Flying from Australia to England
Many Australians would be surprised to learn that Sydney International Airport, now known as Kingsford Smith International Airport, was originally located at Rose Bay !
Travelling to the United Kingdom in the 1930s involved two choices : Weeks by ship, or days via Flying Boat, aboard (the then) Qantas Empire Airways (QEA). The journey to the UK took up to 6 weeks by ship, fine if one had plenty of time to spare.
The same journey to Southampton took just 9 days via the “luxurious” Short C Class Flying Boats, the only drawback being the cost, around the same as a suburban house in Sydney !!!
Despite the high cost, travelling aboard a Flying Boat to England via Singapore, where British Imperial Airlines (later British Airways) took over for the final leg to Southampton, was extremely popular. A quote from Qantas founder Hudson Fysh sums it up nicely :
“Getting up out of his chair, a passenger could walk about and, if he had been seated in the main cabin, stroll along to the smoking cabin for a smoke, stopping on the way at the promenade deck with its high handrail and windows at eye level to gaze at the world of cloud and sky outside.”
Sadly the service was cut short by WWII, when all of the QEA Flying Boats were impressed into wartime operations, many being destroyed by Japanese attacks.