Léon Delagrange was the first to fly as a passenger in 1908 – He rode with Anglo-French pilot Henri Farman from a meadow outside of Paris.
Founder of the US aircraft industry and aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss designed a plane that could take off and land on water and could therefore be built larger than any plane to date, as it did not need the heavy undercarriage necessary for landing on hard ground.
Thomas Benoist (auto parts maker) decided to build such a flying boat/seaplane for a service across Tampa Bay, called the St. Petersburg-Tampa Air Boat Line. His first passenger was ex-St. Petersburg Mayor A.C. Pheil, who covered the 18-mile trip in 23 minutes flat, a marked improvement over the two-hour boat trip. The single-plane service accommodated one passenger at a time and the company charged a one-way fare of $5! After operating 2 daily flights for 4 months, the company folded with the end of the winter tourist season.
The first scheduled air service began in Florida, United States, on January 1, 1914. Today, over a century after the first passenger aircraft company, there are more than 5,000 global airlines with IATA codes – Delta Air being the largest airline both by fleet as well as passengers.