The 1950s I.T. revolution - UK Airfield Guide

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The 1950s I.T. revolution


THE 1950s I.T. revolution

The 'Inclusive Tour' concept is nothing new. It was pioneered by companies such as Thomas Cook in the 19th century, (which went bust in 2019), - but for the well to do.

After WW2 it entered an entirely new stage - people could now fly to their holiday destinations - at prices many working class families could afford. And despite the dangers in the early days, (many airliners crashed), it proved to be increasingly popular. Perhaps one reason is that during WW2 many people from working class backgrounds had an opportunity to travel abroad around Europe, and developed a taste for foreign travel. Obviously many went far further, but it would have cost a small fortune to reach such places.


A FACTOR TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT?
When in the military forces, you do not make your own travel arrangements or provide accommodation or arrange fettling - food and drink. Clearly, having somebody arrange all this for your family can be a very attractive proposition - and in the summer season nigh on wall-to-wall sunshine pretty much guaranteed.


BEHIND THIS
After WW2 there was a surfeit of aircrews, many of which desired to keep flying. In the UK the two main airlines, BEA and BOAC could take their pick, but, this still left a large number seeking employment. More or less concurrent with this the major scheduled airlines, (around the world), were retiring their first fleets of airliners and these were on the market at relatively affordable prices. 


ANOTHER FACTOR
After WW2 the rise in power of the Trade Unions meant that many working class people now commanded wages well beyond those previous generations could have dreamt of. They now had 'purchasing power' and the strength of sterling meant that compared to prices in countries such as Spain, Italy and Yugoslavia, holidays could be easily affordable. 


The first destinations for 'Inclusive Tours' included the Costa Brava in Spain and Majorca, Rimini in Italy and Dubrovnik in Jugoslavia - now Croatia. Passengers for the Costa Brava landed at Perpignan in France, and many airliners crashed into the mountains of the Pyrenees just to the south. After that they faced a gruelling coach journey to the coast in Spain. But, this didn't put them off! 

Needless to say, bit by bit, and quite quickly, this holiday exodus extended along the coast in southern Spain and into the Algarve region in southern Portugal. The Greek islands soon became very popular as were the Canary Islands. They still are today. Holiday charter flights very often depart and arrive at very unsociable hours and often involve serious delays compared to scheduled flights, but this seems to do little to detract from the appeal. 

ANOTHER MYTH?
I have heard it stated that the Douglas C-47/DC-3 formed the back-bone of the initial 'Inclusive Tour' companies. Without any doubt this airliner was there at the beginning, but was soon superseded. When BEA disposed of their Vickers Viking fleet this radically changed the 'picture'. 

At around about the same time, four-engine types such as the Canadair Argonaut, Douglas C-54/DC-4, Handley Page Hermes and Lockheed Constellation were also coming onto the second-hand market, with roughly more than double the passenger carrying capacity. I suppose that in more recent times the 'cruise ship' tours have left a huge dent in this market? They of course can be generally regarded as a menace, inflicting huge disruptions on arrival but contributing very little to the local economy. 


 

                                                

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