Only a wishful fantasy a hundred years ago, the modern airline can now boast being one of the largest corporate industries around the world. Spurred on by massive competition between the ‘big three’ jet manufacturers – Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas, and Boeing – the 20th century has given birth to this most technologically advanced industry.

However, these three corporate giants, located on the West Coast of the United States, have met with stiff competition from specialized companies in Europe, such as Airbus Industrie. Airline manufacturers in Brazil, Australia, Canada and other parts of Europe have also increased the standards that are expected of a modern airline.

Airlines surged ahead with massive expansion and vigorous growth after the World War II. Then came the world-wide recession during the early 1980s, forcing the airlines to engage in unique new patterns to woo new customers onto their flights and keep the old ones. Bankruptcies and mergers to avoid bankruptcy became common fears on the stock markets. This resulted in the aircraft manufacturers sinking fast and needing to make sharp reductions in production. The flying customer became like almighty God to the airlines – the savior from final dissolution.

Fare cutting battles delighted those who had become dependant on airlines for business transportation and allowed the once-a-year traveler to become a traveler during every major holiday. Frequent flyer clubs were almost giving away toasters in order to sign new customers on. The airlines began to join with telephone companies to offer an extra 1000 bonus miles for switching one’s telephone service.

One of the greatest boons presented for the travelers was being able to fly from a smaller community by a commuter airline. Small town airports sprang up around the globe: one no longer needed to drive hundreds of miles to Chicago or Denver or London to catch a plane. Keeping up with a changing society, the airlines replaced ‘stewardesses’ with both male and female ‘flight attendants.’

The challenge of massive air-control for the crowded skies requires that the various airlines work harmoniously in planning and developing airports. These airports have become works of art with fountains that reach three stories up surrounded by luscious, peaceful greenery to soothe the weary travelers. Luxurious lounges for frequent travelers who pay dues are available. Merry-go-rounds and child care can even be found.

Of course, inside the airliner itself is a world of conveniences to take the traveler’s minds off of the time spent in the air. Individual movie screens can be found for each person, along with a full schedule of channels to choose from. An array of radio and music choices are also there, along with whatever electronic hook-ups one might need for their lap-top computers or cell phones.

A hundred years ago the thought of flying from one continent to another in a ‘big bird’ was fantasy, and the current airline structure couldn’t even have been created in one’s wildest dream. It pays to dream big! And to follow your dreams!