Travel Secret #365

Commercial flights in the 1920s were a fascinating affair. We did some nosing around and found this wonderful nugget, courtesy Paleofuture:

In 1925, passengers on an Imperial Airways flight from Britain to Germany were treated to an inflight movie. This was a first in commercial aviation!

But wait: it gets more interesting. It was a silent film called The Lost World, adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel of the same name. To provide sound, the airline came up with an amazing idea: live orchestra. No, not a live band standing a playing on the plane, but through a relatively new device called…


 The sweeping sounds of a live orchestra were broadcast from the ground to accompany the film. The Berlin Broadcasting Station arranged the orchestra and broadcast the signal, which was received in air by a radio set on the plane. The music played through a single loudspeaker on-board, though it was probably too hard to hear over the sound of the aircraft.

It was a day flight, and the cabin wasn’t dark enough to watch the movie. But of course, they found a solution: The pilot flew through dense clouds in order to darken the cabin.