Michigan's first regularly scheduled air passage service began operating between Grand Rapids and Detroit in 1926.

It was called Stout Air Services, created by William Bushnell Stout. Stout’s air services and his sister company, Stout Metal Airplane, did business out of Ford Airport in Dearborn. Round-trip tickets were a whoppin’ thirty-five bucks which were available thru the Book Cadillac Hotel, which in essence became Michigan’s first ‘official’ airline ticket office.

Stout was also the first airline to have male flight attendants. When air passage began between Grand Rapids and Detroit in 1926, the company went under the name Detroit-Grand Rapids Airline; when their services expanded, the name was changed to the Detroit-Cleveland Airline.

99.1 WFMK logo
Get our free mobile app

1928: Stout buys airmail routes from Ford Air Transport Service
1929: Stout was bought out by United Aircraft and Transport Corporation
1930: A blaze breaks out in one of the hangars and destroys 27 aircraft, leaving five. 1930: National Air Transport purchases the Stout division of United
1931: National Air Transport becomes part of United Air Lines

Some sites claim Stout Air Services was the “first regularly scheduled air passage service in the entire country” – but others dispute that claim. The Birth of Aviation webpage says it was in May 1926 when Western Air Express had the “first scheduled airline passenger service in the United States”, flying from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles.

This Day in Aviation says it was on January 1, 1914 when “The world’s first scheduled commercial passenger flight took place when Antony Habersack Jannus piloted a St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line Benoist Type XIV flying boat from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Florida.”

So let the others argue about which was the world’s or country’s first…I’m more interested in Michigan’s first…and it was indeed Stout Air Services in 1926. A short photo gallery is below!

Michigan's First Regularly Scheduled Air Passage Service


Vintage Michigan Airports

Sunken WWII Plane in Lake Michigan

Musicians' Plane Crashes, 1959-2001

More From 99.1 WFMK