Fly to Bermuda: A Look Back at Bermuda’s Commercial Aviation History Through Vintage Airline Ads
Bermuda has a long and rich aviation history dating back to as early as 1910. From the first aircraft seen in Bermuda, the Burgess-Curtiss N-9H Jenny that was flown over the City of Hamilton in 1919 to the first aircraft arrival on the island accomplished in 1930 by three Americans: Captain Lewis Alonzo Yancey, William H. Alexander, and Zeh Bouck using the customized Stinson SM-1FS "Detroiter" monoplane--a journey that made a mark in aviation history as the first to travel by air from the North American mainland to Bermuda, which is 700 miles away.
The first-ever commercial flight to this 21-square mile island, however, didn’t happen until after World War II. Pan Am flew the Boeing Stratoliner S-307 "Flying Cloud" from New York to Bermuda for a short time in January 1946. A couple of decades later when people started to go abroad for a holiday, the island has become a premier tourist destination with its pristine pink sand beaches, historical landmarks and shipwrecks, as well as its diverse marine wildlife. Nothing is more telling of the island’s popularity even decades ago than vintage commercial airline ads. Let’s travel back in time and take a good look at some of the most stunning and creative print ads that were used to promote traveling to Bermuda.
Known for his illustrations, posters, commercial art, and wartime propaganda posters Bermuda Board of Trade to, Adolph Treidler was instrumental in promoting the island in the 1930s. He was commissioned by the Bermuda Board of Trade in producing posters like this one.
Trans Canada Airlines, 1953
Before it was renamed as Air Canada, Canada’s national airline operated as Trans Canada Airlines from 1937 to 1965. From 1954 onwards, fourteen Lockheed Super Constellations were being operated on transatlantic routes which include Vienna in Austria, Caribbean destinations including Jamaica and Trinidad, and of course, Bermuda.
Commissioned by Pan American Airways, Lawler designed a series of travel posters for a variety of destinations serviced by the carrier including Hawaii, Jamaica, Quito, Ecuador, Rio de Janeiro, Guatemala, South East Asia, Europe, Germany, and Bermuda. The “Bermuda in 5 hours” depicts the flight time from New York to Bermuda.
Another airline ad highlighting the beautiful pristine beaches of Bermuda from British Airways.
This 1960s British Overseas Air Corporation airline ad promoting travel to Bermuda was attributed to Edward McKnight Kauffer who was an American artist and graphic designer. Kauffer lived most of his life in the United Kingdom and was known for creating 140 posters for London Underground and London Transport. He also did a series of posters for American Airlines in 1947.
There are many vintage Bermuda travel posters that can be found or are now being sold at various online websites. Here are some of them:
Here’s an airline ad featuring Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay, which is now a very popular tourist destination with its fine white sand.
Pan Am travel poster that highlights sailing in Bermuda. In 2017, the island hosted one of the most iconic sailing events in the world, which is the America’s Cup. The world’s best sailing teams competed with each other in a month-long competition to take home the legendary “auld mug” trophy.
Bermuda travel posters were auctioned off at Swann Auction Galleries back in 2012. The designers of some of these works of art are unknown.
Most of the airlines that used these ads are now defunct. However, just by looking at these vintage posters, one can be instantly transported back into time when commercial flight was an exclusive experience and Bermuda was still unknown. They remind us of the golden age of travel, but more importantly, they are an important part of the island’s aviation history.