Imagine how surprised you’d be if you were on a long flight and were served coffee by the pilot! That was standard in the early days of inflight service, as the Ford Trimotors that were the early workhorses only had seats for six passengers. Look at this picture of service aboard National Air Transport, circa 1928:Behind that rather interesting looking couple is the co-pilot, taking a break from his other duties to hand out drinks and sandwiches. Note the very high ceilings and curved windows – this is what the aircraft looked like from the outside:
Ford Tri-motors kept flying commercially into the 1980’s, and were favored for sightseeing trips over the Grand Canyon, as the slow aircraft with huge windows was perfect for that purpose. The aircraft in this picture may still be flying, as many airworthy examples are in collections around the world. As for National Air Transport, it was folded into Stout Airlines in 1930, which merged with other carriers to become United Airlines in 1934.