This souvenir map was handed out to transcontinental travelers back in 1929.

It was made by Rand McNally for Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT).

Backed by Charles Lindbergh, TAT was the first coast-to-coast commercial airline.

It wasn't a quick trip, though: it took over 48 hours to get from New York to San Francisco.

The trip wasn't just done by air. Passengers would fly over land by day, and sleep on trains by night.

The idea was sightseeing, and the map's goal was to give passengers a way of identifying the sights they'd be flying past.

Along the route, the map identified numerous tourist attractions that could be seen from the air.

Bordering the map were birds-eye views of the attractions, and instructions on which direction to look.

On the back of the map, there was a flight log to be filled out, a weather chart and a "Certificate of Flight."

The map itself was surprisingly small: its dimensions were 14 inches tall by 30 inches wide, folding up small enough to fit into a shirt pocket.

Despite the great souvenir, TAT was a fairly dangerous way to travel: they had their first fatal plane crash just a few months after opening.

Passengers flew in Ford Trimotor airplanes and sat in wicker seats.

TAT eventually became TWA.

You sure don't get souvenirs like this when you fly domestic anymore.

This Map Shows What It Was Like To Fly In The Roaring '20s

Produced by Rand McNally for Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), this map charts the 48-hour trip from coast to coast.

For all of our complaints about the agony of domestic air travel, if you jump on a plane in New York right now, you could be in San Francisco in less than six hours. Maybe you add a couple hours because you miss your connection in Chicago. Either way, you're done in eight hours.

As this incredible illustrated map should make abundantly clear, we've got it pretty good compared to the transcontinental air travelers of the Roaring '20s. It took these aeronautic pioneers 48 hours to fly from New York to San Francisco.

Given out to passengers as a souvenir foldout map, the Illustrated Map of Transcontinental Air Transport was designed by mapmakers nonpareil Rand McNally for Transcontinental Air Transport. The precursor to TWA, TAT was formed in 1928 by famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and financier Clement Melville Keys with the goal of designing the first transcontinental airline, mostly with the pursuit of landing juicy government airmail contracts.

Starting in 1929, TAT expanded its scope and started offering coast-to-coast trips to paying customers. By modern standards, the trip was a nightmare. Passengers took the Pennsylvania Railroad overnight from New York to Columbus, Ohio, then jumped on a Ford Trimotor airplane with a capacity of 12 passengers. Sitting in a wicker seat, travelers would look out the windows and sightsee as they passed over Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Wichita. They would then disembark in Oklahoma, hop an overnight train to New Mexico, and continue their sightseeing voyage until they reached San Francisco.

As far as getting from point A to point B is concerned, a flight on TAT was pretty grueling, but the point wasn't just to travel across the country as quickly as possible (although TAT was still the quickest way to do it at that time). What TAT was really selling people was a sightseeing trip of the most scenic views America had to offer, all compressed into a 48-hour period.

Hence the map. The map itself was surprisingly small: Its dimensions were 14 inches tall by 30 inches wide, compact enough to fit into a shirt pocket. Despite the tininess of the map, though, the design is extraordinarily detailed. It shows not only the flight route but also the major American landmarks passengers would fly by on the way. The map is bordered on all sides with illustrations of the vistas TAT passengers would encounter on their journey, as well as an east-to-west elevation map. On the back of the map, Rand McNally included a weather map, a "Certificate of Flight" log passengers could fill out as they went.

It's almost enough to make you pine for the golden age of air travel again, isn't it? Except less than three months after TAT commenced transcontinental service, they crashed their first plane, killing all persons aboard. It was the first commercial plane crash ever, just the first of three serious accidents that would plague TAT over the next few months.

It might have been a pretty way to fly, but it certainly wasn't very safe. Heck of a souvenir, though, don't you think?

[Hat-Tip: Slate]

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