971, labor issues and several strikes caused Mohawk to enter merger discussions with Allegheny Airlines, and the merger was completed in 1972. This is a route map from February 1, 1970.


  • 03 of 08
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    Braniff morphed from a low-profile U.S. domestic carrier with a strong Latin American route structure into a high-profile innovative carrier when it introduced its "Flying Colors" branding in 1965. Under CEO Harding Lawrence, Braniff rapidly expanded under deregulation, even flying to Europe and Asia, and hundreds of new U.S. market routes. This is a Braniff timetable from January 4, 1960.


  • 04 of 08
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    Pan Am was flying high when it launched Boeing 707 jet service on October 26, 1958, with a flight from New York to Paris. This was the carrier’s route map as of March 1, 1959. In January 1959, Pan Am flew 65 flights a week east from New York’s Idlewild Airport to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and beyond.


    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    Eastern Airlines, founded in 1926, was at one time the largest carrier in the free world in terms of passenger count. With services concentrated along the U.S. East coast and eventually adding service to London and Latin America. This is a route map from January 1, 1948.



  • 06 of 08
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    Before the U.S. airline industry deregulated in 1978, carriers that wanted to avoid government oversight by the Civil Aviation Board could fly intrastate, and Air Cal, based out of John Wayne Airport and founded in 1967, did just that. it started flying Lockheed L-188 Electras from John Wayne to San Francisco. This is a route map from March 1979.


  • 07 of 08
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    In 1968, National introduced its Sun King logo and Instant Florida campaign. The Instant Florida campaign introduced new uniforms and Florida-themed catering, along with bright new interiors. Also in 1968, National retired the last of its Electras becoming the nation's first all-jet airline. This is a route map from January 3, 1968.


  • 08 of 08
    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    Northwest Airlines was founded on September 1, 1926, and flew mail for the U.S. Post Office. The carrier put its its first Douglas DC-3 into service in 1939 and hired its first stewardess to work on it. It operated five daily flights from Chicago to Minneapolis, with three continuing west to Seattle through North Dakota and Montana.​This is a route map from August 1, 1939.