Michigan is known for its incredible contributions to the automotive industry but a lot of people don't know that In 1926, Michigan was at the center of a new era in transportation with the launch of the nation's first regularly scheduled air passage service between Grand Rapids and Detroit.

Credit: Canva / eaa via youtube
Credit: Canva / eaa via youtube

Founded by William Bushnell Stout, an innovative mind in the aviation industry, Stout Air Services not only connected two major Michigan cities but also laid the groundwork for the future of air travel in the United States.

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At the time, the concept of commercial air travel was still in its infancy. Airplanes were primarily seen as novelties or tools for military and postal services. However, Stout envisioned a different future, one where airplanes would serve as a means of bringing people closer together, making travel faster and more efficient.

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Stout Air Services operated out of Ford Airport in Dearborn, with Stout's sister company, Stout Metal Airplane, playing a crucial role in its operations.

How Much Did The Flight Cost?

The cost of a round-trip ticket was $35, which was a lot of money at the time, If you were to compare that cost to a ticket now in 2024 it would be around $600. Despite the high cost, the service attracted travelers looking to experience the novelty and convenience of air travel.

Stout Air Services Suffers A Setback

Stout Air Services was not without its challenges.

In 1930, a fire destroyed 27 aircraft, leaving only five. However, the company survived and Stout Air Services was eventually bought out by United Aircraft and Transport Corporation in 1929, and by 1931, it became part of United Air Lines.

Could you imagine what it would have been like to be a passenger on that plane?

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