Transport: I Want To Be First

In 1931 air-minded Humorist Will Rogers told Pan American Airways: "If you boys ever get around to flying the oceans, I want to be your first passenger," offered to make a cash deposit for the privilege. The airline refused his money, but put him at the head of its waiting list for both Atlantic and Pacific crossings, then only misty dreams. Before taking off for Siberia in 1935, Will Rogers tailed Pan American, asked if he could get back in time for the first Pacific flight. He could have, easily—but for the crack-up in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!