Tony Jannus made history on New Year’s Day in 1915 when he took off from St. Petersburg to Tampa with St. Petersburg Mayor Abe Phil in tow. It was the world’s first scheduled airline flight.
The roundtrip flight covered 18 miles in 23 minutes, which took 11 hours less than the trip by train. However, without a subsidy from St. Petersburg or steady income from tourist traffic, the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line closed after just three months.
Despite its short tenure, Jannus and his Airboat Line flight gave birth to the commercial airline industry as we know it today.