Researcher pens book on history of air travel

From the early days of braving an airplane ride, through the era of fine dining and well-dressed passengers, commercial air travel has come a long way. University of Missouri–St. Louis researcher Daniel L. Rust journeys through the evolution of air flight in his book, “Flying Across America: The Airline Passenger Experience.”

The hardcover book features an impressive collection of photographs and vintage advertisements, as well as the remarkable historical endeavor of air travel. Rust, assistant director of the Center for Transportation Studiesand assistant teaching professor of marketing at UMSL, credits his colleague Carlos Schwantes, the St. Louis Mercantile Library Endowed Professor for Transportation Studies at UMSL, with encouraging him to write “Flying Across America.”

“While I was still a graduate student, Carlos helped me formulate the original idea for this book, which is based on a body of literature I assembled from approximately 30 published first-hand accounts of transcontinental commercial air travel dating back to the 1920s,” Rust said. “Over one hundred historic pictures, many from the TWA Collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library, complement this study of the evolving air passenger experience. I hope ‘Flying Across America’ will bring readers a new appreciation of an era when air travel was an elegant adventure, rather than a necessary nuisance.”

The Washington Times reviewed the book Monday, and The Wall Street Journal reviewed it May 15. Click here to download The Wall Street Journal review. (Adobe Reader is required.) University of Oklahoma Press released “Flying Across America: The Airline Passenger Experience” in May. The 260-page book is $45 and available for purchase at


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