[Roundup] What’s In The Sky Above You, And How Long Your Trip Would Have Taken In The Past

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Been studying passenger manifests for immigrants to the U.S. during the period between the War of 1812 and the Civil War. At that time, New Orleans was the second-busiest port after New York. Immigrants from Le Havre, France and Liverpool, England (the two busiest ports to the U.S. at that time) to New Orleans took about 8 weeks to make the passage. This did not change significantly until the advent of steamship travel post-Civil War.

    During that time, passengers in steerage (the vast majority) provided their own bedding and food. They were limited to one piece of luggage (usually a trunk) that they marked themselves. More than one trunk was extra. The master of the vessel provided an assigned place to sleep, drinking water, a place to cook meals, and a place to wash one’s self and clothing, and for bodily waste elimination.

    Contrast this with coach (steerage) travel to and from Europe on an airplane today.

  2. Great site thanks. I once read that the seat a typical non-business class passenger has on a Trans-Atlantic airliner is about the same size as the space allotted to a slave on the Middle Passage. Granted you’re not sitting there chained for weeks, but it is something to think about.

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